Have you ever witnessed people arguing on the subject of Grace and Law?
‘Mr. Grace’: …salvation is not by your works…salvation is simply by the Grace of God…
‘Mr. Law’: …heresy!!! How can you say you are saved forever only by Grace? You must be righteous if you must enter Heaven…!!!
‘Mr. Grace’: Haven’t you read Ephesians chapter 2? ….For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God…Not of works, lest any man should boast…
‘Mr. Law’: …do you read your Bible at all? Haven’t you read that ….he that endures to the end shall be saved? (Matt 24:13)
And the argument goes on and on… As you can see from the above, both parties have personal convictions in their scriptural knowledge influencing their individual stands! So what PREFERRED CONCLUSION would you choose? I feel it is highly comforting for us to know that this kind of argument didn’t start today…’ Even the Apostles in the Bible had a strong argument on this!
Now my question is this: …if their argument eventually had a ‘conclusion’….would you go with the Apostles’ conclusion? Hmm…If truly you are a believer, then your answer should be YES! If ‘yes’, then let’s quickly take a brief look at the “Apostles’ Argument”. This was well recorded in Acts 15. Ready?
‘…And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, EXCEPT YE BE CIRCUMCISED AFTER THE MANNER OF MOSES, YE CANNOT BE SAVED…’ (Acts 15:1)
Does this look like the common arguments on Law and Grace? Sure it is! It is a Jewish belief that a proof of allegiance to keep the Old Testament laws is to be ‘…circumcised after the manner of Moses…’!
‘…every man that is circumcised … is a debtor TO DO THE WHOLE LAW…’ (Gal 5:3)
In fact, verse 5 of Acts 15 explained that the argument was that every believer cannot just claim he is saved without fulfilling the Laws of Moses! Every believer must be ‘…commanded to keep the LAW of Moses.’ (Acts 15:5) Do you now understand?
For you information; There are 613 laws of Moses including the Ten Commandments! Let’s go on! Vs 2 of Acts 15 says:
‘…When THEREFORE PAUL AND BARNABAS HAD NO SMALL DISSENSION AND DISPUTATION WITH THEM, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question…’
Wow! In case the words ‘dissension and disputation’ seems like a big grammar to you….they simply mean STRONG ARGUMENTS! So you see that this argument has been there since Bible days! Vs 5 and 6 of Acts 15 explains that this argument continued even among the APOSTLES!!!
‘…And the APOSTLES AND ELDERS came together for to consider of this matter. And when there had been MUCH DISPUTING…’
Hmmn….‘much disputing’? I could almost hear their arguments while studying the Bible: ‘…Once saved is not forever saved…never…they must fulfil the law with full validity of outward display of righteousness before you can say they are saved…’ And Paul and Barnabas replying: ‘…what are you guys saying? If they have to fulfil any law to be saved, why then would Jesus have to come to die for them…?’ Hmmn…Can you hear it too? Let’s go on!
After a long argument, Peter stood up to speak. Now, If you don’t mind, I will highlight his relatively long conversation and I want you to read carefully:
‘…Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should HEAR THE WORD OF THE GOSPEL, AND BELIEVE. And God, which knoweth the hearts, BARE THEM WITNESS, GIVING THEM THE HOLY GHOST, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, PURIFYING THEIR HEARTS BY FAITH. Now therefore WHY TEMPT YE GOD, TO PUT A YOKE UPON THE NECK OF THE DISCIPLES, WHICH NEITHER OUR FATHERS NOR WE WERE ABLE TO BEAR?…’ (Acts 15:7-10)
Did you see that? That is Apostle Peter! He was careful to point out the following:
– Salvation is simply by HEARING AND BELIEVING the Gospel.
– Any saved person has the HOLY SPIRIT as a sealed gift.
– To be ‘pure in heart’ in the new dispensation is simply by FAITH! (Remember, blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God. Matt 5:8)
– Putting the Law as a requirement to be saved is equal to (a) TEMPTING GOD (b) Putting a YOKE on the NECK of the disciples
– The Law can NEVER be fulfilled by any man (not even our Old Testament fathers).
Wow! I hope you are seeing this? Now see his conclusion in the next verse:
‘…But we believe that THROUGH THE GRACE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST we shall be saved, even as they…’ (Acts 15:11)
What a powerful conclusion!!! Peter was simply saying: ‘…it is the same GRACE OF CHRIST that will save both we who are trying to fulfil the Law and these believers who are not under the Law…’! In fact the next verse says: ‘…Then all the multitude kept silence…’ (Acts 15:12) Wow! This conclusion should SILENCE ALL arguments concerning the salvation of believers by Grace. Except you want to say Apostle Peter must be ‘very wrong’! Hmm… That was the Apostles’ conclusion…and that is my own conclusion! What is your own conclusion?The choice is up to you!!! Amen.