Scripture Reading: Acts 10:44-48
“While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles.” (Acts 10:44,45)
I find it interesting how surprised the Jewish believers were when the Gentiles experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. God made it clear that the gospel was to go to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews. But when the Jews saw the manifestation of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon these new Gentile believers, they were amazed, “because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out EVEN ON THE GENTILES.”
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Gentile believers, and their subsequent baptism, confirmed that the Gentiles were fully accepted by God and had been engrafted into His covenant of grace. They were now full and equal members of God’s covenant family. Thus they received the outward sign of baptism, which is the sign of inclusion into the family of God.
As we will see, many of the Jewish believers still had a hard time fully accepting these Gentiles. Some of the Jewish believers wanted the Gentile believers to be subject to the Jewish ceremonial laws before they were accepted. In essence, these Jewish believers wanted the Gentile believers to become ceremonial Jews before they were accepted into the Church, the New Testament covenant community. This matter would be settled at the council of Jerusalem at a later date (see: Acts 15).
Sometimes it is difficult for us to understand that through our justification we are fully accepted by God. We cannot add anything to what has been done for us by God Himself. I find myself drifting back to a works driven view of salvation on occasion. I feel that I must add my own self-righteous acts or perform religious duties to complete my salvation. I forget that I am saved by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. Period! I don’t have to add anything to that. Nothing!
It is also sometimes hard to grasp that all true believers are to be fully accepted by us. God takes rebellious sinners and transforms them. This was the case with Saul of Tarsus and it is still the case today. No one is beyond the possibility of receiving God’s grace and forgiveness. Let’s not be surprised when those we least expect are transformed by God’s grace. He fully accepts justified sinners and we must accept them also.
Lord Jesus Christ, thank You that I am saved by grace through Your finished work. I know that I cannot add anything to what You have done. Your atoning work is sufficient. I praise You for what You have done for me and for the many other sinners who have been saved by grace through faith.
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