Summary: Paul and Barnabas did not share the view of the few Jews who believed that circumcision is necessary for the converts. They advocated and argued for Salvation through grace without circumcision. Read further to know the decision and its effect.
Acts 15:22-35 Jerusalem Council’s Decision Circulated
15:22-23 Trustworthy Convoys to Antioch
15:23-29 Four requirements from Converts
15:30-35 Ruling of James on Circulation
Acts 15:22-23 Trustworthy Convoys to Antioch.
The Apostles decided to communicate the decision of the Jerusalem council to the new converts. It has to be sent through trustworthy conveys. Then only it could be available for the converts from the Gentiles. Paul and Barnabas did not share the view of the few Jews who believed that circumcision is necessary for the converts. They advocated and argued for Salvation through grace without circumcision. The converts need not become a Jew first to become a Christian. Jews henceforth, while embracing the way of Christ, must come out of the circumcision. Therefore, the decision could not be sent through Paul and Barnabas to repose more faith by the Jewish converts. Hence, the elders could agree to send their trustworthy persons, named Judas and Silas, who were leaders on those days. It could help the Church at Antioch to implement without further complications. Also, it could way for all of them to receive and regard it. It is not that Paul and Barnabas are not trusted, but to bring a more balanced approach. So they sent the letter to the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia.
Acts 15:24-39 Four requirements from Converts
The first part of the letter mentions the authenticity of the letter. It also disowned the claims of the few men who had gone from Jerusalem and imposed their idea of circumcision before becoming a Christian. Apostle James called it a disturbing and troubling matter to the new converts and believers in Christ from other faiths. James acknowledged the commitment of Paul and Barnabas and appreciated their risked life for the Gospel. He called them his dear friends. The decision of the Council was the decision of the Holy Spirit.
The Church placed four requirements from the gentile converts. Such as 1. Be abstained from food offered to idols, 2. from eating blood, 3. Do not eat the meat of the strangled animals, and 4. Be away from sexual immorality. The four things talk about the non-compromise of spiritual values, moral values, and having healthy food habits based on the mosaic laws.
Acts 15:30-35 Ruling of James on Circulation.
The four of the convoys reached Antioch and delivered the letter. People read the letter and rejoiced over the decision of the Apostles and Elders of Jerusalem. Added to that, the Prophets Judas and Silas encouraged and strengthened the congregation with God’s word. After some time, Judas and Silas returned to Jerusalem and reported to the Apostles matters concerning Antioch and how they reacted to the decisions. But Paul and Barnabas stayed at Antioch and taught the congregation with the words of the Lord.
1. How do we communicate the decisions on controversial matters to the concerned person/group?
2. “True Christian cannot compromise the Gospel with cultural and moral values” Discuss this statement.
3. How to strengthen the new believers in the Church?
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