God's Word for Today Acts 15

December 4, 2011

 
 

Acts 15 By grace are you saved through faith

กิจการ 15 ด้วยว่าซึ่งท่านทั้งหลายรอดนั้นก็รอดโดยพระคุณเพราะความเชื่อ  

On the first missionary journey into the region of Galatia most of the new Christians were Gentiles.  Some Jewish Christians argued that these new Christians must become Jewish in following all the laws of Moses especially the men must be circumcised.  News of this reached the church in Jerusalem who called together the first church council meeting to decide the matter.  The issue they are really considering is this, is salvation by keeping the Laws of Moses or are saved by grace through faith alone in Jesus Christ?  It is not simply a question of whether one should be circumcised or not, whether one should eat meat or not. The question is: Must one do any of these things in order to be saved? Is the work of Christ adequate to save you? Do you need to go through some ritual or something else in order to be saved? Must you go through the Law? These are the questions they were asking.   The Council decided that salvation comes by grace through faith.  God is saying, "My Son died for you. What will you do with Him?" The answer to that question will determine your eternal destiny. This is the issue being discussed at the council in Jerusalem.  Peter as one of the apostles is one of the speakers at the council reminding them how he had shared the Gospel with Cornelius and that Cornelius and his household had been saved.   Peter does not say that God purified their hearts by keeping the law, or by going through a ceremony, or even by joining a church.  But those Romans became Christians by faith. Peter said, "I went into the home of Cornelius. I gave them the gospel. They believed and were saved, the Holy Spirit came upon them just as He had come to us in Jerusalem."   Peter also admits that no one Jew or Gentile has really been able to keep the Law.  Before the time of Christ, men brought a sacrifice to God. They brought that sacrifice by faith.  They brought a sacrifice such as a lamb, looking forward to the time when Christ, the Lamb of God would die on the cross to pay for our sins.

    Paul and Barnabas spoke and told of all that happened in the region of Galatia.  James the half brother of Jesus who wrote the book of James is the next one to speak.  He said, “God is visiting the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name.”  The decision is that Gentiles who have turned to God are not to be put under the Laws of Moses. However, they are going to ask the Gentiles to do certain things out of courtesy and respect to the Jewish Christians. They will ask them to not eat meat sacrificed to idols.  The Gentiles were not offended by buying and eating this meat. But for the Israelite Christian this would be very offensive. They were also requested to abstain from fornication.

The main point of the council’s decision is summed up in what Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus,

Ephesians 2:8-9 เอเฟซัส 2:8-9 8ด้วยว่าซึ่งท่านทั้งหลายรอดนั้นก็รอดโดยพระคุณเพราะความเชื่อ   และมิใช่โดยตัวท่านทั้งหลายกระทำเอง   แต่พระเจ้าทรงประทานให้

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