Moving on thru Acts chapter 14 to chapter 15, verse 35. After establishing the New Testament norm with chapters 11, 12 and 13, we now come to that final passage before the first of the epistles of Paul, with Galatians; responding to this new norm being challenged. With his First Missionary Journey, Paul goes to Iconium, where we read that a great number #7, believed in verse 1, but that the Jews there #2, sinned in refusing to believe says verses 2 and 19. With verse 3, we find a new term for the preaching of #5, the Gospel, and that it is called ‘the message of His grace,’ implying, of course, that His salvation is given freely as a gift. This matter of salvation being a free gift is about to be challenged in chapter 15. With verses 7 and 21, we see it called the ‘preaching of the good news,’ which is what the term, ‘Gospel,’ means. It really is Good News!
We clearly find #6, repentance in verse 15 in the expression, ‘to turn;’ and there’s a #9 New Life matter of it actually involving ‘many hardships,’ to #10, enter the Kingdom of God, and not the ‘bed of roses,’ that all your problems will magically disappear. But the admonition is, in the face of hardships, to ‘remain true to the faith.’ See how that verse 23 speaks of Jesus as #4, their Savior in Whom they had #7, placed their trust. Chapter 14 ends with there being rejoicing over how that non-Jewish Gentile peoples were also coming to #7, believe.
Then, with chapter 15, thru verse 35, a great controversy arose as to what constituted salvation. Was it by God’s grace thru repentance toward God and faith in Christ and His work alone, or did it also require some work on our part, such as circumcision and keeping the law of Moses? We’re talking about #8, the New Birth of true salvation says verses 1, 3, 11, and especially verse 8. The conclusion was that salvation came to Gentiles when they #6, repented says verse 19, and #7 believed the message of #5, the Gospel, says verses 7 and 9 expressly. We find a valuable #9, New Life teaching for believers here in verses 20 and 29 to abstain from sexual immorality.
With this passage of chapter 14 thru 15:35, we uncover 8 of the 10 Essential Elements, as well as the strong challenge to them. Just how are we truly saved? That’s what’s at issue here. It’s about AD 49 or 50 by now, some 17 years since Christ arose and ascended. It’s likely the time that Paul wrote Galatians to address this very issue of just how are we truly saved. We’re going to go there and deal with that next! It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell