Re:Verse reading–Acts 15:1-29 (day six)
The stakes were incredibly high. For some Jewish believers it may had more to do with self-preservation than salvation (gentile believers would soon outnumber them). But for Paul the stakes couldn’t have been higher; the very salvation of humanity depended on the church elders in Jerusalem getting this decision right. For Paul it was simple, you cannot hold on to Jesus, if you are clinging to something else, i.e. circumcision or the Law. Telling gentiles that they must be circumcised in addition to believing in Jesus to be saved is like insisting someone carry an anvil while hoping to stay afloat wearing a life vest. The anvil is not meant to be a life saving device, nor the Law of Moses or wearing a nice tie on Sunday. This why Paul would declare to the Galatians, “If anyone teaches you a different Gospel than the one I taught you, let him be accursed.”
The stakes are still high. What obstacles are in the way of saving faith today? What kind of gospel do we articulate to those who are not like us? Maybe one of those obstacles is our silence.
One thought on “High Stakes”
Human nature tends to lean toward self-preservation when circumstances are unfamiliar or when there is no clear direction. If given opportunity to have the old and the new ritual, people with a self-preservation mindset will keep both. They don’t want to take risk of losing the old ritual which they are familiar with and are acceptable in their culture.
I would give Paul credit for knowing something about human nature. Faith is all needed for holding on to Jesus, not circumcision, not the Law of Moses. Faith in the Lord or human nature’s self-preservation. I totally agreed that we just cannot have both! We are forced to make a choice!! And I know it is very hard to do for non-believers or for potential followers of Jesus Christ. Great blog on human nature!