The one who lives honestly, practices righteousness, and acknowledges the truth in his heart--
[For the choir director: "Do Not Destroy." A Davidic Miktam.] Do you really speak righteously, you mighty ones? Do you judge people fairly?
For the LORD God is a sun and shield. The LORD gives grace and glory; He does not withhold the good from those who live with integrity.
He stores up success for the upright; He is a shield for those who live with integrity
The one who lives with integrity lives securely, but whoever perverts his ways will be found out.
But we did not yield in submission to these people for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain for you.
(I know and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself. Still, to someone who considers a thing to be unclean, to that one it is unclean.)
They forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods that God created to be received with gratitude by those who believe and know the truth.
For everything created by God is good, and nothing should be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,
since it is sanctified by the word of God and by prayer.
They are physical regulations and only deal with food, drink, and various washings imposed until the time of restoration.
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face because he stood condemned.
"You must not hate your brother in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor directly, and you will not incur guilt because of him.
Let the righteous one strike me-- it is [an act of] faithful love; let him rebuke me-- it is oil for my head; let me not refuse it. Even now my prayer is against the evil acts of the wicked.
Better an open reprimand than concealed love.
The wounds of a friend are trustworthy, but the kisses of an enemy are excessive.
Publicly rebuke those who sin, so that the rest will also be afraid.
For he used to eat with the Gentiles before certain men came from James. However, when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, because he feared those from the circumcision party.
Then the rest of the Jews joined his hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy.
Peter said to them, "You know it's forbidden for a Jewish man to associate with or visit a foreigner. But God has shown me that I must not call any person common or unclean.
saying, "You visited uncircumcised men and ate with them!"
Peter began to explain to them in an orderly sequence, saying:
"I was in the town of Joppa praying, and I saw, in a visionary state, an object coming down that resembled a large sheet being lowered from heaven by its four corners, and it came to me.
When I looked closely and considered it, I saw the four-footed animals of the earth, the wild beasts, the reptiles, and the birds of the sky.
Then I also heard a voice telling me, 'Get up, Peter; kill and eat!'
" 'No, Lord!' I said. 'For nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth!'
But a voice answered from heaven a second time, 'What God has made clean, you must not call common.'
"Now this happened three times, and then everything was drawn up again into heaven.
At that very moment, three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea arrived at the house where we were.
Then the Spirit told me to go with them with no doubts at all. These six brothers accompanied me, and we went into the man's house.
He reported to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, 'Send to Joppa, and call for Simon, who is also named Peter.
He will speak words to you by which you and all your household will be saved.'
"As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came down on them, just as on us at the beginning.
Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, 'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'
Therefore, if God gave them the same gift that He also gave to us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, how could I possibly hinder God?"
When they heard this they became silent. Then they glorified God, saying, "So God has granted repentance resulting in life to even the Gentiles!"
But not even Titus who was with me, though he was a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised.
Those who want to make a good showing in the flesh are the ones who would compel you to be circumcised-- but only to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ.
Why, then, are you now testing God by putting on the disciples' necks a yoke that neither our forefathers nor we have been able to bear?
On the contrary, we believe we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way they are."
Therefore, in my judgment, we should not cause difficulties for those who turn to God from among the Gentiles,
but instead we should write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from eating anything that has been strangled, and from blood.
For since ancient times, Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, and he is read aloud in the synagogues every Sabbath day."