“We ought not to cause God’s Gentile converts any difficulties.” —Acts 15:19
The leaders of the early Church discerned that the Holy Spirit was not requiring Gentile Christians to observe the Mosaic law except for abstaining “from anything contaminated by idols, from illicit sexual union, from the meat of strangled animals, and from eating blood” (Acts 15:20). We have no Biblical record of the Gentile Christians having any problems with abstaining “from the meat of strangled animals and from eating blood.” However, some Gentile Christians had serious problems in obeying the first two commands.
St. Paul warned the Corinthian Christians that by eating meat from animals which had been used in idol worship they were not only offending others’ consciences (Rm 14:20; 1 Cor 10:28; 8:9) but also having communion with demons (1 Cor 10:20-21).
The command to abstain from illicit sexual union was probably even more difficult to obey. Paul warned and taught the Gentile converts that their bodies were temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19) and that “no fornicators, idolators, or adulterers...no sodomites” would inherit God’s kingdom (1 Cor 6:9-10; cf Gal 5: 19-21). He told the church of Ephesus and all the churches: “As for lewd conduct or promiscuousness or lust of any sort, let them not even be mentioned among you; your holiness forbids this” (Eph 5:3). Paul maintained that those who rejected His teachings against sexual immorality were rejecting “not man, but God Who sends His Holy Spirit” (1 Thes 4:8).
Almost all of us reading this are Gentile Christians. Do we have the same problems as the first Gentile Christians? Are we still trapped in sexual sin and idolatrous compromise with the ways of the world? Repent! Be pure as Jesus is pure (1 Jn 3:3).
Prayer: Father, make me holy in every aspect of my life (1 Pt 1:15).
Promise: “All this I tell you that My joy may be yours and your joy may be complete.” —Jn 15:11
Praise: Abstaining from meat during Lent renewed Georgia’s Easter.
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