In the 13th chapter of Acts, Paul and Barnabas began their first missionary journey. They would go into the Jewish synagogue in each city they visited. They were, however, teaching a new way of life that the Jewish people had never heard before. Their message wasn’t based on following the law of Moses. It was focused on how to rely on the grace of God.
Many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, and the two men urged them to continue to rely on the grace of God. Acts 13:43
In Acts 13, Paul gave a quick lesson on the history of Israel. He began by talking about their bondage to the Egyptians and ended with the resurrection of Jesus. Take an opportunity to read the chapter for yourself.
The only life these Jewish people knew was one of laws and sacrifices. Hence, their atonement came through the sacrifices that they made. The law of Moses as written in Leviticus instructed this for righteousness.
Lay your hand on the animal’s head, and the LORD will accept its death in your place to purify you, making you right with him. Leviticus 1:4
This had been a way of life for the Jews for about 1600 years or so. They had to kill an animal so they could be purified. Instead of them, the animal died because of their sins. Sounded like a good deal for them, but not for the animal.
The Gospel Message Offers a Better Deal
Paul, in his message, offered a better deal. They could accept and rely on what Jesus did on the cross. The results were far better than killing an animal. The sacrifice was better and the atonement is lasting. And the results, eternal life with the creator of the universe.
This message made sense because many of the people hearing it accepted it. On that Sabbath day, both Jews and those converted to Judaism wanted to hear more.
A related post you might want to read. How To Live Without Fearing The Law
Anytime change is introduced to our lives, we are prone to offer up some resistance to it. These Jewish people were raised going through the motions of the law. And also the Jewish festivals with the required sacrifices were a part of their regular routines.
Another post worth reading is, Is The Law Of The Old Testament Still Valid?
That is why Paul and Barnabas encouraged them from that day forward to rely on the grace of God.
Do We Rely On The Grace Of God?
At times we too, battle with obstacles that we allow to get in our way. Ours isn’t the law of Moses and animal sacrifices.
We easily turn to church traditions that look religious. Many feel that work secures their salvation instead of salvation producing work.
John wrote in his gospel about the abundance of grace. In the following translation, it talks about God’s unfailing love and faithfulness. Other translations refer to those as grace.
From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. John 1:16-17
Check out this great related post called, The Grace Of God, The Most Amazing Gift Ever.
Lord, thank you for your grace. We understand that you give grace freely, not earned by us. Therefore, help us get past wanting to do things that make us feel religious.
A related post you might like is called Neither Wealth Nor Works Will Get Anyone To Heaven
Also read an excellent post on Worship called, How To Worship God With All Of Your Life.
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