After Paul and Barnabas returned to Antioch, they reported to the church on what God had been doing in Asia, especially in the Gentiles coming to faith in Christ. While they were there, some men from Judea came to Antioch and wanted to add to the requirements of salvation saying that the Gentiles couldn’t really be saved if they did not follow the practice of circumcision that God gave to Moses. A debate ensued between Paul and these Judeans that ended with them sending Paul to Jerusalem for clarification. Jerusalem, at this time, was still the center of the Christian movement and the apostles and elders where there.
Paul brought his case to the Jerusalem Council. Given that Christianity has its roots in Jewish history and customs, it is understandable that the church had to grapple with this issue as it transitioned from Old Testament Covenant to the New Testament Covenant. After “much dispute,” Peter stood up and presented the Council with four truths:
- God had chosen him to proclaim the gospel to the Gentiles (10:1-43).
- The Gentiles had believed Peter’s message and placed their faith in Jesus
- When the Gentiles believed, they received the Holy Spirit (10:44-46).
- The pattern of Gentile conversion was the same as for Jewish believers. God was making no ethnic distinctions in the building of the church.
Peter told them that based on these four things, the believing Pharisees were testing God and putting a burden on the Gentile converts that which the Jewish fathers or the Jews of their day could bear. Since it is impossible to perfectly keep the law, Peter insisted that salvation is only through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ as a free gift – no strings attached. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by Me.” Rituals such as circumcision, baptism, partaking of the Lord’s Supper, or any good works cannot save anyone. It is only by placing our faith in God’s gracious sacrifice of Jesus that we become a Christian.
Salvation is only through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ as a free gift – no strings attached. (Eph 2:8-9, John 14:6) Rituals such as circumcision, baptism, Lord’s Supper or any good works cannot save anyone. — click to tweet
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God, Love and Marshmallow Wars: This book contains 365 daily challenges for couples to strengthen their relationships to each other and with God. Couples will complete activities such as Scripture memory, conversation starters, relationship builders, learning about Biblical marriage, romance builders, personal reflections, and date ideas. Click here to purchase your copy. (This link will open a new widow and take you to Westbow Press’ bookstore.) It is also available at Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobel
Looking for a speaker for your next ministry event? Julia is now booking for 2019 and 2020 Christian events for women’s and couples’ ministries for both small and large events.
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Julia is CEO of Wellspring Christian Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people and couples develop a passionate relationship with God. A public speaker, conference trainer, event planner, and blog writer, Julia is a two-time graduate from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor in Psychology and a masters in Professional Counseling. Saved as a child and raised in church and in a Christian home and private Christian School as a Pastor’s kid, Julia has taught Sunday school, led music, played the piano, served as Children’s Director, and engaged her gifts in many other areas of church life. Previously employed with the Florida Baptist Convention, Julia organized events and led conferences for church ministry assistants.
Julia enjoys sharing her journey as a growing Christian with others looking for a deeper connection with God. Through Bible study and her own life experiences, God has given Julia a passion to help couples understand God’s design for marriage while they learn to place God first in their marriage, cultivate meaningful relationships, build intimacy, and address the tougher issues that come in every marriage so that they can experience a marriage that honors and glorifies God. Julia also loves mentoring, teaching, and working with women to help them learn to live as Godly women.
With her history and experience growing up in both small and large churches, Julia enjoys bringing top level quality events to churches of all sizes. Her father largely pastored small churches and therefore she understands that these vital parts of the believing community need to be good stewards of the resources God provides them with. This knowledge inspires her passion for being available with a fresh perspective for those who want to provide their congregations with meaningful spiritual growth opportunities.