- The setting: The church leaders in Jerusalem gathered to discuss a conflict of theology.
- The debate: Does a person have to fulfill the law of Moses to receive God’s salvation?
- The question: Should we require Gentiles to be circumcised in order for them to receive salvation?
- Peter’s response: When God directed me to share the good news with Gentiles and they responded in faith, God clearly had saved them because He gave them his Holy Spirit just like He did with us. So both we Jews and these Gentiles are saved by God’s grace (vv.7-11).
- Paul and Barnabas response: They described the miracles and signs God worked through them with the Gentiles, reinforcing what Peter just said (v.12).
- James’ response: What Peter just told us is what God said through the prophet Amos that He would do. So let’s not put any extra requirement on the Gentiles which would make it very hard for them to receive God’s grace. By implication he says no, they do not have to fulfill the law of Moses nor the ritual of circumcision to receive God’s salvation (vv.13-21). Galatians 2:11-16; Galatians 3:28; Acts 11:1-18
Some Key Principles about Salvation
- Salvation is required for all. (v.9) Romans 3:22-23; Romans 10:12-13; 1 Timothy 2:5; John 14:6
- Salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ not conformity to religion or traditions. (v.5b) Ephesians 2:8
- Salvation is a gift of God’s grace. (v.11)
Some Principles for Living and Serving with Others
- Be fanatical about worshiping only God in your life. (v.20) 1 Corinthians 8:7-9
- Be willing to give up some things to help others follow Christ. (v.20) Romans 14: 1, 12-13; 2 Corinthians 5:17
- Take personal responsibility for your moral conduct. (v.20) 2 Corinthians 6:17; Ephesians 4:29; Ephesians 5:3