“Now here is my decision. We should not make it hard for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Here is what we should write to them. They must not eat food that has been made impure by being offered to statues of gods. They must not commit sexual sins. They must not eat the meat of animals that have been choked to death. And they must not drink blood. These laws of Moses have been preached in every city from the earliest times. They are read out loud in the synagogues every Sabbath day.” (Acts 15:19-21)
Humans want freedom. But how far should our freedom extend? Should we be required to get vaccinated or should we be able to choose for ourselves whether we want to get vaccinated or not. In answering that question, we always ask, “What is better for me.” But do we also educate ourselves on what epidemiologists (not the press) say and ask ourselves, “What is better for humanity?”
We have freedom in Christ. Galatians 5:1 says, “We have freedom now because Christ made us free. So, stand strong. Do not change and go back into the slavery of the law.” We walk into freedom when we accept Jesus as our Savior. He set us free from death and the confining laws of Moses so that we can have a personal relationship with God for eternity.
But we must pursue the freedom Jesus gave us and not return to the slavery of the law. We can only be free by trusting God to forgive us and giving up the burden of negative thoughts and feelings that come when we break the law. Jesus died so we could have joy. In the fruits of the spirit, the personality traits Jesus has and wants us to have, joy is listed as second, next to love.
James made a decision not to make difficult laws for the Gentiles to follow. But He also knew his brother, Jesus, wanted the church to be one body. Adding a couple laws that Jewish Christians considered essential (compromise) kept the early church from splitting.
Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 8:9, 13 to be careful that the freedom we exercise doesn’t offend others. When we exercise the love and joy we have in Christ, we won’t do anything that would cause another to fall.
Father God, I praise you for the freedom I have through Christ. Help me not to be negative and exercise the love and joy I have through Jesus. Give me the wisdom to understand others, so I don’t cause another to fall. In Christ’s name, I pray. Amen.