The letter apostles and elders sent to Gentiles following the Jerusalem Council upheld Paul and Barnabas’ ministry. Nothing in Mosaic ceremonies or food laws, including circumcision, would be demanded of converts.
While yielding not even an inch in scriptural truth to heretics, the Jerusalem leaders also prohibited Gentile Christians access to behavior endemic to Roman society. Meaning...what Gentiles found acceptable in permissive Roman religions had no welcome in Christianity, particularly the sexual orgies associated with heathen fertility rites.
Which underscores a spiritual truth expressed throughout the Bible: what may be acceptable to unbelievers cannot be tolerated by God’s people. And Christians need to know and defend the differences.
For example, Hamor the Hivite, ruler of Shechem, considered a grace to have his people intermarry with Jacob’s family Genesis 34:8-10. But God considered it a disgrace. Having freed the patriarch from the domination of a heathen father-in-law, he wouldn’t subject him to the corruption of heathen nations.
For example, the heathen Philistines loaded God’s Ark on a new cart pulled by two cows when returning it to Israel I Samuel 6:1-12. But when David assayed to bring the Ark to Jerusalem from Abinadab’s house, he too loaded it on a new cart. That decision cost Uzzah his life II Samuel 6:6-8.
From his first response of anger and fear David turned to RESEARCH: why had the Ark been a source of danger? I Chronicles 15:11-15 reveals that David found the answer in Exodus 25:10-16. What God allowed to ignorant Philistines, he punished Israel for disregarding his Word.
I Corinthians 2:6-16 reveals an important spiritual principle. God has endowed Christians with wisdom denied the unsaved. Beyond even that, God has declared unbelievers unfit and unqualified to judge Holy Spirit-empowered Christians. They inherit wisdom to discern truth from error, acceptable from rejected behavior and values God honors or rejects or abhors. The honor of possessing such wisdom denied our depraved, secularized, materialistic culture, imposes an equal responsibility. We must always, whatever society may demand or desire, view all life, teachings, attitudes and behaviors through truth revealed in scripture. Our enfranchisement in Christ demands we assume that role. The unsaved will instinctively seek an easier way to Christ than self-denial. But believers need to already be living that self-denying discipleship. The unsaved will not consider Jesus essential, but believers need to already be proving he’s irreplaceable.
Christians...let us stand firm in repeating to our society what Jesus taught, however unwelcomed or unwanted they find his message. Let us remember, since Jesus has ALL authority, “no other religious leader has ANY.” Therefore, any teaching or practice that disregards him or disagrees with him must be condemned, not tolerated. Only the Person of Jesus, the Nature of Jesus, the Purpose of Jesus, the Message of Jesus, the Eternality of Jesus and the Singularity of Jesus will Remain after all of God’s enemies have been sent to Hell with Satan and his demons. Amen. Fini