GRACE ALONE

Scripture Reading:  Acts 15:6-11

“Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?  But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”  (Acts 15:10,11)

For several years now many Gentiles had been brought to faith in Christ and had been received into the church through baptism.  It began with the conversion of the God-fearing centurion Cornelius (Acts 10).  Then came the first missionary journey of Paul and Barnabas which resulted in the opening of “a door of faith to the Gentiles.”

With so many Gentile converts, the Jewish believers struggled with the question:  By what means did God intend for Gentiles to be incorporated into the believing community?  Did they have to be circumcised in order to be bona fide members of the covenant people of God?  Did they ceremonially have to become Jews before they were accepted into God’s covenant family?  In order to deal with these questions, the first official church council was called to meet in Jerusalem.

“The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider the matter” (v. 6).  There was much debate over the issue.  Peter then stood up and stated his position, which was that God had made no distinction between the Jews and the Gentiles.  All who believe are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ (v. 11).

Salvation by grace alone is, of course, the watershed issue of the Christian faith.  Are we saved by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, or are we saved by faith in Christ plus obedience to the law?  As we will see, the Jerusalem Council came to agreement that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and there is nothing that can be added to what Christ has done for us.

Lord Jesus, thank You that You made salvation possible through Your finished work.  Thank You that I have been saved by Your grace.  Out of my love and gratitude for You, I desire to live my life in obedience to You as my Savior and my Lord.

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