Ok, so I have 26 minutes to write and post this before my PC will possibly lose Internet access.
So, here goes.
Paul and Barnabas returned from their first missionary journey to strengthen the nascent church in Syrian Antioch There they ran into Jews who argued that Gentiles had to submit to the Jewish law. So the two headed to Jerusalem to meet with the Council of leading Apostles and Elders to discuss this issue.
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 15: 7-11 NIV
I love Peter’s summary of the issue.
Can you believe how far the early church had come in order to realize that God was not only ingrafting Gentiles, but had created a whole new plan of salvation?
Law obedience was more than any man could bear. God made a new and grace-filled way for men to receive salvation — through the Cross.
We have heard these truths preached over and over. We came to faith through these truths. We’ve memorized all the scriptures that remind us of these truths. We read all of Scripture through the grid of these truths.
But put yourselves in the shoes of the early church leaders. The hearts and minds of Peter, James, Paul, Barnabas and the rest of the Council were joyously jolted by these amazing truths.
The Cross was a game changer. Though planned before the foundation of the world, it’s full implications where just now dawning on the leaders:
- They were relieved of obedience to the law as the way to God – and a way for Jews alone.
- Instead, both Jew and Gentile could receive free salvation by God’s grace.
Today’s Readings: 2 Chronicles 11:5-12:16, Psalm 80:14-19, Proverbs 20:19-21, Acts 15:1-21. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts. Your daily blogger, Holiday Longing (Reproduce with permission only).