My assignment in Acts
As part of my studies in Acts, I have had to consider one of the questions theologians always consider when reading Acts, which is: how much of Acts is purely descriptive and how much are we suppose to copy today? Are we suppose to live communally (Acts 2:44)? Are we suppose to take vows (Acts 18:18)? Should circumcision be apart of faith today (Acts 16:3)? And what about the miraculous events, is it normal for Christians to experience these? Is abnormal if we don’t?
For my assignment I wrote about the passage in Acts where Peter is invited to Cornelius’ house. The day Peter went to Cornelius’ house was a big day for Peter and included a lot of firsts. First time in a Gentile house, probably ate non-kosher food for the first time, but the big one was for the first time he realized that God accepted Gentiles without them having to become Jewish. The significance of this probably doesn’t mean much to us but it meant heaps to Peter and opened lots of doors in his mind.
This is the conclusion I came to in my assignment:
God does not give us a rule book to tell us how to run our lives or our churches but rather he gives us examples in Acts of spirit-filled people and spirit-led churches. He gives us stories of actual events to show us how others have grappled with being God’s person in a fallen world. Every community is different and God wants to move uniquely in each one. We cannot take a verse out of Acts and use it as a precedence for Christian practice but we can consider how the early believers lived, loved, prayed, worshipped, witnessed, and evaluate, with the Spirit’s enabling, whether this should be the norm for us.
Yet perhaps the biggest lesson from this passage in Acts is that we cannot make ourselves acceptable to God by adherence to rules and customs, by ceremonies and observances, or by changing our nationality and lifestyle. God accepts Cornelius and us by faith alone, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.