Acts 15

Acts 15:5

But some of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses.”

The Law of Moses refers to the commandments, ordinances, punishments, and ceremonial observances given to the nation of Israel through Moses (Jos. 8:31, John 1:17, 7:19). This law is sometimes referred to as the law of commandments (Eph. 2:15) or the law of the Jews (Acts 25:8). See entry for The Law.

Acts 15:7

After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe.

(a) Hear the word of the gospel and believe. Faith comes from hearing the good news of Jesus Christ (see entry for Rom. 10:17).

(b) The gospel refers to the gospel of Christ or the gospel of God or the gospel of the kingdom. These are all different labels for the gospel of grace. See entry for The Gospel.

(c) Believe. Like Jesus before them, the apostles preached for a verdict (Mark 1:15). We are to believe the gospel. Believing the good news about Jesus is both the work of God and his command (John 6:29, 1 John 3:23).

Acts 15:9

and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith.

Cleansing their hearts by faith. All of God’s blessings, including forgiveness, salvation, righteousness and sanctification, come to us freely by grace and are received by faith. Faith does not compel God to forgive us or sanctify us. But faith is the conduit through which grace flows. See entry for Eph. 2:8.

Acts 15:11

“But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.”

(a) Saved through the grace. We are not forgiven, saved, or made right on account of anything we have done (Rom. 11:6, 2 Tim: 1:9); we are saved because God loves us and out of the goodness he did what needed to be done to rescue us from our captivity to sin (Eph. 2:7). Salvation is entirely of God (Php. 1:28, Rev. 19:1). See entry for Salvation.

(b) In the same way, that is, by faith.

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