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17 So, if God gave them the same gift we were given when we believed in the Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, who was I to stand in God’s way?

18 There was no argument, only silence.

Circumcised Believers: Well then, we must conclude that God has given to the outsiders the opportunity to rethink their lives, turn to God,[a] and gain a new life.

Just as the experience of the Holy Spirit transforms that small community of believers into the church at the beginning of this book, the presence of the Spirit’s work among these outsiders, the ones who were not a part of God’s covenant with Moses, demonstrates that they, too, are part of the church. This isn’t what many expected, and questions about inclusion of outsiders consume the early life of the church.

19 The believers who were scattered from Judea because of the persecution following Stephen’s stoning kept moving out, reaching Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch. Until this time, they had only shared their message with Jews.

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Footnotes

  1. 11:18 Literally, repent

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