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Gentiles Were Saved By Grace Not Law

John Collins12/13/2012Acts 11 teaches us how the Gentiles were saved by Grace, not Law.  

The apostles and brothers in Christ of Judea got word that Peter had saved many of the Gentiles, who eagerly accepted the Word of God.  Peter went to Jerusalem to speak to these brothers.

When he arrived, he was criticized by the brothers, who reminded Peter of the Mosaic Law that was broken by his fellowship with the Gentiles.  But Peter had word directly from God, which confirmed him to be just according to a vision.  

Mosaic law held that no child of God should eat unclean meat, from the birds of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air.  But the voice in the vision told Peter to eat!  

Peter replied to the voice of the Lord that nothing unclean had ever touched his mouth, and refused.  But God reminded Peter that he was no longer under the Mosaic Law.  He said, "What God has made clean, do not call common."

This happened three times before Peter by vision, and immediately three Gentiles arrived at his house.  As Peter began to speak to them, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it did at the beginning of the spreading of the Gospel.

The Mosaic Law was a works-righteous justification, one that no man could uphold.  Time after time, the Bible reminds us how men would rise, men would fall, and that no man is worthy without Jesus Christ.  

The Law focused upon the outward man, but the inward man is sinful by nature since Adam's fall.  The outward man could never be pure without Christ. 

Peter remembered the Word of the Lord:  "John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."  Before Christ was resurrected and the New Covenant came into effect, the outward man needed cleansed to be pure.  Man was offered forgiveness through physical sacrifice, from the order of priesthood through a physical bloodline of the Levites.  

Christ was from the order of Melchisedec, and is a High Priest in spirit, not in the physical.  Our justification is spiritual, not physical.  The outward things will never save us, we will never be holy by the physical things that we do.  We are made pure by the Spirit, through faith in Jesus Christ.

Peter asked them, "If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?”

When the brothers in Christ heard that God had offered salvation to the Gentiles, they fell silent.  They all glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

As Christians, we should ask ourselves:  Do we still focus on the Law that Paul called the "Law of sin and death?"  Do we think that we can earn our salvation by the outward rules our leaders try to enforce?  Would we even believe a man claiming to be a prophet who taught that each old covenant was still in effect?  Have we forgotten the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ, wherein all souls can be saved by Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ?