When Others Force You To Do It Their Way


The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, "Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will."— Acts 15:6-11

So Peter should speak first. And what Peter does is recall the historical events over the last decade. Peter draws attention to the inaugural inclusion of Cornelius. And then recalls the coming of the Holy Spirit on those in the region of Samaria and beyond. But then Peter gets a little pointed at this conference, with a question that puts the opposition to the test. But it's really not a question. It's an indictment of their position. He says, "Why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?" And with this indictment, Peter clarifies that the move toward mandating circumcision was motivated around their need to maintain their favored place among the non-believing Jews and Pharisees.

So let me make this clear because it can be confusing. There are several people groups inferred here. First, Pharisees who were members of Judaism and required strict practice of the written and oral law. Second, Jews who followed the teaching of the Pharisees and did not believe Jesus was the Messiah. We would call this group "non-believing Jews." Third, Jewish converts who believed Jesus was the Messiah. We would call this group "believing Jews" or, by another name, Messianic Jew. And fourth, Gentiles, who converted to Christianity. These are essentially anyone who is not a Jew that believes in Jesus. And these are people like me and with a high probability a person like you. So here they are quickly again. Pharisees and Jews who did not believe Jesus was the Messiah. And then Jews and Gentiles who did believe Jesus was the Messiah.

So here's the rub. The people who present the argument for circumcision of Gentiles are "believing Jews." And Peter knows that they are presenting this mandate, not because they care about the salvation of Gentiles, but because they care about maintaining their standing with non-believing Jews in Jerusalem. So you see the motivation here. It's self-concern. And Peter calls this out. And then draws attention to the real means of salvation — circumcision of the heart by the Lord's grace. Nothing else.

This same issue is happening all over our country and world today. Out of self-concern, groups, organizations, and companies require individuals under their leadership to abide by specific rules and regulations under the guise that it is best for all people. And while they are free to do this in their organization, we, as believers, are also free to remove ourselves from this environment of indoctrination. In addition, as Peter points out here, this practice should never enter the church. In God's church, the rite of passage has been provided. It's grace. Grace provided by Christ and what he did, and not by what we do. And while some are tempted to add to this grace employing our standards stirred by a selfish motivation to entice people to consent to our beliefs, this should never be. And yet, this does not mean we are absolved from doing good things, just that our good things do no good to put us in right standing with God. Therefore circumcision, or any other activity for that matter, is never good enough. Only Christ is good enough.

So live in freedom today in your relationship with Christ. He has set you free. He has no other human requirement other than faith in his grace. And doesn't that sound good in a world that is requiring so much for us to be accepted?

ASK THIS: What are you doing to be accepted by God? (Share below.)

DO THIS: Accept his grace — unmerited favor!

PRAY THIS: God, I am setting it all aside for you!

PLAY THIS: Grace Like A Wave — Elevation.


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When Others Force You To Do It Their Way

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13 thoughts on “When Others Force You To Do It Their Way

  1. Cory B says:

    I can’t speak for Vince, but never once did the thought of vaccination cross my mind. Isn’t everything the government does, whether left or right, under the guise it is best for the people? Same for corporations. My company is one of the worst for picking sides on social issues. All these things are done for self preservation. To get re-elected or to sell a product. I’m grateful for the free will God has given me and a sound mind to make my own decision. I’m also grateful for the grace God gives me daily so I can extend it to anyone who may not agree with me.

  2. Todd Ringness says:

    Brothers, I’m reminded of the truth that IN CHRIST, ALL THINGS hold together (Colossians 1:17). We need to daily resist the temptation to elevate anything else to solve our problems or save us from certain doom or even death, i.e. government, science, masks, vaccines, celebrities, presidents, etc etc etc. ONLY CHRIST holds all things together and our hope is in Him alone! On this solid rock we stand united! ❤️🙏🏼✝️

  3. Don Shelton says:

    Doesn’t God specify certain actions that manifest our faith and acceptance of his grace i.e. confession, repentance, baptism, and faithful obedience to his Word? These are our responses to Him not works seeing to earn His favor.

  4. Doug says:

    Am I to infer from your comments that you are opposed to COVID vaccination where you say following the rules of an organization under the “guise” that it is good for all people? If so, I would suggest to you that it is not a “guise”, but solid science.
    Don’t you believe that God is working in and through the scientists and doctors who are working to protect us from illness and death?

    • Dennis says:

      Brother, I m going to step out here. I do not believe that Vince was referring specifically to the “vaccine” but many organizations are attempting to force others to believe as they do and actually are stripping away the Christian beliefs . What we are seeing today is prophecy being fulfilled. Individuals need to quit making it about the vaccine or politics or anything else other than Christ if they are Disciples. I personally do not believe in the vaccine but I also say it is an individual choice. We, the Church , need to stop causing division in the body of Christ and being distracted by the politics and the choice to vaccinate or not vaccinate, and turn our focus back to Christ and the Kingdom agenda. Satan loves division and we need to quit playing into it. I say this in love but it must be said. God bless you .

      • Nick Alexanders says:

        Very well said. Dividing is the Satans way of controlling. I agree the church needs to follow the teachings deeper and strengthen the Love for all no matter what choice they make.

    • Nick Alexanders says:

      I believe it is a choice. God gave us the ability to chose. Science or no science, it is a choice and for that is how God protects us.

  5. Sam says:

    Trying to live the by the ten commandments, I am really good at five of them and pretty good at seven but there are three of them, that I fall very short. And unfortunately it is not the same three all the time, I have so much work to do!

    • Dennis says:

      We all have work to do. But what I find that works, is that I focus on God and His Word along with prayer . Remember, God’s word tells us where there is temptation, God provides an avenue of escape. When you are tempted, earnestly seek the Lord in prayer and ask Him to give you strength to overcome. I struggle with food, but the way I am starting to overcome is that I ask God to help me and give me strength. When I do over eat or indulge, I become nauseated and uncomfortable and that is God’s reminder to me. You see we have freedom of choice but our choices we make also have consequences. I hope this helps you. God Bless.

  6. Steve George says:

    I am a disciple of Jesus. Imitating what is revealed to me through the scripture about his person and nature and listening to his voice.

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