June 17, 2022 – Friday
Acts 15:9-11 NIV
9 He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.
10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear?
11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.
This is not Paul speaking here but the apostle Peter and he was declaring No! to the question on whether or not Gentiles had to be circumcised to be saved. He was addressing the apostles and elders of the church in Jerusalem on this particular question. This came about because some people came down from Judea to Antioch v1, teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” Paul and Barnabas were in great disagreement with them, so they and some other believers traveled to Jerusalem to have the apostles and elders there settle this question.
There some believers who were Pharisees insisted v5b, The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses. It was after much discussion that Peter stood up and addressed everyone there and began by saying, 7b Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us.
Peter knew what he was talking about as earlier (Acts 10-11) he, at the direction of God, visited a house full of Gentiles. Speaking the gospel to them, he observed them receiving the Holy Spirit. Nonetheless, 2 when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him 3 and said, “You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.”
After telling his story of all that happened, Peter concluded with Acts 11, 17 So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way? His argument was incredibly persuasive, so 18 When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.” Many would have remembered this as Peter was speaking. So now (Acts 15) he almost repeats himself when he said, 9 He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Hope you caught that, our hearts are purified by our faith.
It was then Peter put those pushing circumcision for salvation in their place by asking a question they dared not answer, 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? Peter had dealt with this question once before and he wanted an to put an end to this question permanently. That is why, when he answered his own rhetorical question he said, 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.
Jew and Gentile alike are saved through the grace of our Lord Jesus. The point being it is God’s grace or mercy that all shall be saved, with circumcision providing no advantage and uncircumcision no disadvantage. Grace is for all who believe.
Bottom Line: Try to make it as complicated as you wish, but it is as simple as repenting and believing.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for making salvation available to all of us. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton