Daily Devotional Wednesday 29th April 2020

by William Moody

Acts 15:1–4

The Jerusalem Council

15:1 But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question. So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers.1 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them.

Footnotes

[1] 15:3 Or brothers and sisters; also verse 22

(ESV)

One of the greatest challenges now comes to the early church over the issue of circumcision (v1). The issue was whether people are justified through faith alone or are they justified through faith plus keeping the law.

Paul and Barnabas enter into a sharp dispute with these pro-circumcision believers (v2). Their great fear was that the Gospel was being distorted by being added to. The whole Gospel of salvation through grace alone was at stake here.

Paul and Barnabas head to Jerusalem to meet the apostles to settle this issue (v2b). On their way they are active in encouraging the believers by sharing what God was doing among the Gentiles (v3).

In reaching Jerusalem they report again what God had done through them (v4). They realise that while they were active in sharing the Gospel, any salvations that happened were down to the Sovereign action of God, to whom be all the glory.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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