“…why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved.” - Acts 15:10-11 From the early beginnings of the Church, the concept of grace was too radical and too freeing for some to accept.
Some leaders constantly attempted to control and subject the faithful with the burden of the law and legalism. Paul went so far as to call them “false brothers” (Galatians 2:4).
When Jesus died on the cross, the earth quaked, the sky darkened, and the thick veil of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
The tearing of the veil at Jesus’ death dramatically symbolized His sacrifice and the shedding of His own blood, as a sufficient sacrifice for our sins forever. The way into the Holy of Holies was now open to all people, for all time, both Jew and Gentile.
The Pharisees and legalists have tried over and over through the centuries to re-stitch the veil and block the way to the Holy of Holies. The early church leaders argued that in order to be saved, to be “right” one first had to become Jewish and adhere to the Law of Moses, including circumcision. The issues have changed over the years as man has contrived a thousand forms of legalism as the criteria for salvation.
Rituals, traditions, rules, and regulations try to bury grace.
Substitute circumcision with baptism, church attendance, church membership—or even the right haircut or clothing—and the debate will continue on. But in the end, the truth is,
“The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing” (John 6:63).
We are saved by grace.
“Grace is not sought nor bought nor wrought. It is a free gift of Almighty God to needy mankind.” —Billy Graham
[Photo: Matt Dalrymple, CreationSwap]