God's Word for Today Acts 15
December 4, 2011
Acts 15 By grace are you saved through faith
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,
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 councils decision is summed up in what
Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus,
Ephesians 2:8-9 เอเฟซัส 2:8-9
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