Today’s passage: Acts 15:1-21
- The idea that circumcision be required prior to salvation should have been eliminated with the conversion of Cornelius’ household in Acts 10.
- Peter brings this fact up in verse 7.
- Romans 2:25-29
- Not only did Peter argue against requiring Gentiles to follow the Law, he also reminded the Jews that their circumcision did not save them either! (Verses 10-11)
- The final verdict was this: No one is required to keep the law in order to be saved! Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
- These requests James gives are not rules to follow in order to be saved. Instead, he was asking the Gentiles to conduct themselves this way in order to help reach the Jews in their cities with the Gospel as well.
Questions to consider:
- If these “Judaizers” (As they were called) demanded the Gentiles keep the law in order to be saved, what had they forgotten about the gospel? Had any of them kept the law to God’s standard? Were they saved because they kept the law or because Christ fulfilled it on their behalf?
- How would this passage speak to any form of works-based salvation? If these former Pharisees were being saved the exact same way the formerly idolatrous Gentiles were, is there anyone who is going to heaven because they are good enough?
- Why might verse 11 have offended these believing former Pharisees? How can traditions, past efforts and memories cloud our vision of God’s plan of salvation?