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The Daily Word of Righteousness
From Moses to Christ, #4
Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. (Acts 15:19-21)
We are aware also of the Council that was held in Jerusalem to determine whether Gentiles should keep the Law. However, a study of the Epistles will reveal that the above passage, found in the Book of Acts, was in the nature of human adaptation to the change from Moses to Christ, and a reference to it was never carried forward in the Epistles.
Since the Epistles of the Apostles are the primary source of Christian instruction there would be some suggestion in them that Christian Jews were to experience one kind of redemption and Christian Gentiles another. Not only is such a suggestion not found, the opposite is clearly stated: the two are one new man, one Seed (singular) of Abraham.
It is obvious that Chapters Two through Five of the Book of Romans provide the basis for Paul's teaching of Divine grace. Paul's statements in these four chapters reveal he is addressing both Jews and Gentiles. There is no difference here in his admonitions; neither is there a difference in Paul's preaching and teaching in the Book of Acts. The record of the Book of Acts shows clearly that the Apostle Paul spoke the same message of salvation to both Jews and Gentiles. It is true and understandable that the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem could not conceive of a Divine salvation apart from the Law of Moses, and so questions arose concerning Gentile believers. But as fast as Paul was able he drew a clear line between Moses and Christ, making no difference between Jew and Gentile.
For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. (Galatians 2:12)
Paul is referring here to Peter's indecision concerning Gentiles (and this after the vision of the sheet let down from Heaven!) Can you see that the problem arose, not because God wanted the Christian Jews to be separate from the Christian Gentiles but because of fear—fear of the wrath of Jewish believers?
Paul was vehement concerning the error of bringing Christian believers back under the Law of Moses. This was especially true of Gentile believers but of necessity included Jewish believers since there is only one body of Christ.
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. (Galatians 1:6,7)
The Apostle Paul referred to any attempt to add Moses to the Christian salvation as "another gospel."
What passage of Scripture teaches there is more than one Kingdom of God, of Heaven? Some will say, the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven are two different kingdoms. But an examination of the parables that Matthew terms parables of the Kingdom of Heaven are referred to by the other writers as parables of the Kingdom of God.
To be continued.