Acts 15:9 – He made no distinction between us and them, for He purified their hearts by faith.
Several members of the early church, primarily the disciples, wanted to place a lot of conditions on the new gentile believers. Peter, who believed he was called to preach to the Gentiles, said no. He pointed out that God had not made a distinction between Jew and Gentile believers. He had purified their hearts by giving them a strong faith and that was all that was needed.
Church tradition sometimes gets in the way of kingdom builders when they insist on this or that way of being Christian. God always focuses on a believer’s heart…his faith. If a person believes, there will automatically be a display of the fruits of the Holy Spirit in their lives. But faith comes first.
Spider, a prospect for The Demons Raiders, sank low in the sofa he was sitting on. There were so many rules to follow. He never expected that. He became a biker because he liked to ride…free…air blowing through his hair. Didn’t free mean no rules?
Spider looked toward the club president. There were three prospects, each working their way toward earning the right to wear the club patch on their back. Spider thought some of this club’s rules were ridiculous. They could only drink beer…nothing else. He grumbled, low enough that no one could hear him. What does that have to do with being a biker?
He looked around at all the other men gathered in the room. Each man had chosen to follow these silly rules. why? He’d have to keep his ears open…find out why. When there was only need for one common thread…one thing they all enjoyed more than breathing…their love of motorcycles. Why did they add a lot of silly rules…and follow them?
Spider was as perplexed as a lot of new believers are when they walk into a church for the first time. They assume, because they have Jesus living in their hearts, and because they believe that God is who He said He is, that they will be accepted. Too many find out that you have to be baptized first before you can join that church or that you need to dress a certain way before anyone will even talk to you.
God is only interested in that person’s belief system and the outflowing of that belief, the outward evidence that it exists. A true believer loves the unlovable as Jesus demonstrated, forgives even when being stoned as Stephen did, and has faith enough to step out of the boat as Peter did. Will we be asked to heal a leper, or suffer for our faith? Maybe but maybe not. We just need the faith to accomplish those things if they or something like that happens to us.
Father, we live in a country that preaches freedom yet we, as Christians have rules to follow. Help us do all that You would have us do for Your Honor and Glory. Help us wear our faith on our sleeve even under difficult circumstances or when roadblocks force us to go underground. Amen.