In Acts 15 we see much of the grace of God in action, and grace is the condition or fact of being favoured, approved, accepted, esteemed, regarded, respected, preferred or liked by someone.
Luke 2:40 says, "And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him."
The Gentiles, too, were being converted, to everyone’s joy. However, some men who had been Pharisees before their conversion stood to their feet and declared that all Gentile converts must be circumcised and required them to follow all the Jewish customs and ceremonies.
Don’t expect everyone to understand the grace you have. Some can even try to take it away from you.
So Paul and Barnabas Barnabas, and certain other of them, had to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders to find out more on the matter, and a meeting was set to decide this question.
"And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith"
Acts 15:7 - 9.
- God made a choice for you, that you should also hear the word of the gospel, and believe.
- God, who knows the hearts, bared you witness, giving you also the Holy Ghost.
- God, purifies your heart by faith, doing so he puts no difference between us. "But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they." Acts 15:11.
"And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name." Acts 15:13-14.
My friend your salvation is an act of God and God alone. He took you out for his name. Peter says, "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy." 1 Peter 2:9-10
James continues to say, "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. 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." Acts 15:18-20
The bible says, "And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ...For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well." Acts 15:23,25-29
There was great joy throughout the church that day as they read the letter.
I said grace is a condition of being favoured, accepted, esteemed, regarded, respected and preferred by God and men. It is goodwill and consolation - no yoke to be placed on the neck of believers. James above said, "it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things..."
Before I conclude I would like to comment on the following; "And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches." Acts 15:40-41.
I said earlier, grace is goodwill, "being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God." It is commendation and support you obtain when you’re at the crossroads of your life. Ephesians 2:4-7 says, "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."
Simple Gospel Summation