Acts 15-16

What have you added to the gospel?

Chapters 15 and 16 of Acts are chock full of movement. But, I want to focus on the Jerusalem Council in chapter 15, as there are some noticeable things that impact how we ought to live as believers.

Acts 15 begins with some Jewish believers telling Gentile believers that they need to be circumcised in order to be full-fledged Christians. This was worrisome to the likes of Paul and Barnabas. So, they went to Jerusalem to discuss this with the apostles. After much debate, the apostles and elders decided to lay no further burden on the Gentile Christians other than abstaining from things associated with idols and sexual immorality. The Gentile believers would do well to adhere to these things and would successfully live the Christian life.

In much the same way as the Jewish believers, we like to add things to the gospel and Christian living that are not necessary. We tell people they need to dress a certain way or listen to a particular style of music. They have to do this or that to really be a Christian. The ironic thing is, as Peter noted, Jesus died for us because we were unable to follow God’s commands. So, what does it look like for us to add more rules on top of the ones we already couldn’t follow? No, the gospel is Jesus lived the life we couldn’t. After that, the Spirit then gives us new desires and affections to live out God’s law in a gracious way.

Today, examine your own life. Have you added requirements to Christian living to your own life or the lives of others? What steps can you take to live a more grace-filled life that rests in the completed work of Christ?

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