The salvation that Christ provides and the early church proclaimed is not based upon our own merit. Therefore, it's not based on anyone else's merit either. In Acts 15, the early church leaders met to set to rest the debate as to what was required of Gentile believers and the results set the stage for how we are to welcome and love all those who come to faith. Adam Barnett takes a look at the debate of Circumcision vs Grace in week 10 of our study of Acts.
Circumcision vs. Grace
Acts | Week 10
July 28,2019 | Adam Barnett
Acts 15:1-5 NIV
Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the believers very glad. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them. Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the Law of Moses.”
Acts 2:21 NIV
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Acts 15:6-11 NIV
The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”
Acts 11:17 NIV
So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?
Jesus isn’t a step on the way to salvation. Jesus is the way to salvation.
Acts 15:16-18 NIV
After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things that have been known for ages.
Acts 15:19 NIV
It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.
Don’t make it difficult for anyone to turn to God.
Results of the Council at Jerusalem
Unless I also ___, I am not saved.