And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question.
So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, describing the conversion of the Gentiles; and they caused great joy to all the brethren. And when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders; and they reported all things that God had done with them. But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.”
Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter. And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: “Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.”
“…all things that God had done…” Why does mankind insist upon meddling with what God has done? “…God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit,…” God decides, not man. Who are we to continually step in with our man-made rules and muddy the water? “…we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved…” How do we receive salvation from the curse our sins bring upon us? We believe that Jesus came to be the final sacrifice for those sins, we believe that his grace pardons our sins and restores us to a right relationship with God the Father. We are made whole once again and set free from the bondage of mankind’s demands. This statement does not advocate irresponsibility. We pick up our responsibility to the Lord who so graciously granted us the freedom. He set forth principles that guide our walk with Him, but those principles do not do the saving, His blood does the saving. His resurrection gives eternal life. We do nothing but accept His gift. We cannot set ourselves free of the consequences of sin by our own actions. We can only accept what He has done. “… we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved…” Let us thank Him for that privilege and let it be what it is. Then let us follow His commands and find a life that is full and eternal.