Acts 15 – Council

Read Acts 15

Throughout the history of the Church, many councils like the one described here have considered issues that arise in the faith.  Many great creeds and confessions have come out of such councils and the Christian faith has been strengthened through them.  It is important to consider, in this council, the intent of the Apostles and the Elders.

Facing the question of whether circumcision, a part of the Law of Moses, was necessary for salvation, there came a point where the Gospel and the Law clash.  Now the Law was written to identify sin and warn people away from it.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is that sin is forgiven and there is now freedom from it in Christ.  Paul goes into great detail about this; we will undoubtedly talk about it again.

Freedom, however, can be scary for us, and receiving the free gift of grace has often led people to think about what they can do to earn it.  Here we see a group of people suggesting that circumcision must happen if we are to fully obtain salvation.  This is nothing more than returning to living under the Law; seeking to earn our own salvation, something that is contrary to Scripture.  God’s grace is free to those who believe.

Yet, out of this council there are some suggestions in how to live.  These aren’t necessarily rules, but rather guidelines on lifestyles that are good for believers.

For those who believe in Christ, are we free?  Yes, absolutely.  Does that mean that we should do whatever we want?  No.  There are still things that are bad for us, things that hurt our relationship with God.  We want to build into this relationship, and there are ways to live that help with that.  And when we fail, grace abounds.