People were coming to Christ and the churches were progressing when “certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved"” (Acts 15:1). If this was true it meant that righteousness could be attained by the Law instead of by Christ alone; therefore “Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them” (verse 2). When Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem to meet with the apostles and elders they found out where the problem was coming from. Acts 15:5 says “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." Pharisees were getting saved; this in itself was great! These Pharisees were bringing their love for rituals and righteous by the Law into the church; this was not great. Being born again is a wonderful thing, but we must go on and be transformed in our thinking. These differing opinions caused the apostles and elders to seek the heart of God in this matter, and they were able to deliver these truths to the Gentile churches. Acts 15:28 records that they wrote these words: “it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things…” I love that; the wisdom of the Holy Spirit (what seemed good to Him), He deposited into the heart of the apostles and elders! Holy Spirit gave the churches a few laws they should abide by to come out of their pagan ways, but circumcision was a sign of faith in the old covenant so was not necessary for salvation.
Read through the Bible with us in 2012! The reading plan can be downloaded below; we are reading in chronological order. Check back often to read the blog posts on the Bible readings and discuss things in the "comments" section.
2012 Bible Plan