Friday Oct 14, 2022

Acts 10:45

Friday, 14 October 2022

 

And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. Acts 10:45

 

The previous verse said, “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.” With that, a response from the Jews who had come with Peter comes forth. Luke records, “And those of the circumcision.”

 

The meaning is, “the Jews who believed.” Being circumcised was not the only requirement to being a Jew, but it was one that could not be overlooked. That goes all the way back to Exodus –

 

“And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘This is the ordinance of the Passover: No foreigner shall eat it. 44 But every man’s servant who is bought for money, when you have circumcised him, then he may eat it. 45 A sojourner and a hired servant shall not eat it. 46 In one house it shall be eaten; you shall not carry any of the flesh outside the house, nor shall you break one of its bones. 47 All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. 48 And when a stranger dwells with you and wants to keep the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as a native of the land. For no uncircumcised person shall eat it. 49 One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you.’” Exodus 12:43-49

 

These believing Jews, meaning believers in Christ had witnessed both the circumcision of and a partaking in the Passover by these Gentiles –

 

“Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision?” Romans 2:26

 

“Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.” 1 Corinthians 5:7

 

Though these Jews probably did not even consider the coming of the Holy Spirit in this light, it is exactly what has transpired. These strangers from Israel had now become as natives of the land, having been brought into the commonwealth of Israel by a mere act of faith. In the coming of the Holy Spirit upon them, it says they “were astonished.”

 

A short questionnaire to consider:

 

Were any of these Gentiles circumcised before this? Probably not, but that is not even a consideration in Luke’s narrative.

Had any of these Gentiles observed a single precept of the Law of Moses prior to the coming of the Spirit? Probably not, but that is not even a consideration in Luke’s narrative.

Did these Gentiles eat their regular, non-kosher, food before hearing Peter? It is certainly the case.

Did any of these Gentiles go through the purification process outlined in the Law of Moses to be cleansed according to the law for having eaten defiled food? See answer to second question above.

Were any of these Gentiles of illegitimate birth according to the law, or were any of them descendants of Ammon or Moab? Who knows! But that is not even a consideration in Luke’s narrative.

 

Such questions could go on and on. But the obvious answer is that these people received the Spirit regardless of those points of law or any other points of law found in the Law of Moses. They simply believed and were accepted. They joined the commonwealth of Israel apart from the Law of Moses. This explains the words of Paul from Romans 2 above –

 

“Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law.” These Gentiles, by faith in Jesus, had kept every precept of the Law of Moses through His fulfillment of it. As Leviticus 18:5 promises life to the man who does so, it means that they have now attained that life, proven by the coming of the Holy Spirit. And the astonishment of these Jews wasn’t just one or two of them but “as many as came with Peter.”

 

This was so unexpected that every single Jew who was in attendance was utterly floored at what had transpired. The word translated as amazed has been seen several times in Acts already. It signifies “remove from a standing position.” Today we might say (as just noted) that they were utterly floored. The thought is the same. They were beside themselves at the event their eyes had beheld, “because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.”

 

Note the choice of wording, “the gift of the Holy Spirit.” A gift cannot be earned. This does not mean there might be conditions in receiving it, but it is something granted apart from any sort of merit.

 

There may be a condition that everyone who receives a new car must show up at the ribbon cutting ceremony. That is not a work. Rather, it is a necessary condition. A person may need to be over 55 in order to receive a certain gift. Again, that is a necessary condition. The gospel says, “hear, believe, and you will receive.”

 

The Spirit is not given apart from hearing. There must be a transmission of the message. The Spirit is not given apart from believing the gospel. There must be an inner acceptance of the message that has been spoken. These are necessary conditions. These Gentiles met the necessary conditions, and they were given the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 

In this case, it was a visible reception of the Spirit. This is not a necessary condition. Rather, it was a sign of confirmation for Peter and those with them to know, with all certainty, that the Spirit had been given. The account is descriptive; it prescribes nothing. It is simply what happened in order for these witnesses to bear this truth to those already in the church.

 

With Luke’s completion of the book of Acts, the witness is now recorded. Such outward displays are not only no longer necessary, they would actually be counterproductive to the normal process of salvation among believers today. Believers are to live by faith, accepting the words of Scripture apart from visible signs and demonstrations of the Spirit.

 

Life application: In response to the short questionnaire above, a note from Paul in Galatians 3 is intended to wake people up to the heresy of the Judaizers and today’s modern Hebrew Root movement adherents –

 

“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?” Galatians 3:1-4

 

Those in the church in Galatia had believed the gospel and they had received the Spirit. They were saved and they could never get any more saved than they were at that time. And yet, along came the Judaizers telling them that they had to observe Moses and be circumcised in order to be saved. But they already were circumcised by the Holy Spirit! But they had already been saved! But they had already met the requirements of the law through Jesus' fulfillment of it! But they had already observed the Passover!

 

What more could they do? Anything they added to what Christ had done in order to be right with God could only be wrong with God! It would be a flagrant shunning of the work of Christ and an attempt to be more righteous on their own. This is why Paul calls them foolish. They were setting aside the grace of Christ and setting about to establish their own righteousness.

 

Today, consider what things you are attempting to add onto your supposed righteousness before God.. Are you trying to merit God’s favor through tithing? Do you feel that if you don’t tithe you are a bad Christian? Or has someone told you it is so?

 

If so, you are trying to merit what you have already been given when you believed. Think each thing you do through. Determine if it is in obedience to the gospel or is it in addition to the gospel? Those things that will exalt you above the cross are to be eliminated. Those things that glorify the cross are to be held fast to.

 

And how can you tell? You must know the word. Read it! Think on it! And then, apply it to your life! In all you do, do it to the glory of the Lord who saved you through a simple act of faith.

 

Heavenly Father, what heavy burden You have taken from us. We no longer need to wonder if we will stand approved before You or not. We know that because of our faith in Jesus, we are approved. THANK YOU FOR JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD! Amen.

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