Acts15 Is A “Sharp Rebuke” From All Of The Apostles


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By Edward O’Hara

All of the apostles taught that any message that says men are saved by trusting in works for righteousness, even Jesus’ works, is to be “sharply rebuked”. And in Acts 15 the apostles did just that.

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Yet so many have fallen for the work’s message that is the doctrine of original sin. Trust in the strength of man’s arm for righteousness. And not in the grace of God. Grace that was His love shown when He joined with men in our death. Not by works of the law. So that because of the resurrection we can join with Him in eternal life. A salvation that is truly by grace through faith without works of any kind. 

Titus1 says the believer needs to avoid these Jewish fables. Fables I sometimes refer to as Judaism for Gentiles. Fables that teach the need for circumcision and keeping the law of Moses for salvation. Titus1:9-14 says, “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.

One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.

This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.”

These are pretty harsh-sounding words from Paul. But, necessary as they address an issue that is paramount in our salvation. The fact that any message that makes one believe that works play a role in our righteousness for salvation, no matter who we believe has done them, is a message that subverts men from the truth. 

In Acts15 we see dissension and disputation that gives a detailed explanation of these Jewish fables Paul referred to in Titus1. And just how contrary they are to the faith once delivered to the saints. 

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The chapter begins by saying there were those who resisted Paul’s teaching who believed that Christians needed to practice circumcision after the manner of Moses. These are the Jewish fables Paul told Titus to sharply rebuke so that they may be sound in the faith. Because Paul’s gospel teaches that men are saved by grace through faith without works.

And while Moses’ circumcision came from the promise God gave to Abraham. And was not part of the law given by God to Moses. So it was the seal of that promise in Abraham’s flesh that expressed his salvation by grace through faith before there was any law. That in Gal.3:17 Paul says could not be made void by the law that came through Moses 430 years after the promise was given to Abraham. A promise that was sealed by circumcision. Then of the flesh. But, now of the heart. As Paul explains in Rom.2:29.

As we read through Acts15 we see a very sharp disagreement between the apostles and some that believed because some were teaching a works salvation. Some mentioned in vs.1-5 believed that works were necessary for salvation. Specifically works of circumcision and keeping the law of Moses. While in vs.24 we see the apostles said they never taught them any such thing. 

So these were rebuked sharply in vs.2, 7-11, and 24 for teaching Gentiles that they must keep the law and be circumcised. The apostles even sent men with Paul and Barnabas to confirmed to them that all of the apostles were in complete agreement on this. Saying that to teach men they must be circumcised and keep the law of Moses is to subvert their souls. 

Yet in most churches today we find a doctrine that says our righteousness is because we trust in Jesus’ perfect law-keeping being imputed to us. This comes through the teaching of the false doctrine of original sin. Teaching that if He hadn’t kept the law perfectly He could not have been the spotless lamb of God the Bible says He is. These have made works necessary for salvation just as those the apostles rebuked. These reject the teaching of the apostles in Acts15. And instead find themselves agreeing with those who the apostles sharply rebuked. 

The Truth About Acts 15 - Yahweh's Restoration Ministry

Don’t let yourself be a part of those who the apostles sharply rebuke. Trust in the grace of God that saves without works. And instead of being rebuked. You will be a part of God’s eternal family. 

See you there or in the air!

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  1. Edward O'Hara on March 27, 2021 at 4:56 pm

    Stuart, since your teaching came from a seminary(cemetery) your foundation comes from Augustine. No wonder you are such a legalist. Augustine, the doctor of theology for most seminaries and the harlot Roman Catholic catechism, taught an excuse for sin called the doctrine of original sin and the necessity of sin. Not deliverance from sin. You believe it because you were taught a lie called “systematic theology”. Where you are placed on the same path Augustine took and arrive at your conclusions through assumption and speculation just as he did. You do not believe the plain language of the Bible.

    The best thing for you to do is to throw out pretty much everything you learned in the cemetery. And start from scratch believing what the Bible plainly says. Maybe I can show you just how worthless your cemetery education is starting with this very simple question- Why did God say He sent Adam from the garden?

  2. Stuart on March 26, 2021 at 4:12 pm

    Be careful with your words.
    If you suppose it was not a Nazarite vow then explain what was it? Why did Paul cut his hair? Where in all of the NT commands is the cutting of one’s hair referred to? The answer is nowhere! The only place is in the OT concerning the undertaking of a Nazarite vow which does involve cutting one’s hair. So I’m exegeting the scriptures just as it’s read in the Bible. Your belief forces you ignore the plain meaning of the text which amounts to eisegesis on your part. Paul’s actions clearly contradict your held doctrine but you would rather ignore what he did and pretend that it does not amount to anything in order to cling to your belief. In doing so you ignore the hermeneutical principle that all Scripture must be reconciled with your doctrine and not just the ones that happen to conveniently fit with what you believe.

    And since you refer to liberty, perhaps you may want to try contemplating James 2:12 which reads: “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom,” Did you catch that? You and I are going to be JUDGED BY THE LAW that gives FREEDOM. Apparently, James thought the law still applied didn’t he? He plainly wrote that the law gives FREEDOM to the believer; not death as you unscripturally claim. That’s because the law sets us free when we obey it, enabled not by the flesh but by the grace which God supplies to all who believe in Him. That should not be hard to understand but apparently it is for you.

    • Edward O'Hara on March 26, 2021 at 10:13 pm

      Your assumption and conjecture is not exegesis. Exegesis is believing what the scripture says. Eisegesis is making the scripture say what you want it to. Like I told you, I believe what is written in the scriptures. Not what is not written there. While you believe whatever you want to and then make the scriptures mean that. There is no scripture that says Paul made a Nazarite vow.
      And it is the law of the spirit of life that is in Christ that gives liberty. Not the law of Moses. This is what Paul said in 2Cor.3:17- “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

      The end of this matter is this. You seek freedom in bondage to the law. Paul says you will only be free to be joined with Christ when the law is dead.Rom.7:1-4
      You seek eternal life through law keeping. Paul says there has never been a law given that could give life.Gal.3:21
      You seek a relationship with God through obedience to the law. Paul says by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.Gal.2:16

      You are as lost as a man can be. Because there is no one more lost than those who trust in works for righteousness. They are the epitome of Paul’s admonition in rom.7:21-25
      “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
      For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
      But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
      O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
      I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”

      But, the deliverance of Rom.8:1-3 awaits you if you will be joined with Christ by letting the law be dead-
      “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh(works of the law), but after the Spirit(faith).
      For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus(faith) hath made me free from the law of sin and death(works).
      For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh(works can not save you), God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh”(making salvation by grace through faith without works)

      I pray God will open your eyes. But, you must humble yourself before Him for that to happen. Because God resists the proud but gives more grace to te humble. I can show it to you. But, I can’t believe it for you. As it is you are at this point in time of all men most to be pitied.

      • Stuart on March 26, 2021 at 11:58 pm

        Too bad you can’t explain why Paul took a vow by cutting his hair. I explained it to you but you simply ignored it and fail to even offer an alternative explanation. Silence is not golden in your case as that’s certainly your choice but it makes for a totally weak argument. Believe as you will.; just don’t teach it to others as you will be judged, as will I.

        • Edward O'Hara on March 27, 2021 at 12:55 am

          No one can explain it without assuming something the Bible never says. Faith based on assumption and conjecture and very poor eisegesuis is for those who reside in the kingdom of the cults. All the plain language the apostles use shows the law is dead to the Christian. Yet because of your assumptions it is very much alive to you. Making you an “adulteress” and “wretch” who can not be joined to Christ. Also making the apostles walking contradictions.

          I have nothing but love for you. But, not even all the love that God has for you can save you if you won’t believe Him. It’s really sad that you are happy with the ministration of death. When the Spirit of life that alone gives the liberty of eternal life is the gift God wants you to have that alone can save you. But, because it requires a humility before God you can’t have it. He resists the proud, Stuart. Humility is believing what God says. Not what He does not say.

          The scripture says plainly the law, was abolished(Eph.2:15 and 2Cor.3:13, taken away(Heb.10:9), is dead works(Heb.9:14), can not give life(Gal.3:21), was until faith came(Gal.3:25), is no lo9nger a schoolmaster((Gal.3:25), subverts men’s souls(Acts15:24), has been changed(Heb.7:12), and must be dead for men to be joined with Christ(Rom.7:1-4). And on and on and on…..

          Please reconsider how you study the Bible. Stop believing your legalist teachers. Begin believing what the Bible plainly says. Stop believing what is not said like what vow Paul was referring to. Stop assuming anything and let what it says be what you believe. Only then will you begin to know the truth that sets men free. Without doing this you never will.

          • Stuart on March 27, 2021 at 3:06 pm

            Just FYI, my “legalist teachers” were my seminary professors so I think I have a pretty solid foundation on how to exegete the scriptures for myself.

            I’ve asked you repeatedly to explain what type of vow Paul took when he cut his hair but you refused to offer an explanation of your own. I opined that it was a Nazarite vow. You offered no explanation at all. When you refuse to address a matter of contention, your belief becomes problematic for me as you offer no response of your own. Your doctrinal belief should be able to withstand all objections to it instead of avoiding them. Since you don’t offer a counter explanation, I have no reason to reject my explanation of what that vow was. Paul and the other apostles’ actions were guided by what they believed to be true, as their actions were “the proof is in the pudding” so to speak. Thus it is prudent to not only read what they wrote, but to also observe what they did. Paul’s action of taking a (Nazarite) vow demonstrated that he still held to the law and taught it accordingly in his epistles.

            There’s a hermeneutical principle that guides the interpretation of this subject and generally all subjects regarding Scripture for that matter – known as the Principle of First Mention. This law of scriptural interpretation basically states that in order to understand a particular word or doctrine, we must find the first place in Scripture that word or doctrine is revealed and study that passage. The reasoning is that the Bible’s first mention of a concept is the simplest and clearest presentation; doctrines are then more fully developed on that foundation. That is why Paul’s writings on the law must be consistent with what Jesus first taught – which would make sense since Paul would not write anything in contradiction to what Jesus taught. Thus all of Paul’s writings referencing the law have to be interpreted in light of the law not being abolished as Jesus first mentioned.

            The first place that states whether the law was abolished or not, occurs in Matt 5:17 where Jesus in his sermon on the mount stated that he did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.” Fulfill means to make full – not abolish. So for example Jesus made full the law on adultery, which used to only forbid the physical act of committing adultery but under the new covenant, now also includes the act of lusting with one’s eyes. Has the old law regarding adultery been abolished? Of course not. We refrain from physically committing adultery but we now also refrain from committing adultery with our eyes/heart as well. And that is precisely why Jesus is the fulfillment of the law – both in letter and spirit of the law. That is why we don’t neglect the letter of the law but we actually fulfill it when we abide by the spirit of the law which gives freedom (James 2:12). If we only focus on the letter of the law, it kills but the Spirit gives life (2nd Cor 3:6). Your view in my opinion “throws the baby out with the bath water” whereas my view “accommodates the baby as well as the bath water.”

            Your view has not changed and neither has mine so at this point we agree to disagree and I’ll end here. Thanks for the discussion Edward.

  3. Edward O'Hara on March 26, 2021 at 12:24 pm

    Yes, no Nazarite vow. The scriptures do not say what the vow was. You read into it what your pre conceived ideas about law keeping tell you to. I let the scriptures mean what they say. You practice eisegesis. I practice exegesis.

    And there is no relation to the law of Moses given in the Acts21 passage you quoted. It simply says keep the law. Just as Rom.13 says. If it were as you say then it would contradict what all of the apostles concluded by letter and witnesses in Acts15. And all that Paul taught in all of his epistles. Especially the liberty you refer to but have no concept of found in 2Cor.3. Which liberty is only found by those who have been set free from the “ministration of death written on stones” that you cling to. By the spirit of life that is in Christ Jesus that you have not known.

    From all that you have written here it is very apparent that you have yet to come to a saving faith in Jesus. You have a form of godliness but deny it’s power. Because you have given the law lordship over you. You have admitted that the law, and not the Spirit, leads and guides you as a tutor in your perversion of the truth. Just as it did those adulteresses in Rom.7 who remained married to the first husband while attempting to join themselves to another. So as it was for them so it is for you. By this you are therefore the wretched man Paul speaks of in v.24,25. Still in need of the deliverance from the law to be joined with Christ. There is liberty in Christ. There is only death under the law. Paul attests to this in Rom.6:23 saying- “For the wages of sin is death(OT) but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus(NT).”

    “I marvel Stuart that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
    Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
    But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
    As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed…..
    Oh foolish Stuart who has bewitched you? Having begun in the Spirit are you now made perfect by the flesh?”

  4. stuart on March 25, 2021 at 3:19 pm

    Since you don’t disagree with Paul, then can you explain why he took a Nazarite vow? Since Paul can be considered the epitome of what it means to be a Christian, why would he revert back to the law – if the law is indeed dead as you claim?

    Acts 15 was specifically about circumcision – an aspect of the law brought to the table for discussion. The Jerusalem council stated that undergoing circumcision was not necessary to become saved. However, they listed 4 aspects of the law that were necessary for Gentiles to recognize, in order to become saved. This is akin to recognizing the sins we’ve committed up until the moment we were saved, and repented of them when we first trusted in Jesus for forgiveness and salvation. Learning to recognize sin in order to repent of it is requisite and that is why the law is still requisite.

    You cite Titus which refers to “those of the circumcision” to support your view but the point in Titus is that that group was condemned as they believed in circumcision as a requirement in order to be saved. James plainly stated the circumcision is not a requirement to be saved BUT in Acts 15:21 as the Gentiles begin to learn more about the law as they attend synagogue every Sabbath, they will also learn more about circumcision. The law of itself saves no one but is given to tutor people as to what sin is. Thus the law cannot fail to exist anymore as you have consistently claimed because if that were the case, there would be no such thing as sin. The law defines what is sin in our lives – according to God’s standards. So no law = no sin = no repentance = no need for the cross. That should be obvious. Law and grace are not opposed to one another. Grace enables the believer to obey the law – something that was not obtainable under the old covenant due to the weakness of the flesh. You have failed to deal and wrestle with the Greek text regarding the Sabbath or in your mind, “the first day of the week.” Omitting scripture, inconvenient for our belief does not make for the formulation of sound doctrine.

    In summary, the basis for your argument is that the law is dead; a relic of the old covenant, which no longer has any relevance or application to believers who now live under the new covenant. That view is scripturally unsustainable in light of the fact that the law is reinstituted during the millennial age, when Jesus returns at his 2nd Coming and rules on the earth for 1,000 years. Sabbath observance, including animal sacrifice in the temple again takes place. That fact alone negates your view that the law is dead. You’re capable of researching that if you’re so inclined. At this point, we are going around in circles so the value of our discussion has waned in my opinion. Thank you for the discussion but it appears that at this point we can only agree to disagree.

    • Edward O'Hara on March 25, 2021 at 4:43 pm

      Now it is you that is not reading what I wrote to you. I said Paul did not take a Nazarite vow. The scripture never says he did.
      You are reading that into the scriptures. This is why you can not understand the Bible. Because your pre conceived ideas take precedence over what the Bible plainly says.

      You wrote- “Acts15 was specifically about circumcision”. But, the scripture in Acts15 plainly says- “But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.” You must combine the two as if they are one and the same because what the scripture plainly says does not fit with your pre conceived beliefs about law keeping. Earlier you accused me of eisegesis when reading the scriptures. Yet this shows it is you that is reading into the scriptures what it means. Instead of believing what they plainly say.

      Again, Gentiles that attended synagogue were not Christians. They were there because they converted to Judaism. Not Christianity. This is why Paul went to the synagogue to preach the grace of Christ to them so they could be saved.

      The law is not a tutor. That is a direct contradiction to what Paul taught. Paul says in Gal.3:23-26 that the law is no longer a tutor(schoolmaster) for Israel because they are now in Christ and have the Holy Spirit to lead them in the truth. “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
      Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
      But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
      For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
      This shows clearly that it is you that disagrees with Paul’s gospel. And have fallen into the snare of the devil to work your way to God as those Paul warned in Rom.7.

      The millennial age is the kingdom God promised to Israel under the law. This is not the millennial age. We live now in the dispensation of the grace of God. A time when Paul says “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
      Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” 2Cor.5:19,20.

      As Christ’s ambassadors Paul tells us we are to be bringing this message to the world. What message? That God WAS in Christ at the cross and in this age no longer imputes trespasses to anyone. This does not mean all men are saved. Forgiveness of sins does not equate to eternal life. Knowing Him does. This means that imputed sin no longer stands in the way of men having a relationship with God as it did under the law. The only thing now in the way of a relationship with God is when we will not believe in Him. John16:9.

      You have rejected Paul’s gospel. And replaced it with Judaism for Gentiles. Similar to a Hebrew Roots cult belief. Salvation by works that leads to death. Because Paul said the law is the “ministration of death”. And the “ministration of condemnation”. 2Cor.3:7-9
      “But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:
      How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?
      For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.”

      If you can’t see from these that to be joined with Christ the law must be dead to you as Paul plainly said in Rom.7:1-4 then it is because you have been blinded as those Paul spoke of in 2Cor.3:14-17 saying- “But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.
      But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.
      Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.

      Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
      I will never agree to disagree on this issue. Because it is this issue that determines salvation. I will fight for the souls of them that have been taken captive by the devil in believing the law is for the righteous. 1Tim.1:9 says otherwise.


      • Stuart on March 26, 2021 at 12:16 am

        No Nazarite vow? Apparently, you didn’t even bother to search the scriptures for if you did perform your due diligence you would have come across Acts 18:18:
        So Paul still remained a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him. He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, FOR HE HAD TAKEN A VOW.
        Act 21:17 And when we had come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly.
        Act 21:18 On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present.
        Act 21:19 When he had greeted them, he told in detail those things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry.
        Act 21:20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord. And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law;
        Act 21:22 What then? The assembly [of brethren] must certainly meet, for they will hear that you have come.
        Act 21:23 Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow.
        Act 21:24 Take them and be purified with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads, and that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, BUT THAT YOU YOURSELF ALSO WALK ORDERLY AND KEEP THE LAW.
        Acts 21:26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day, having been purified with them, entered the temple to announce the [g]expiration of the days of purification, at which time an offering should be made for each one of them.


  5. Edward O'Hara on March 23, 2021 at 9:32 am

    Stuart, To address particularly the point you made about Jesus’ statement in Mt.5:17,18 it is important to note that Jesus said when either “heaven and earth pass away”, or “till all is fulfilled” the law would pass. So the question you need to ask yourself is, do you believe Jesus accomplished all that He said He came to do? The obvious answer is yes He most certainly did. Which according to Jesus’ teaching means the law has passed.

    Paul confirms this in Gal.3:19 by giving both the purpose of, and expiration date, for the law. The purpose being to address transgression. And the expiration date being “till the seed should come to whom the promise was made”. And because the seed has come to whom the promise was made, and Jesus fulfilled the law, the requirements for the law’s passing have been met. This is why Heb.10:9 says “He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.”
    “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.”
    “Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.
    For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
    For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
    For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.”
    “By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.”

    This is why Hebrews taught that Jesus is “the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.” And now that He has come those who would remain under the Old Covenant by continuing in it’s demands have done what Heb.6 describes as “crucifying the Son of God afresh”. And what Paul describes in Rom.7:1-4 as being an adulteress by joining one’s self with another while the first husband still lives. The only remedy for which Paul says is to be set free from the law of sin and death by the Spirit of life that is in Christ Jesus. Rom.8:2
    I pray this is a blessing to you.

    • stuart on March 23, 2021 at 3:31 pm

      If what the apostles taught according to you were consistent with their actions, I would have little to disagree with you. However, for that reason I believe your view remains problematic in my opinion. I pointed out that the apostles kept the law after Jesus’ death so if the law is no longer applicable as you claim, then why did the apostles keep the law? Why did Paul undertake a Nazarite vow? Why did Peter continue to not eat unclean foods? Why did Jews who converted to Christianity remain zealous for the law (Acts 21:20)? If the law was not required of the Gentiles, then why did the Jerusalem council require as a minimum that they keep 4 aspects of the law? Why did Timothy get circumcised? You’ve not yet accounted for these discrepancies with your view of the law. In order to form one’s doctrine all scripture must be reconciled and accounted for.

      Would it not be ludicrous if the apostles lived their lives one way and taught the Gentiles another way? Why did the Gentiles gather at the synagogues on every Sabbath as described in Acts 15:21? If you assume the new covenant frees the church from the law. read Acts 13:42-44 as it is particularly instructive in this regard.
      42 As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 43 And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.
      44 The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.
      Note that they were converts to Judaism. Apparently, Paul and Barnabas approved as they urged them to continue in the grace of God. How can that possibly be? This is demonstrable proof that a new religion was not introduced by Jesus and the apostles based upon the new covenant but instead the new was built upon the foundation of the old with the ADDITION OF GRACE. The covenant of grace makes for a better covenant as grace enables us to keep the law which was not possible under the old, as it was weakened by the flesh (Rom 8:3). Lastly, what do you suppose the “word of the Lord” refers to in v.44? Wasn’t the law of Moses preached in every synagogue on every Sabbath? Also, remember that the new testament canon was not yet codified so what was preached was the Mosaic law and the prophets – which the whole city was eager to hear. Your view diminishes the role of the law. This passage magnifies it.

      • Edward O'Hara on March 23, 2021 at 6:55 pm

        Stuart, there are no scriptures that proclaim the apostles continued to keep the law as a practice. After showing you what the apostles agreed upon in Acts15 and the proclamations in Hebrews and elsewhere it is hard to believe why you would hold to your position. The church was encouraged to meet on the Lord’s day. Not Saturday. They were told to eschew circumcision and the keeping of the law of Moses. They were told to be dead to the law. They were told they were not under law but under grace. They were told we have a better covenant with better promises. They were told that Jesus took away the first to establish the second. Etc, etc, etc….

        Acts15:21 does not refer to Gentiles. It is a reference to the Jewish custom of sabbath. It is because of this custom that Paul went to the synagogue to preach the grace of God. Not the law. They went to synagogue just to preach the grace of God because that’s where Jews and those converted to Judaism met. Acts18 shows the reception Paul sometimes was met with at those synagogues and his response.
        “And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean; from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.”

        The New Testament church met on the first day of the week as these scriptures plainly show.
        Acts20:7 “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.
        1Cor.16:1,2 “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”
        Recognition of the sabbath on the 7th day of the week was shown to be relegated to Old Testament in Heb.3,4. Where in 3:18,19 we see that God swore “they should not enter into his rest” except by believing in Jesus. And in 4:3 it specifically says that those who have believed in Jesus have entered into His rest. Not those who observe the 7th day sabbath. Adding “For if Joshua had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” This rest is in Christ. Not the 7th day sabbath.

        The apostles all knew this. So they did not encourage believers keep 7th day sabbath. They knew and taught that the New Covenant believer is not under law but under grace. They were dead to the law so they could be joined with Christ just as Paul said in Rom.7:1-4. They were not adulteresses as those Paul says here. They trusted in Christ and Him alone for justification and every day living. Walking in the love of God, not the law of Moses.

        In Rom.14 Paul even referred to those who had believed in Jesus but might continue in sabbath keeping and practices associated with Jewish food laws as “weak in the faith”. Paul saying plainly- “I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.” And in 1Cor.6 speaking of meats sacrificed to idols saying- “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
        Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.”

        I can’t imagine anyone wanting to be weak in the faith by continuing after the flesh. But, as for me I will believe Paul’s gospel growing from faith to faith and glory to glory in the strength and admonition of the Lord. A workman approved of God who rightly divides the word of truth.

        • stuart on March 24, 2021 at 7:50 pm

          Edward, I have one question after all of this. Respectfully, did you look up what I wrote?
          Did Paul take a Nazarite vow? Yes or no? Did Timothy get circumcised? Did Peter start eating unclean foods after his dream? Did the Jews after becoming saved, remain zealous for the law in Acts 21:20? Yes or no? Why did the Gentiles convert to Judaism as it plainly states in Act 13:43? Your blanket statement in the negative requires further explanation as it contradicts what these texts plainly state. Can you explain why? As I wrote earlier, until you reconcile passages such as these with your doctrine, it is not sustainable in my opinion.

          As for the “first day of the week,” I suggest you examine the Greek text instead of exclusively relying on the English translation. In Acts 20:7, the text reads: en de ho heis ho sabbatōn, which literally reads “on the one the Sabbaths” as sabbatōn is the Greek word in plural for Sabbath. Thus it cannot be claimed that the church met on Sunday, the first day of the week as this verse states that the church met on one of the Sabbaths. Same thing with 1 Cor 16:2 which reads: kata mian sabbatou translated as “on/every first Sabbath” as sabbatou is the singular for Sabbath.

          You have erred in eisegeting Rom 14 as no where in this chapter is the Sabbath mentioned. Instead, it refers to only eating vegetables or not only eating vegetables; vegetarian or not vegetarian in v.2. Vs.5-6 refers to fasting days – not Sabbath days. Your contention regarding Rom 14:14 is not supported by the Greek language. The Greek word for “unclean” in v.14 is “koinos”. This word means “ordinary” and is usually translated “common,” or means something that has been made or designated unclean that is not in and of itself normally unclean – such as wine which is common and not unclean – unless offered to an idol. Offering wine to an idol makes it koinos. This word is distinctly different the Greek word “akathartos” which does mean unclean and forbidden as specified in the Torah’s dietary law. Thus Paul is not referring to akathatos/unclean foods such as pork, shrimp, clams, etc. which are prohibited in the law.
          You have proof-texted 1 Cor 6. Is adultery, stealing, lying, fornication lawful for Paul? Of course not. ALL things are not lawful because SOME things are indeed unlawful. How can you claim that all things are lawful, when in vs.9-10 Paul cites a whole list of sins that are unlawful?

          Your have erred in believing that the law is dead as no where in all of Scripture is that stated. Instead as you pointed out “They were dead to the law so they could be joined with Christ just as Paul said in Rom.7:1-4.” You fail to reckon just a few verses later that the law is holy, just and good in Rom 7:12. So since the law is holy – how can it be dead? The law is not dead. Rather, WE BECOME DEAD to the law as the law defines what sin is. Therefore, we become dead to sin as we obey the law. In Gal 2:19 Paul stated ” “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.” Paul stated that he died – not that the law died. Paul died to the law – so that he might live for God – so he “could be joined with Christ” using your exact, same words. That about sums it up. Do you disagree with Paul?

          • Edward O'Hara on March 25, 2021 at 12:54 am

            I must say you asked far more than one question. Yes, I looked up the things you wrote to me.
            1. No

            2. Yes

            3. The Bible doesn’t say one way or the other. However the vision was not about eating unclean foods. It was about ministering the gospel to Gentiles. Also remember Paul withstood Peter to his face regarding his veering from the truth about circumcision too.

            4. Some did as Acts15:1,2 shows. But the apostles sharply rebuked them for it in Acts15:7-9,24 and Titus1:9-14

            5. Gentiles had been converting to Judaism since Old Testament times. Paul went to synagogue to preach the grace of God to them so they would get saved.

            6. What is not sustainable is your opinion that contradicts the plain language of the many scriptures I have provided throughout this conversation. You can’t have both that men must keep the law and the law be dead to them at the same time.

            7. The first day of the week is what the scripture says. Putting whatever spin you want to on it won’t change that. Law keepers are not Christians. And Christians are not law keepers. Christians love as God does with not a single thought given to what the law says. Why? Because the Christian’s conscience has been purged from dead works. What Isaiah referred to as “filthy rags”. This is why Heb.3 and 4 say God’s rest is faith in Jesus. Not the observance of rest on the 7th day.

            8. Rom.14 refers to sabbath in that those who like you esteem one day above another. Some also thinking they must keep Jewish dietary laws. Paul says in this chapter that at best they are the weaker brother. While at worst they are the adulteress of Rom.7:1-4.

            9. 1Cor.6 makes it clear that all things are lawful for the believer. This includes every horrible thing you can imagine. But, Paul makes a proviso saying that even though all things are lawful for him he will not be placed under the power of any. So he does not do those things because he will not allow them to have power over him. Not because he would go to hell for doing them because it violates a law that also no longer has power over him. The Christian does not focus on works. He focuses on Jesus.

            10. Rom.7:1-4 actually says the woman’s husband must be dead for her to be free to marry another. In the analogy the husband is representative of the law. So yes, the scripture plainly says the law is dead for “those who know the law”, Israel, if they are to be joined with Christ. Which at the same time vs.4 means the woman is dead to her husband as far as the Jewish law of marriage is concerned. He has no more say in her life where marriage is concerned. And she also has no more say in his life as far as marriage is concerned.

            11. The fact that the law is holy, just, and good does not mean it can save or keep saved. This is why the law must pass for a man to be joined with Christ. Because even though the law is holy, just, and good it can not save anyone. It was never meant to as Paul plainly states in Gal.3:21- “Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.” So here we see that neither life nor righteousness can be attained through the keeping of the law. Because righteousness for eternal life is by the faith of Christ. Not by the works of the law. Gal.2:16.

            12. Obedience to the law gives sin power over you. This is what Paul said in Rom.6:14 and 1Cor.15:56. Because when you think in terms of works you are not saved by grace. Works and grace can not be mixed. They are mutually exclusive. All of Paul’s teaching is based on this principle. “…But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”Rom.4:1-5

            13. I do not disagree with Paul. You do. And as long as you do you can not be joined to Christ.

            While you yet think in terms of law keeping you are not in the grace of God. Because only where there is no law is there no transgression(Rom.4:15). Because sin is not imputed only when there is no law(Rom.5:13).
            I pray this will change for you. And that as Paul wrote in Rom.7 you will be “delivered from the law” so that you can bring forth fruit unto God. And no longer the fruit unto death. No longer opposing yourself. But, free from the captivity of the devil.

  6. Edward O'Hara on March 22, 2021 at 8:50 pm

    Stuart, there is no scenario in which the keeping of the law is part of the Christian life. Whether to save or to stay saved. As Gal.3:1-5 plainly shows. The letter written by the apostles, and the people sent with Paul and Barnabas, were for confirmation that what Paul and Barnabas were teaching the Gentiles was true. That they were not to keep the law of Moses or do circumcision. And that anyone who said they were from them, who said they must be circumcised and keep the law of Moses, was not from them. But, were subverting the souls of any that might believe them.

    The letter to the Hebrews states plainly that the keeping of the law is “dead works”. Heb.9:14 asks “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Why would they need their conscience purged from the works of the law if as you say they all continued doing it? They wouldn’t. A conscience purged of these has no more to do with them. But, instead lives in love for God and one another. With not even a second thought given to law keeping.

    Which is why in the next verse we are told that it is “for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” Jesus did for them what the keeping of the law could not do. Because His death removed the law from even the consciousness of the Hebrew. So that his only motivation as a believer would be his being joined with and trusting solely upon the name of Jesus. And teaching others to do so.

    To be dead to the law as a woman is to her dead husband is as clear an analogy as can be made to describe what the believer’s relationship is to be with the law. But, most are trained to believe the law is still to be kept by the believer. Even though the apostles plainly said otherwise. Learn what Paul meant when he said,
    For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
    What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
    Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
    But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
    Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” Rom.6:14-18
    “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”1Cor.15:56,57

  7. Stuart on March 21, 2021 at 4:40 pm

    We must be careful to not “throw the baby out with the bath water.” Works do not cause our salvation but rather they are the result of our being saved as we were created to do good works; that we should walk in them according to Eph. 2:10. The Apostle James wrote in James 2 that faith without works is a dead faith and that we are justified by works and not by faith alone. Do faith and works contradict each other? No, rather they complement one another as they are like two sides of the same coin. Good works done under obedience to God are the outward evidence and resulting fruit that one’s inward faith is indeed genuine.

    Regarding Acts 15, you are correct that there were certain Jews who insisted that the rite of circumcision was a requirement in order to become saved. Nothing we do including circumcision causes us to be saved as solely trusting in the blood of Jesus saves. But notice in v.20, where James declared that the Gentiles should abstain from the pollution of idols, fornication, things strangled and from blood. These forbidden practices are described Leviticus 17. Thus one must ask, why are these 4 practices which are forbidden in the law, also required of the Gentiles, if the law no longer applies?

    My belief is that James is declaring that these practices are the minimum that Gentiles should turn away from once they become saved (and they need to realize that from the outset). In v.28, it states “to lay upon you no ‘greater burden’ than these ‘necessary things.’ In other words, in order come to saving faith, James listed 4 things that Gentiles should refrain from, upon becoming saved. While these prohibitions are necessary, they were minimized in order that they would not be a great burden and obstacle which would prevent the heathen Gentiles from coming to faith in Christ.

    The key verse to understanding this passage is v.21 which states: “For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.” The word “For” is a conjunction and indicates the reason for James’ declaration in v.20. As the newly converted gentiles attended synagogue as described throughout the book of Acts, they would come to learn the law as Moses was preached every Sabbath. They would learn and understand the law and the impact of it upon their lives as they grow in the faith by following the law. Paul confirms this in Rom. 3:31 where he wrote: Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.

    • Edward O'Hara on March 22, 2021 at 12:14 am

      Stuart, we make a mistake when we consider obedience to God to be the keeping of commands. The obedience of the New Covenant is one that must be by faith that works only by love. So it is when we love as God does that we are being obedient. Not when we are obeying a command.

      We establish the purpose of the law by faith. Not the law itself. It’s the same thing that Paul taught in Rom.2 saying of the Gentiles that they had the “work of the law” written on their hearts. Not the law itself. But, it’s purpose. And that is for those who trust in God to love as He does. So love, not law keeping, is the key for Christian living.

      To whatever degree a person allows the law into their religious experience. It is to that degree that they need deliverance from it to be saved. As Paul said plainly in Rom.7:4-6;
      “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
      For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
      But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”

      • Stuart on March 22, 2021 at 2:07 pm

        Thanks for your reply Edward. Iron sharpens iron as we pursue the truth of Scripture as best as we can understand it. I agree with you as Jesus stated that all of the law and the prophets hang upon loving God and loving our neighbor as ourselves. I think we understand what the loving our neighbor part entails but a germane question is what does loving God mean? Isn’t loving God by obeying His commands the hallmark of what it means to be obedient? In Jn 14:15, Jesus stated “If you love me, keep my commands.” Jesus spoke this to his disciples who were of course Jews so they would have understood his words to mean not only Jesus’ instructions during his lifetime but also God’s commands as contained in the law. This is confirmed in 1 Jn 5:3 where John in writing his epistle to the church consisting of both Jew and Gentile brethren wrote: “In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.” Thus we love God when we obey His commands and we don’t love God when we disregard or disobey them. John did not distinguish between the OT commands and Jesus’ commands but considered them as one and the same. After all, Jesus obeyed the Mosaic law and the apostles continued their adherence to the law even after Jesus’ death.

        It’s best practice to allow scripture to define itself so the purpose of the law according to Rom 3:20 is to define what sin is. “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.” Practically speaking, in the absence of the law, there is no knowledge of sin, no need for repentance and thus no need to have saving faith in Jesus. The law in and of itself, does not justify but is a
        tutor and points us to Jesus. The law becomes written on our hearts when we choose to obey it. Israel had the law but it was never written on their hearts because of their stubborn disobedience. Believers today indwelt by the Spirit, are enabled by grace to either obey or disobey. Titus 2:11-12 states “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” That is why in Romans 2 which you alluded to, in v.13 states “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.”

        Lastly, regarding Rom 7:4-6. Note that this passage does not state that the law is dead. Rather, it states that ye are become dead to the law made possible by the body of Christ. How does one become dead to the law? Answer: For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God (Gal 2:19). We die to the law by obeying its commands and thus live for God.

        Sorry for the long reply but to summarize, the law does not justify us as only grace through faith justifies the believer. In other words, obedience to the law does not cause us to be saved; rather obedience to the law demonstrates that we are saved as we walk according to it in our Christian lives.

        • Edward O'Hara on March 22, 2021 at 4:20 pm

          You’re welcome Stuart.
          Jesus was a man under the law(Gal.4:4). Who came to minister only to those who were under the law(Mt.15:24). To show them how to live under the law(Mt.19:16-21). But, when it came time for the New Covenant He had to leave so the Holy Spirit could come(John16:7-13). Because the Holy Spirit, not Jesus, is the minister of the New Covenant. To think in terms of obedience to the law is to be alive to it. And if alive to the law you are dead to Christ. Rom.7:1-4. The only thing obedience to the law demonstrates is that we are under it and not joined with Christ.
          Here is the apostle’s word on this subject once again from Acts15- “Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment”

          In this and Paul’s letter to Titus the apostles were very clear. Those who believe and preach that the Christian is to keep the law subverts men’s souls. The Christian is to rebuke sharply those who do this.

          Any connection to the law one may have had before they believed in Jesus must be left at the cross as completely as the woman’s relationship to her dead husband in Rom.7:1-4 is no more for them to be joined to Christ. And if one’s connection to the law happened after they believed, they are those the apostles spoke of in Acts15 and Titus1 whose souls have been subverted from the truth. So our job as Christians is not to reinforce that subversion. But, to “In meekness instruct those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” 2Tim.2:25,26

          • Stuart on March 22, 2021 at 5:47 pm

            Nice to have a decent conversation with one such as yourself as we can always in the end, agree to disagree if necessary. For much of my life, I used to believe as you do but had to change my mind when I examined Scripture more closely. I think part of the problem which causes confusion for many (including myself) is that Paul’s writings are hard to understand as admitted to by Peter in 2 Pet. 3:16. We that in mind, a good practice is to interpret Paul’s writings in light of what Jesus stated and not the other way around.

            Jesus stated that he did not come to abolish the law or the prophets but to fulfill them in Matt 5:17. Thus if we claim that the law is abolished or done away with, we contradict the very words of Jesus himself. Another claim often made is that the law is obsolete as described in Heb 8:13 which states: “In that He says, “ A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” Obsolete by definition does not mean “disappeared” as something can be obsolete and old, but still in existence. That is why this verse describes the law using the present tense; not past tense – growing old; ready to vanish away. So the law has not been done away with. It simply defines what sin is and continues to point to Christ. Without the law, there is no such thing as sin. The law keeps us within God’s boundaries.

            In properly understood context, the great burden that James referred to in Acts 15 was the rite of circumcision. Of course, circumcision is not required in order to become saved but what if I told an unsaved person that as you become better acquainted with all of the law and what it requires of you, then you must eventually get circumcised. Just how many unbelieving men would jump at that opportunity to become saved knowing that they would eventually have to submit to circumcision in obedience to the law? The likely answer is ZERO. And that is precisely why the council in Acts 15:28 decided that they should not make it so hard for the Gentiles to come to saving faith “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you NO GRESTER BURDEN [circumcision] than these NECESSARY things…” which are part of the law but easier for unbelieves to accept. As the newly saved Gentiles continued to gather at the synagogues every Sabbath, they would learn more of the law of Moses and its implications in their lives as believers – which is what Acts 15:21 states.

            Why do you suppose the apostles even after Jesus death, kept the Sabbath and OT feasts? Why did Paul undertake a Nazarite vow as described in Acts 18:18? Why did Peter in his dream in Acts 10, interpret his own dream to not mean that he was now free to eat unclean meats, but instead it meant that he should associate with the Gentiles and not regard them as unclean? There are many examples like this in the NT if one looks for them.

            In my opinion, in order for you to maintain your view, these actions by the apostles who continued to follow the law in their lives need to be reconciled with your belief regarding the law. In 1 Cor 11:1 Paul commanded us: “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” It would be hypocritical of Paul who followed the law to then teach us to disregard the law because it no longer applies to us.

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