Salvation for All

“And God, who knows the human heart, testified to them by giving them theHoly Spirit, just as he did to us; and cleansing their hearts by faith he has made not distinction between them and us.” – Acts 15:8-9

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE READING: Acts 13-15, Psalm 132

I was once asked what it took for someone to get to heaven. The answer seemed rather simple — Jesus! That’s what I had learned and what I had always believed. In John 14:6, Jesus even says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” But little did I know it was not that easy of an answer for this particular individual.

He had gone to church and believed in Jesus, but he was told by some in his church that he was not a good person because of some bad habits in his life. He was scorned by some of the church leaders and not made to feel welcome at the church. He finally left the church ashamed of himself and had never been back to the church.

I was heartbroken for my friend, and I was angry with that church. But as I thought more about his situation, I started to realize that I have probably been like those church members who made him feel ashamed. Unfortunately, we can unintentionally get caught up in our faith being defined by what we do (or don’t do) instead of who we are. Jesus said he was the way, and there was no other way to heaven. Paul said to the Romans that those who profess their faith in Jesus will be saved (Romans 10:9). So why do we sometimes add additional criteria for salvation?

In Acts 15, when the Jews encountered the Gentiles who had heard the gospel and were part of the growing movement of Christianity, they were not happy because these Gentiles had not been circumcised. But Peter finally spoke up and reminded the Council at Jerusalem about where salvation comes. “Now therefore why are you putting God to the test by placing on the neck of thedisciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? On the contrary, we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will,” (Acts 15:10-11). Thanks be to God!

This Sunday, we are talking about the spread of the early Christian movement and the power of the Holy Spirit. I’m excited and I can’t way to be with you in worship this weekend beginning Sunday at 8:45 AM online and on campus at 9:30 and 11:00 AM!

Have a great weekend!