Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Contradictions? -- part 1

The Word for today:
Acts 16:16-40
Back in chapter 15, there was great contention about circumcision:
Some men came from Judea to Antioch and started teaching the believers, "You cannot be saved unless you are circumcised as the Law of Moses requires."
Paul and Barnabas got into a fierce argument with them about this, so it was decided that Paul and Barnabas and some of the others in Antioch should go to Jerusalem and see the apostles and elders about this matter. (Acts 15:1-2)
In Antioch, it was decided by a council of church leaders that the Gentiles would not be required to maintain Jewish laws (such as circumcision). James, their spokesman, delivered their decision:
"We understand that some men from here have troubled you and upset you with their teaching, but they had no such instructions from us. The Holy Spirit has shown us that we should not place any extra burden on you." (Acts 15:24, 28)
So what, pray tell, is going on in Acts 16:3:
Paul wanted Timothy to travel with him, but all the Jews living in that area knew that Timothy's father was Greek. So Paul circumcised Timothy to please the Jews.
Is Paul now requiring faith and works (circumcision) for salvation? The answer is a definite NO!
Paul had Timothy circumcised so that it would not become an issue in Timothy’s ministry with the Jews. It had no bearing on Timothy's salvation.
There are fundamentals of the faith over which there can be no deviation. However, there are various forms and rituals (baptism is an example) which are not essential to salvation and where there is a great deal of flexibility.
A good Bible-teaching church -- which teaches salvation only through faith in Jesus Christ, and provides opportunity to serve and to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth -- is as good as it gets, no matter their forms and traditions of worship.

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