Gleanings – Yoke Easy, Burden Light

Acts 15:12-21

“Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God.”

So, James issues a resounding “no” to Jesus PLUS. Gentiles do not have to become Jews.

They should though avoid idols (elevating things above the Living God), food that is strangled (not drained of blood as when cut or slaughtered) and blood (itself) and, of course, unchastity (fornication). These, at least three of them look like concessions to Judaism or to those of the circumcision party. If so they would in a sense undermine James’ declaration. But these are universal laws given unto men prior to Moses and not what makes one a Jew or Mosaic laws. They stand outside rituals and of course must be observed by men in every age.

This is a profound teaching and one that needs to be revisited in every generation. For we so easily create rituals and rules. In and of themselves they are fine. And when embraced by others voluntarily they are fine. But when the church or pastors impose them upon the people of God we have both overstepped our authority and abandoned Gospel for law. For faith alone saves.

This is the first council of the church and when the entire enterprise of Christianity was saved. No to Jesus PLUS. Yes to Jesus!

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