Today’s text reveals the first big dispute within the church. There were religious Jews who insisted that you can’t be saved unless you do or don’t do certain things. This is what we call “legalism.” Legalism is not a simple thing to deal with because there is usually a strand of truth to their claims. For instance, according to Ephesians 2:8-10 we are not saved by our good works but by the grace of God. Yet once we are saved God calls us to live a life of good works. This legalism caused such a dispute in the early church that the Apostles and elders gathered to discuss the proper solution. Read the text in full (Acts 15:1-35) but for now allow me to summarize their conclusion. The question was, “Do you have to be circumcised, become a Jew and obey the Law of Moses in order to be saved?” The answer in short below…

  1. God purifies our hearts through faith – Acts 15:9
  2. We are saved by the Grace of God – Acts 15:11
  3. The saved are instructed that there are things to abstain from Acts 15:19-20

Do you know what it takes to be saved? The answer is Jesus and Jesus alone! Jesus paid the price for your sins on the cross. If you believe that you need to do something additional to secure your salvation, then you are saying that Jesus’ sacrifice was not enough to save. If you believe that you are saved by Jesus plus your good works, then you are insulting God and belittling His amazing grace. Legalism says that the blood of Jesus was not enough to cleanse and save your soul. Jesus didn’t pay the down payment for your sins. He paid it all! Understand that Jesus is enough. Know and embrace the truth that, what makes grace so amazing is that it is God’s undeserved kindness and mercy to the sinner.

“But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,” Romans 4:5, NKJV.

“But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved…” Acts 15:11a, NKJV.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10, NKJV.

“…“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved…” Acts 16:30, 31, NKJV.

We are saved by God’s amazing grace. Now walk in that amazing grace!

Pastor Mike