The Daily Fountain Daily Devotional of the Church Of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) 13 July 2020 – Heart Condition, Not Rites
TOPIC: Heart Condition, Not Rites
READ: Acts 15:6-21 (NKJV)
- Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter.
- And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: “Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.
- “So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as [He did] to us,
- “and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
- “Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
- “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.”
- Then all the multitude kept silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul declaring how many miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles.
- And after they had become silent, James answered, saying, “Men [and] brethren, listen to me:
- “Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name.
- “And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written:
- ‘After this I will return And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, And I will set it up;
- So that the rest of mankind may seek the LORD, Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, Says the LORD who does all these things.’
- “Known to God from eternity are all His works.
- “Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God,
- “but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, [from] sexual immorality, [from] things strangled, and [from] blood.
- “For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”
At the Jerusalem Council, presentations were made by Peter, Barnabas, Paul and James. The report of Paul and Barnabas was well received and the detractors became speechless. This message defeated the view of the Pharisees and the Judaizers who believed that unless the Gentiles were circumcised, they would not be saved. What the Council saw as important was not whether or not the Gentiles were circumcised (physically) but whether they had been circumcised spiritually. What really matters is that converts are helped to avoid all practices or appearances of the evils which they formerly practised, or likely to be tempted to.
One common temptation in our day is to pay attention to the rites and traditions of the Church at the expense of the heart condition. Are you so tempted? Do you boast of your knowledge and practice of all Church traditions but have not departed from iniquity – repented? Repentance is what matters and not rituals, rites and traditions. Why not come to God today and have your heart and conscience purified from the guilt of sin! He will give you His Spirit and grace to help you abstain from every evil that separates you from God. Unless one has been cleansed by the Blood of the Lamb, observance of rites and traditions do not yield any benefit!
PRAYER: Lord, purify my heart and conscience from guilt and sin. Amen.