Today, many Christians believe and teach that you cannot be saved except you keep the Law of Moses.
Similarly, many still teach that you only believe in Jesus Christ to be saved, and still others fumble that salvation is a gift, so you do nothing but accept this gift of salvation.
“And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, [you] cannot be saved,” (Acts 15:1).
However, after much debate, dissension, and disputation the church agreed that two representatives, Paul and Barnabas, would take this question of disputation to the elders and apostles in Jerusalem for clarification.
So, today, we will do a comparable thing, we will take these issues to the elders and apostles in the Church for them to address these questions. We will look, in retrospect, at the Scriptures and see how they handled them.
Except you are Circumcised After the Manner of Moses, You Cannot be Saved
“When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question,” (Acts 15:2).
Now, observe how their manner of preaching now is different from when they initially started out.
At that time, they preached only to the Jews, but now they were directing their preaching towards the Gentiles. Their focus has changed. The times of the Gentiles have begun.
As a result, “And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren,” (Acts 15:3).
God does everything in an orderly manner. To the extent that now both Jews and Gentiles are pleased with the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them,” (Acts 15:4).
Note Who Proposed that the Gentiles Cannot be Saved Except they are Circumcised?
This is not what the Bible teaches, but it’s the teachings of religious zealots who misinterpret the true Word of God.
“But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses,” (Acts 15:5).
These men who taught this doctrine were Believers in Jesus Christ. But before they were “Pharisees”, so now they are Pharisees who “believed”. They are Jews who became Christians.
They, in ignorance, are attempting to combine both dogmas, that of the Pharisees with that of Jesus Christ to define the lifestyle of these Gentiles.
Choose the Doctrine of Jesus Christ
But that’s not how it works. Jesus Christ is supreme. And when you accept Him as Lord of your life immediately you should abandon all your former teachings and accepts His and His alone.
We cannot combine the teachings of Christ with those of any other prophet, not even Moses, unless both are proposing identical doctrines.
However, if they are not in agreement, choose the Doctrine of Jesus Christ. He is the only Savior of the whole world. He’s the salvation of humanity.
Therefore, to achieve this goal of oneness, we must know the teachings of Jesus Christ and those of the second party.
As a result, observe below, that each apostle refers to the teachings of both.
Did Apostle Peter Agree You Cannot be Saved Unless….?
“And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter,” (Acts 15:6).
In any situation, Apostle Peter always has something to say, so let’s listen to him. At this point, these leaders couldn’t arrive at a consensus on this issue. It was then that Apostle Peter interjected with his opinion guided by the Scriptures, the Holy Ghost, and his experience.
“And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe,” (Acts 15:7).
Peter reminds us that the first Gentiles to receive salvation heard the Word of God through him.
He continues to look back, “And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us” (Acts 15:8).
You Cannot be Saved Except You Possess the Holy Ghost?
The Holy Ghost is at the center of our salvation. We cannot be saved except we have the Holy Ghost. All the apostles and elders had Him and so must we.
Therefore, Peter admits that the Holy Ghost makes us one in Christ. For he says, “And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith,” (Acts 15:9).
Finally, Apostle Peter summarizes his assessment of the false teaching which proposes, except you be circumcised you cannot be saved.
He declares, “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” (Acts 15:10).
He admits that neither they nor their ancestors couldn’t keep the Law of Moses.
“But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they,” (Acts 15:11).
Apostles Barnabas and Paul Speak
After Peter spoke, apostles Barnabas and Paul narrated their experience of God working through them among the Gentiles.
“Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them,” (Acts 15:12).
Subsequently, Apostle James, will show that we cannot be saved if we ignore the Word of Jesus Christ.
James – You Cannot be Saved Except You Bear the Name of the Lord
“And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me,” (Acts 15:13).
One after the other, the apostles are speaking their minds on this issue. Paul and Barnabas having spoken, now Apostle James feels compel to add his thoughts to the solution.
He says, “Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name,” (Acts 15:14).
When did God visit the Gentiles and why is it necessary to select from them a people for His name when he has Israel for that very purpose?
Apostle James supplies the Written Word to support his point, “And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,” (Acts 15:15).
The Gentiles Cannot be Saved Unless the Lord Visits Them
Friends, a visit any visit, but one by the Lord is not indefinite. The stopover ends. At the end of it, which is the end of the Times of the Gentiles, the Lord will return to His chosen, Israel.
Apostle James speaks about this very thing in the next verse of Scripture:
“After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up,” (Acts 15:16).
Above, the Lord expressly said “I will return” after His visit to the Gentiles. He will return to Israel, and both Jews and Gentiles will become as one to the Lord, for we will both bare His name.
“That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things,” (Acts 15:17).
The Scripture-verse immediately above, provides the reason for both Jews and Gentiles called by the name of the Lord.
For the glory of God. And we will both seek the Lord.
James’ Four Recommendations
“Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world,” (Acts 15:18).
James reminds the Church that the turning of the Gentiles to God did not surprise Him. He knows everything.
“Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God,” (Acts 15:19).
As a result, he recommends that the Church and Apostles in Jerusalem write a letter to the Gentiles who believed in Jesus Christ.
This letter encourages the Gentile-Believers to abstain in four main areas:
- Abstain from pollutions of idols
- Avoid fornication
- Withdraw from strangled animals
- Stay away from blood (Acts 15:20).
“For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every [S]abbath day,” (Acts 15:21).
The Apostles, the Elders, and the Church arrived at a conclusion concerning the false doctrine that had infiltrated the Church.
Some Believers had taught that Gentiles Believers cannot be saved unless they behaved like Jews.
The Church discussed the issue and arrived at a conclusion and made four recommendations.
It implores the Gentile Believers to stay away from, idols, fornication, strangled animals, and from blood.
We must stay away from idols because the Lord our God is a jealous God. We cannot worship idols and God.
Avoid fornication because our bodies are the temples of God. He lives in us. Every sin is done outside of the body except fornication. It alone is done within the body.
They Were Believers Already
Avoid strangled animals. Whenever an animal is strangled its blood is congealed in the flesh. It didn’t flow from it. Therefore, the flesh of the strangled animal still contains its blood.
However, the Lord commands us never to eat the blood of any animal because the life of the same is in the blood.
If we do, we are consuming the life of the animal and not only the flesh of it. Doing this is disobedience to the Word of God.
Consequently, do not eat improperly drained meats or rear meats. Consuming this is a
Finally, avoiding strangled animals and avoiding blood is one and the same.
Be Confident in Your Salvation
Please, don’t forget that these Gentiles-Believers were already saved.
They were Believers in Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God.
They were baptized in water in his name and they had received the Holy Ghost.
These were born-again Believers.
However, some religious folks sent by the Devil, wanted them to doubt their salvation in Christ.
Be confident in
The Lord visits the Gentiles to pick out a people for His name and this happens when we hear the Gospel, accept it, believe it, and received water baptism in the mighty name of Jesus Christ, (1 Timothy 3:16).
Water baptism by immersion in the name of Jesus is putting on his name. Have you taken on the name, Jesus Christ already?
Please watch this video for it amplify some of the things I spoke about above. This video will enlighten you concerning your faith in God.