Saturday, February 8

Grace to all

Scripture: Leviticus 7-9, Acts 15

Acts 15:8–11 God knows people’s hearts, and he confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. 9 He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith. 10 So why are you now challenging God by burdening the Gentile believers with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear? 11 We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.”

Observation

Jewish Christians visited the new Gentile church in Antioch and demanded that the Gentile Christians be circumcised and keep the Jewish Law to be saved.  Paul and Barnabas disagreed and the issue moved to Jerusalem to be decided by the apostles and elders there.  After much discussion, Peter spoke as the one God chose to first take the gospel to the Gentiles.  He cited his own experience of God confirming His acceptance of the Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit.  They were saved by faith in Jesus and by the “undeserved grace” of Jesus.  “We believe that we are all saved the same way.”  Peter makes it clear that not even the Jews are saved by keeping the Jewish Law—they too are saved by grace through faith in Jesus!  

The 4 things they agreed to ask of Gentile Christians were not requirements for salvation (theological) but were concessions for fellowship between Jews and Gentiles (sociological).   

This meeting in Jerusalem was a pivot point in the life of the church.  Had the decision gone the other way, Christianity would have become a small subsection of the Jewish faith.  Instead, it became, as God intended, the good news for the whole world!

Application

“We are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.”  

I’m so grateful for the grace of Jesus that saves and gives new life…for anyone and everyone.  God makes no distinction—His grace is for all!

Prayer: Lord, thank you for saving us by grace and not by works.  Thank you for being inclusive—offering grace to all!