November 13 I Tuesday
“No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” —Acts 15:11
On a December day in 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright, after numerous attempts to fly, finally succeeded. Ecstatic, they sent a telegram home to their sister Katharine, which said, “We have actually flown 852 feet. We’ll be home for Christmas.” Overjoyed, Katharine ran down to the local newspaper and pushed the telegram into the hands of the editor. After reading it, he smiled and said to Katharine, “How nice! The boys are going to be home for Christmas.” He had spectacularly missed the point! The fact that the Wright brothers had flown was the greatest news story of the twentieth century thus far, and he missed it.
There are countless people around the world who believe in Jesus and do their best to follow Jesus but have spectacularly missed the point of the Gospel. This is the kind of issue we read about in Acts 15, perhaps the most important chapter in Acts because it describes the spread, purity and power of the Gospel. The chapter tells of a council called in Jerusalem to discuss a teaching among some Jewish believers that, had it gained momentum, could have potentially infected the entire church of Jesus Christ and derailed the Gospel.
This teaching was: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1). Circumcision was the sign of the covenant that God made with Abraham, the father of the Jewish race. Every Jewish boy was circumcised at eight days old, and any male wanting to convert to Judaism also had to be circumcised. Based on these traditions, some Jewish believers were teaching that anyone wanting to become a Christian had to start at the beginning by becoming a Jew. They saw Jesus as not only the fulfillment of Judaism but an addition to it, arguing for Judaism plus Christ.
What these Jewish believers called the Gospel, Paul said in Galatians 1:7 was “really no gospel at all.” Their teaching was a perversion. Salvation is found in Christ alone; Jesus plus nothing. Believing this is the grounds of our certainty that we are saved. Some think salvation comes from Christ plus certain kinds of baptism, Christ plus a certain doctrine, Christ plus committed church attendance, but whatever we make an addition to Christ is in reality a subtraction from Him. To add something to Christ is to say He is deficient, and that addition will often become the distraction that makes us miss the point of the Gospel. The fullness of the Christian life is realized in Christ alone, for He needs no additions to be sufficient for our salvation.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, my hope is found in You alone. Thank
You for the Gospel—who You are and what You accomplished on the cross is all I need to have peace with You.