Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Grace for all

On the contrary, we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will. Acts 15:11 (NRSV)

The above scripture is the concluding statement of Peter as he addressed an assembly of apostles and elders of the early church. Would it be possible to have a more God fearing esteemed group of men? And what were they discussing? Circumcision. They were discussing the law that distinguished Israel from the Gentiles. It was difficult for the early Christians, who were Jews and had drawn close to God through the Jewish law, to give up the law. In essence, they thought that since Jesus observed the law and the law had helped them to discover Christ and be saved, then the Gentiles should also discover Christ and be saved by observing the law.

Peter told the assembly of apostles that God spoke to the Gentiles, just as He had spoken to the Jews. And Peter reminded them that it is through grace that we all discover Christ and are saved.

Modern Christians still are caught in these sorts of discussions. We seem to have a need to be able to distinguish if other people are Christians or not. Some people believe that the Holy Spirit cannot be discovered without speaking in tongues or having a manifestation of a spiritual experience. Some believe that a church must have a service or missions focus to be truly Christian. Some people believe that we cannot know Christ without in-depth Bible study. In truth, all of these ways can help us to draw closer to Christ, but the bottom line to this discussion is the same conclusion that Peter gave to the apostles. We will be saved by grace, just the same as everyone else will be. And what a powerful, wonderful, idea this is. Saved! by grace.