Let us Ramble: Peter and Grace

I’m sitting and pondering as dinner settles itself down in my children’s tummies. One child is putting away laundry while another gets clean before putting on pajamas. The lawn has been mowed, the laundry is moved along, and I have a list of the things I need for my wife’s Mother’s Day Dinner tomorrow night. This is a good time for reflection.

I keep bringing myself back to Peter’s words in today’s scripture reading at church. I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about the whole passage, but continue to find myself drawn to Peter’s words. Peter says in Acts 15:8-11: (NRSV)

“…God, who knows the human heart, testified to them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us; and in cleansing their hearts by faith he has made no distinction between them and us. Now therefore why are you putting God to the test by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? On the contrary, we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”

I keep thinking about how remarkable well Peter expresses that saving work of Jesus. When I was younger I kept hearing a theological concept that fits well here. The concept was that “the ground is level at the foot of the cross.”

The ground is level because we all are equally blessed by Jesus Christ. Conceptually if nobody is righteous outside the grace of Jesus, then we are all equally blessed. There are neither super Christians nor subpar Christians. Instead, we are all equally blessed to be sisters and brothers of Christ through our adoption into God’s family.

This concept is a powerfully gracious concept, especially when so many people seem intent on pushing others out of the door of the community of God’s children. There are still many people who will happily share the rules and regulations of the yokes that they believe make people righteous centuries after the time of the Council in Acts 15. Christians have practically made an art form out of the practice of setting rules for ourselves and especially other people.

What would it look like if we all lived out of this perspective? What if we spent more time focusing on how the grace of Jesus Christ spreads into the lives of others than on whether or not they follow the rules our culture has placed upon us? What if we became a people who were as transformed by this grace as the man who spoke these words in Acts 15? What a world that would create…

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