Love and Praise

Only One Standard Matters

Do you ever look at other Christians and think wow, they are so perfect, how could I be like that? Or, on the other side, do you look at other Christians and think wow, I can’t believe all the things wrong with them, how can they call themselves Christians? I am probably in the latter category, so I am not one to judge others. We are all just people, only God is perfect. I can only expect perfection from God. If I put my trust in people, I will constantly be disappointed. “We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” God fully knows everything about me, the good and the bad. And, he still loves me.

People are not perfect, so sometimes we get judgmental and want others to follow certain standards. God gave us the gift of Jesus Christ, so we can saved, if we believe in him. We didn’t do anything to deserve this gift. God knows we could never earn this gift, but he gave it to us anyway.

In biblical times, “certain people” started teaching that believers had to practice circumcision in order to be saved. “This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them.” From the time Jesus ascended into heaven, we were given the gift of eternal life to all those who believe. Paul and Barnabas understood that this is the fundamental value of Christianity.

The Council at Jerusalem
Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the believers very glad. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.

Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.”

The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. When they finished, James spoke up. “Brothers,” he said, “listen to me. Simon[a] has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:

“‘After this I will return
and rebuild David’s fallen tent.
Its ruins I will rebuild,
and I will restore it,
that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
even all the Gentiles who bear my name,
says the Lord, who does these things’[b]—
things known from long ago.[c]

“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.”

— Acts 15:1-19 (NIV)

The prophets stood before the church assembly and addressed what prerequisites Gentiles need to be saved. None. Everyone can be saved, if they believe in Jesus. “We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” Over 2,000 years ago, people were judging others by opposing standards upon them. We do the same today. “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.” God loves us all. Through God’s grace, everyone is welcome in God’s kingdom.

There is a great song, “No Matter What”,  that illustrates how God loves us no matter what you’ve done. People can judge us and impose standards upon us, but we don’t have to listen to them. Only one standard matters. If God loves us as we are, why worry about what the world thinks of us? God is the only standard that matters. You can turn to God. Ask God to forgive your sins. Pray that God will show you how to do his will. As the song lyrics say, ” So come as you are, Run to the cross and be free, Oh, be free”.

 

No Matter What
Ryan Stevenson

Lyrics
A lot of us grew up believing
At any moment we could lose it all
And at the drop of a hat
God might turn His back and move on
A lot of us feel like we blew it
Thinking that we’re just too far gone
But I want you to know
There’s still a hope for you now

No matter what you’ve done
You can’t erase His love
Nothing can change it
You’re not separated
No matter what

There’s never been a better time to get honest
There’s never been a better time to get clean
So come as you are
Run to the cross and be free
Oh, be free

No matter what you’ve done
You can’t erase His love
Nothing can change it
You’re not separated
No matter where you run
He’s always holding on
You’re still a daughter, you’re still a son
No matter what

I don’t know what you’ve been taught
Don’t know what you’ve been told
All I know is my God
Will never let go of you, no
And I don’t know what you’ve seen
Don’t know what you’ve been through
All I know is my God
Will never let go of you
He’ll never let go!
He’ll never, never, never let you go

No matter what you’ve done
You can’t erase His love
Nothing can change it
You’re not separated
No matter where you run
He’s always holding on

You’re still a daughter, you’re still a son
No matter what
You’re still a daughter, you’re still a son!
No matter what

Songwriters: Ryan Stevenson / Bryan Fowler / Jonathan Smith
No Matter What lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Essential Music Publishing

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