The Big Four: Acts 15:19-21
“Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”” Acts‬ ‭15‬:‭19‬-‭21‬
When the discussion was complete, James concluded there were four essentials from the Law the Gentile believers were to honor. They related to abstaining from idolatry, sexual immorality, blood and things strangled.
The first two are self explanatory. But what about blood and things strangled. These two are related. Way back in Genesis 9:3-7, God told Noah not to eat meat with blood in it nor to shed human blood. Why? Because life is in the blood for both man and beast. This was an injunction about respect and reverence for life.
A relationship with Jesus Christ translates into a call for the worship of the One and only true God. It is accompanied by a call to holiness and moral purity. It produces a reverence for life in general that results in respect and dignity for all people created in the image of God.
Violence and barbaric practices are abhorrent to genuine Christians. They become channels of love and not instruments of violence. They dignify rather than exploit people nor do they treat animals with cruelty.
The historical irony is that these inner values imparted by the Holy Spirit is what motivated the early Gentile Christians to minister to widows, orphans the poor and eventually eradicate human exploitation and slavery in the Roman Empire. (See Galatians 2:10) The early Gentile Christians soon adopted higher spiritual, moral and dignity for life principles than their Jewish counterparts.
They got it right! The Holy Spirit and not the Law produces genuine holiness in people. This is why the born-again and Jesus honoring segment of any society are the greatest advocates for God, life, marriage, family and Justice. The inner Holy Spirit automatically produces these motivations in people.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global