PAUL AND BARNABAS DEBATED ABOUT FAITH AND CIRCUMCISION
We are now going to continue to study the book of Acts. Our previous devotions in the book of Acts talked about Paul's first missionary journey. Paul and Barnabas went to Cyprus, Attalia and Perga in Pamphylia, Antioch in Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe, and back to Antioch in Syria. In this first missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas witnessed many Gentiles received the Holy Spirit by believing in the Lord Jesus alone. However, some Jewish believers in Jerusalem came to Antioch, Syria, and began to teach that Gentiles needed to be circumcised in addition to believing in the Lord Jesus to be saved. Paul and Barnabas disputed and debated with them that Gentiles should not need to be circumcised to be saved. As a result of this dispute, they decided to send Paul and Barnabas to the church in Jerusalem to resolve this issue. (Acts 15:1-5). First Missionary Journey map.
The reason some Jews believed that circumcision was needed for the Gentiles was that the Gentiles needed to follow the requirements of the Law that God gave to Moses. However, the Law of Circumcision was given to Israel's children, not Gentiles, who were non-Jews. As a result, Paul and Barnabas were against the circumcision of the Gentiles. Their faith in the Lord Jesus was enough. Paul and Barnabas saw how the Gentiles received the Holy Spirit by faith alone without circumcision. As believers, we are saved through our faith in our Lord Jesus alone. Our faith in the Lord Jesus is sufficient for our salvation because Jesus has done everything for us.
If we used to perform any religious rituals in our past religions to please God, we need to give those up because the only way to please our God is through our faith in Him and obeying what is written in the Bible. The reason God has given us the Bible is that the Bible teaches us who God is and His ways so that we can worship Him in Spirit and truth.
Ask yourself these questions for application: (Think through carefully and meditate on the questions while answering them, and let the Spirit of God speak to you) What must I do to be saved? Why is it that faith alone is sufficient for my salvation? Why is it that God has given me the Bible?
Write down all the worries you face today and lift them up to God.
Father in Heaven, thank you for saving me through faith alone in my Lord Jesus. Please help me to know you and your ways through your Word. Thank you that my salvation is not based on my performance but through faith alone. May you help me walk in your ways and give me the strength and wisdom to face any challenges I may face today. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.