MONDAY, MARCH 14
5 But then some of the believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up and insisted, “The Gentile converts must be circumcised and required to follow the law of Moses.”
6 So the apostles and elders met together to resolve this issue.
Acts 15:5-6 (NLT)
FREE FROM RELIGION
Once a man died and went to the gates of heaven. As he was about to enter into heaven, Peter stood by the gates and refused to let him in. Peter said, “Tell me why I should let you into heaven. You list out your reasons. I will score you. And If you score 100 points, then I will let you in.” So the man begins to think and says; 1. I regularly came to church every Sunday – 2 points. 2. I gave my offerings and tithes – 3 points. 3. I participated in ministry – 2 points. 4. I shared about Jesus to two of my friends – 5 points. Oops.. still I am just at 12 points. He got frustrated and said, “At this rate, I can only enter by the grace of God.” Immediately, the gates of heaven were opened.
This is a silly story but the early church had Jewish leaders who wanted to impose the Old Testament system of keeping score in an effort to make Gentiles earn their way into heaven. The Jews wanted to require Gentiles to be circumcised for salvation. Warren Wiersbe gives us a great summary of the problem asking “What were these legalists actually doing and why were they so dangerous? They were attempting to mix Law and grace. They were saying, ‘A Gentile must first become a Jew before he can become a Christian!’ It is not sufficient for them simply to trust Jesus Christ. They must also obey Moses!” (Bible Exposition Commentary). That idea was rejected because it was not in accordance with the Word of God, which teaches that salvation is by grace alone.
Religion is man’s attempt to earn God’s approval. Christianity is God’s grace and mercy giving us salvation. Jesus came to set us free from religion. Examine carefully any teaching that asks you to do anything differently than what is in God’s Word.
Praise God for setting you free from the hopelessness of trying to earn your way to heaven. Ask God how He wants to use you to help others find freedom from religion.