Acts 15:7-9 The Voice (VOICE)
7 There was a lot of debate, and finally Peter stood up.
These debates give a glimpse of the cultural tensions present between Jewish and Gentile believers throughout the New Testament writings. The early Jewish believers still follow the traditional Jewish practices of Sabbath rest and kosher food. This is fine, until Jewish and Gentile Christians must share a table. How can they be truly unified as one church without being able to sit down together for a meal? This council affirms—under the influence of the Spirit’s work—that the outsiders may become Christians without becoming Jews first; but the outsiders should respect their Jewish brothers’ beliefs so they can fellowship together. The decision is a model for church unity: artificial hurdles should not be imposed for inclusion, but groups should willingly sacrifice their freedoms to promote unity in the church.
Peter: My brothers, you all know that in the early days of our movement, God decided that I should be the one through whom the first outsiders would hear the good news and become believers. 8 God knows the human heart, and He showed approval of their hearts by giving them the Holy Spirit just as He did for us. 9 In cleansing their hearts by faith, God has made no distinction between them and us.