What does Acts 15:11 mean?
ESV: But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”
NIV: No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.'
NASB: But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.'
CSB: On the contrary, we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus in the same way they are."
NLT: We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.'
KJV: But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.
NKJV: But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.”
Verse Commentary:
Paul and Barnabas returned from their first missionary voyage filled with stories of God's saving grace falling on the Gentiles. Their church in Syrian Antioch celebrated with them. Before long, however, Jewish Christians from the sect of the Pharisees arrived from Judea, insisting that Gentiles had to convert to Judaism—become circumcised and follow the Mosaic law—before they could follow the Jewish Messiah (Acts 14:26—15:1).

To settle the question and provide assurance for the Gentile Jesus-followers, Paul, Barnabas, and others from the Antiochene church travel to Jerusalem. They pose the question to the apostles and the elders of the first church. More Pharisees rise against them, and the leaders engage in an intense debate. Peter gives his testimony, reminding them that God had given him the privilege of bringing the first group of non-proselyte, non-circumcised, not-yet-baptized Gentiles to a saving relationship with Christ (Acts 15:2–9). That was affirmed when the Holy Spirit fell on them and gave them the sign of speaking in tongues (Acts 10:44–46).

In conclusion, Peter uses the imagery Jesus taught him. The Pharisees are known for placing a heavy burden of responsibility on the necks of the Jews: adding to the Mosaic law a form of legalistic performance which is impossible to fulfill (Matthew 23:4; Acts 15:10). In contrast, Jesus promises to lift the burden of the law and replace it with a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light (Matthew 11:28–30).

No one—Jew, Gentile, or Pharisee—can earn salvation through works. These are Peter's last words in the book of Acts. Paul is listening, however, and carries that message on. He tells the Ephesians we are saved by grace through faith, not works (Ephesians 2:8–9). He tells the Galatians "in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love" (Galatians 5:6). To the church in Philippi, Paul points out his expertise on such matters: how he is of the tribe of Benjamin, circumcised on the eighth day, a law-keeper as devout as any Pharisee—and how none of that means anything without the grace of Christ (Philippians 3:3–11).

The council in Jerusalem agrees with Paul, Barnabas, and Peter. They officially reject the claim that the Mosaic law is required for salvation in Christ. Gentiles do not have to be circumcised. They do make a request, however. To maintain unity in fellowship, they tell the Gentiles to refrain from sexual sin, as they should, anyway, and adjust their diet so the Jews will feel comfortable sharing a meal. If the church today could follow in the footsteps of the early leaders in Jerusalem by considering Jesus' words and emphasizing both unity and righteousness, we would better reflect the family of God (Acts 15:23–29).
Verse Context:
Acts 15:6–11 is Peter's address to a council, gathered to determine if Gentile Jesus-followers must convert to Judaism. Jewish Jesus-followers who still identify as Pharisees claim Gentiles must be circumcised and follow the Mosaic law (Acts 15:5). Those who have evangelized Gentiles, like Paul and Barnabas, disagree (Acts 15:2). Now Peter, who was first to watch the Holy Spirit fall on un-baptized, un-circumcised Gentiles (Acts 10:44), says his piece: Gentiles and Jews are saved through grace, not works.
Chapter Summary:
Paul and Barnabas are in Syrian Antioch, home from their first missionary journey. Legalistic Christians from Jerusalem arrive and insist Gentiles must convert to Judaism. When negotiations fail, a delegation travels to Jerusalem to request clarification from Jesus' closest students. The leadership in Jerusalem agree with Paul and Barnabas. They write a letter that Gentiles should only make concessions, mostly dietary, which will ensure unity with the Jews in their congregation. After delivering the letter to Antioch, Paul takes Silas and Barnabas takes John Mark to share the letter to other churches they have planted.
Chapter Context:
Acts chapter 15 resembles Acts 11:1–18, where Peter testified before the leadership of the church in Jerusalem. His subject was how the Holy Spirit had fallen on uncircumcised and unbaptized Gentiles. Here Paul and Barnabas also testify that Gentiles are coming to faith in Jesus without being circumcised. The issue the leadership must decide is the extent Gentiles must be responsible to follow the Mosaic law. Their decision is that the Law is in no way required to be saved, but Gentiles should graciously make concessions so their Jewish brothers and sisters feel free to live in community. This forms a partial background to the rest of Paul's missionary journeys as explained in Acts.
Book Summary:
The summary of the book of Acts is provided in Jesus' words in Acts 1:8: ''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.'' In Acts 2:1–13, the Christ-followers receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:14—7:60 describes the rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem. Chapters 8—12 find Jewish persecution inadvertently spreading the gospel throughout Judea and Samaria. And in chapters 13—28, Paul and his companions spread the good news throughout the Roman Empire.
Accessed 5/26/2024 11:44:17 AM
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