Coping with Conflict (Acts 15:1-5)

“Men came down from Judea…”

The church at Antioch was one church where Jews and Gentiles were together and in harmony, and they prospered. The devil hates unity and growth, and he sends dissension from Jerusalem. The Pharisees showed up declaring salvation only for those who would be circumcised and follow the laws of Moses.

The Pharisees are spreading the “Law of Moses,” but they aren’t sent by the church. They took it upon themselves to spread this false gospel, out of zeal for their particular cause. Unless you are circumcised you cannot be saved — they put circumcision as the critical thing that attains salvation! How ridiculous is this? Circumcision was never meant to hold this import — no good works can control our eternal destiny. Even if Christ is not specifically excluded, to insist on any other condition is to render his sacrifice worthless.

This was not at all the purpose of the Law, but rather it should point us to Christ. The Law was in place “until the seed should come to whom to the promise was made” (Galatians 3:19). The Law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith (Galatians 3:24-26).

The Law was not wrong, but it does not dominate your life, and it cannot save you. The blood of Jesus is supremely and solely able to save, and it is God, not the Law, who sits on the throne.

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