“God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted [the Gentiles] by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us.”
— Acts 15:8

Tension was building as God continued to expand his kingdom. Reports were coming in that Gentiles were becoming believers in Christ, and then some leaders from Judea began teaching that people could not be saved in Christ unless they were circumcised according to the law of Moses.
Actually, those leaders had an “us and them” attitude about faith, and they wanted clear markers to show who was included and who was not. But God had other plans.
Thankfully, cooler minds prevailed, and the church’s leaders saw the truth that all believers are saved by grace through faith in Jesus, and that circumcision is no longer required. Salvation into God’s kingdom is a matter of the heart.
As the work of the Spirit (by which every believer in Christ is sealed) produces fruit in us, we gradually take on the character and behavior of Christ. The Spirit works in us and changes our hearts. Having an outward mark does not change our hearts. Only the Spirit of God can do that.
The gospel cuts to the heart of who we are, and by his power at work inside of us the Lord makes something beautiful out of our lives.

God, thank you for the work you are doing in our hearts. May your love and grace overflow from within us to bring your goodness and fruitfulness into the lives of others. Amen.

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