East6B21. Acts of the Apostles 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48. Prior to this, Cornelius, a non-Jew, had seen a God-given vision that led him to receive Peter as a messenger from God. Peter, on the other hand, had been given a vision to accept people who were not Jews nor practiced Jewish ritual ways so that he was opened to accept the work of the Holy Spirit that had “been poured out on the Gentiles.” So “he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” It was astounding for the Jewish followers of the Christ to accept non-Jews as also followers of Christ, so imbued they were with Judaism as a prerequisite for salvation. Whatever is the will of God, no matter what anyone had held before, is what we ought to accept. The prerequisite for remaining in union with God is to accept and live in union with his will.
John 15:9-17. “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.” To keep God’s commandments means to live in absolute obedience to God’s will as he reveals it to us day by day throughout the day. His will is his way of communicating and expressing his love for us. The cross we bear is to reject and die to our will. The resurrection that we live is to live in his will. What joy it is to live in his will that is his love for us! In Judaism God’s commandments were engraved on two stone tablets. However, in Christianity God’s commandments are not something written down once and forever but are made known to us by our being in an ongoing, never ending spiritual relationship and communication with Jesus. In John 14:6-7a, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father.’” The joy of knowing Jesus personally and spiritually, even though he is invisible to human eyes, deepens and grows as we surrender ourselves to be led by him to live less and less in our own will so to live more and more in his will (commandments) and love. The one expression of his will or commandment that will never change is to love as he loves.
1 John 4:7-10. “Beloved, let us love one another because love is of God.” If we have God as the source of our daily life, then our daily life is love. “In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he has loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.” Divine love is defined by the crucifix, totally selfless love. Human nature, in itself and apart from God, does not have the capacity to love as God loves. God is the only one who can enable us to love as he loves. If we live in the love he pours out into us daily, then and only then can we love as he loves.