Acts 15:8
And God, which knows the hearts, bore them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did to us;
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(8) God which knoweth the hearts.—We note the recurrence of the epithet as characteristic of St. Peter. (See Note on Acts 1:24.)

15:7-21 We see from the words purifying their hearts by faith, and the address of St. Peter, that justification by faith, and sanctification by the Holy Ghost, cannot be separated; and that both are the gift of God. We have great cause to bless God that we have heard the gospel. May we have that faith which the great Searcher of hearts approves, and attests by the seal of the Holy Spirit. Then our hearts and consciences will be purified from the guilt of sin, and we shall be freed from the burdens some try to lay upon the disciples of Christ. Paul and Barnabas showed by plain matters of fact, that God owned the preaching of the pure gospel to the Gentiles without the law of Moses; therefore to press that law upon them, was to undo what God had done. The opinion of James was, that the Gentile converts ought not to be troubled about Jewish rites, but that they should abstain from meats offered to idols, so that they might show their hatred of idolatry. Also, that they should be cautioned against fornication, which was not abhorred by the Gentiles as it should be, and even formed a part of some of their rites. They were counselled to abstain from things strangled, and from eating blood; this was forbidden by the law of Moses, and also here, from reverence to the blood of the sacrifices, which being then still offered, it would needlessly grieve the Jewish converts, and further prejudice the unconverted Jews. But as the reason has long ceased, we are left free in this, as in the like matters. Let converts be warned to avoid all appearances of the evils which they formerly practised, or are likely to be tempted to; and caution them to use Christian liberty with moderation and prudence.And God, which knoweth the hearts - Acts 1:24. God thus knew whether they were true converts or not, and gave a demonstration that he acknowledged them as his.

Giving them the Holy Ghost ... - Acts 10:45-46.

8. God, which knoweth the hearts—implying that the real question for admission to full standing in the visible Church is the state of the heart. Hence, though that cannot be known by men, no principle of admission to church privileges which reverses this can be sound. Which knoweth the hearts; God knew the desires of the Gentiles, that they did sincerely desire to please God, and to see this salvation. This great attribute David improved, 1 Chronicles 29:17, and highly recommended his son Solomon to consider of, 1 Chronicles 28:9; which, if believed, would make us also to serve God with a perfect heart and a willing mind. Giving them the Holy Ghost; God himself was a witness for these Gentiles beyond all exception, when he gave them the ordinary and extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost; by which he testified, that they belonged to Christ, whose Spirit this was. Thus the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, Revelation 19:10; and the Spirit, according to our Saviour’s promise, John 15:26, doth testify of him. And God which knoweth the hearts,.... Of all men; he being omniscient, the searcher of the hearts, and the trier of the reins of the children of men, knew with what sincerity Cornelius sent for Peter; and with what vehement desire and longing expectation he and his family and friends waited for his coming; and with what earnestness, diligence, and affection they attended to what he said:

bore them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; God bore a testimony, and showed his well pleasedness in the whole of this affair, by bestowing upon them not only the regenerating and sanctifying grace of the Spirit; but his extraordinary gifts, such as speaking with divers tongues, even in like manner as these were bestowed on the apostles themselves, on the day of Pentecost, though they were uncircumcised persons; for the drift of Peter's oration is to show, that circumcision was not necessary to salvation.

And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;
Acts 15:8-10. God who knows the heart, who thus could not be deceived in the matter (comp. Acts 1:24), has, in reference to this their admission effected by my instrumentality into the fellowship of the gospel and of faith (Acts 15:7), done two things. He has (a) positively borne matter-of-fact witness for them (to their qualification for admission) by His giving to them the Holy Spirit, as to us (comp. Acts 10:44, Acts 11:15 ff.); and (b) negatively, He made in no way distinction between us and them, after He by faith, of which He made them partakers through the gospel, had purified their hearts. God would have made such a distinction, if, after this ethical[26] purification of the heart effected by faith, He had now required of them, for their Christian standing, something else, namely, circumcision and other works of the law; but faith, by which He had morally purified their inner life, was to Him the sole requisite for their Christian standing without distinction, as also with us. Observe on (a), that δοὺς αὐτοῖς κ.τ.λ. is contemporaneous with ἐμαρτύρησεν, expressing, namely, the mode of it; and on (b), that τ. π. καθαρίσας is previous to the οὐδὲν διέκρινε. This is evident from the course of the speech, as the faith must have been already present before the communication of the Spirit (comp. Acts 11:17).

Acts 15:10. Accordingly as the matter now stands (νῦν οὖν).

ΤΊ ΠΕΙΡΆΖΕΤΕ ΤῸΝ ΘΕΌΝ;] i.e. why do ye put it to the test, whether God will abandon His attestation of non-observance already given to the Gentiles, or assert His punitive power against human resistance? “Apostrophe ad Pharisäos et severus elenchus,” Bengel.

ἐπιθεῖναι] with the design to impose, etc.

ζυγόν] comp. Galatians 5:1, and Chrysostom in loc.: τῷ τοῦ ζυγοῦ ὀνόματι τὸ βαρὺ τοῦ πράγματος (of the complete observance of the law) ΑὐΤΟῖς ἘΝΔΕΊΚΝΥΤΑΙ. Contrast to this yoke: Matthew 11:29-30.

οἱ πατέρες ἡμ.] since the time of Moses.

[26] Weiss, Petr. Lehrbegr. p. 321, thinks that it is in the ceremonial sense, so that the idea only allusively passes over into that of ethical cleansing. But τὰς καρδίας points only to the moral sphere. Comp. Weiss himself, p. 274 f. This moral cleansing presupposes, moreover, the reconciliation appropriated by faith; see 1 Peter 1:18.Acts 15:8. ὁ καρδιογνώστης, Acts 1:24, where the same word is used by St. Peter; cf. Jeremiah 17:10. ἐτάζων καρδίας, and cf. St. Peter’s words in Acts 10:34.—καθὼς καὶ ἡμῖν, Acts 10:44, Acts 11:15.8. which knoweth the hearts] The word is only here and in Acts 1:24, and on both occasions it is St Peter who uses it. Such witness could admit of no appeal; and God had put the uncircumcised on the same level with the circumcised by giving to them the same gifts of the Spirit.Acts 15:8. Ὁ καρδιογνώστης, who knoweth the hearts) who looks to the heart, not to the flesh.—ἐμαρτύρησεν αὐτοῖς, bare them witness) Two verbs, each with a participle: ἐμαρτύρησε, δούς· καὶ οὐδὲν διέκρινε, καθαρίσας. Αὐτοῖς, the Dative, as ch. Acts 10:43.—αὐτοῖς, to them) He testified, by giving them the Holy Spirit, that they are pleasing to Him: Galatians 3:5.Verse 8. - Heart for hearts, A.V. (καρδιογνώστης). Bare them witness; i.e. set the mark of his approval upon them, vouched for their sincerity (see the use of the verb μαρτυρέω in Luke 4:22; John 3:26; Acts 6:3; Acts 10:22, etc.). Which knoweth the heart (καρδιογνώστης)

Only here and Acts 1:24.

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