I have read many of the laws the Israelites were commanded to follow over the past few days of this plan. The many laws and rituals involve sacrifices, clothing, vows; the list goes on and on. However, these laws become a subject of debate in Acts 15. Men from Judea got into a argument with Paul and Barnabas as to whether the new Gentile Christians had to follow the law of Moses.
The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.” Acts 15:6-11 ESV
It is faith in Christ, not the works I do, that will get me to heaven. The law of Moses debate was an important time for the early Church, who were just starting to accept Gentiles. However, the gospel message is for all and Peter knew that. The laws I have read in Leviticus and Numbers are like a crushing weight; they are impossible to fulfill fully and perfectly. That is the very reason Jesus came to die.
“For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these you will do well. Farewell.” Acts 15:28-29 ESV
However, my new life in Christ does not give me the freedom to keep on sinning; instead it should push me to move closer to God and His commandments. Although I do not have to follow the traditional laws and rituals of Moses, I still need to follow God’s commands in my life. However, I will fail sometimes and nobody if perfect except for the LORD. Instead of sacrificing an animal whenever I sin, the perfect Lamb who pays for all my sins has already been sacrificed and is interceding on my behalf before God. Though I may be a great sinner, Christ is a great Savior and His blood paid for all my sins and fulfilled the law forever.
Dear God, Thank You for sending Christ. Please help me to follow Your words and commands as I know it pleases You. Thank You for Your grace and forgiveness for the times when I fail. Please help me to never loss sight of how precious a gift Your Sacrifice is. In Your Holy Name, Amen.