Acts Chapter Fifteen part 3, A study of Acts 15:19 - 21, Acts 15:22, Acts 15:23 - 27, and Acts 15:28 & 29 featuring our Common Man's Commentary

Acts 15:19 - 21

"'It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.'" NIV translation

James now gives the council his judgment which is a list of rules for the Gentiles to follow. The rules are all in line with scripture and it is good to stay away from the things on the list. But, the question that was brought before the council was what must the Gentiles do to be saved. Therefore, this list of rules does not fit in with the grace of God. Once you begin to add any conditions to grace (which is unmerited favor) then it stops being grace.

Acts 15:22

"Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers." NIV translation

The "church" in Jerusalem now chose men to deliver this ruling to the believers in Antioch.

Acts 15:23 - 27

"With them they sent the following letter: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: Greetings. We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul- men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing." NIV translation

The result of this council is a letter to the groups of believers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. The leaders in Jerusalem also sent Judas and Silas to confirm what the letter stated.

Acts 15:28 & 29

"It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell." NIV translation

Now, the letter gives the instructions to the believers. It is good to avoid all of the things listed but this letter can cause some confusion. You see, the controversy was over what one must do to be saved and the simple answer to that is to accept Jesus Christ as the Lord of your life. The ruling from this council can lead people to believe that other actions can have a bearing on your salvation. Once you accept Christ and have the Holy Spirit living in you, then you will not want to have a part in the things that are listed.

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