Wednesday, April 07, 2010

No Distinction

 Acts 15:8 And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, 9 and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith.

8 καὶ ὁ καρδιογνώστης θεὸς ἐμαρτύρησεν αὐτοῖς δοὺς τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον καθὼς καὶ ἡμῖν 9  καὶ οὐθὲν διέκρινεν μεταξὺ ἡμῶν τε καὶ αὐτῶν τῇ πίστει καθαρίσας τὰς καρδίας αὐτῶν.

This is part of Peter's speech at the Jerusalem Council.  The question was whether the Gentiles should be circumcised.  The answer was no.  Here is Peter's account of how the gospel went out to the Gentiles.  He should know after what he experienced with Cornelius.

I suspect that this chapter is a big part of the debate over Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology.  Simeon later says:

16 "'After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it,
 17 that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes these things 18 known from of old.'

It seems like the Jews need the gospel now as much as the Gentiles.  Though they can trace their lineage to Abraham they still need grace.  But the phrase καὶ οὐθὲν διέκρινεν μεταξὺ ἡμῶν τε καὶ αὐτῶν leaps out at me.  There is no distinction between the Jews and the Gentiles now in the sense that we all need grace.

However, Simeon's statement indicates that there is some kind of promise coming for the Jews.  Or at the very least it indicates that Jerusalem will be a major factor in the end.  I would take this to refer to the New Jerusalem that will come at the end.  Those who are ἐπικέκληται will come to it.  That seems consistent with the idea that the elect will spend eternity with Him in the New Jerusalem.  In other words, as far as I know, we don't need a Dispensational reading to make sense of this text.

Thanks for sticking through this post if you've made it this far.  The purpose of this blog is for me to think some things through more deeply.  I'd appreciate any comments on this that anyone wants to make.

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