Read Acts 15:5-21 for context. I have attached it to the end of this article in case you don’t have your Bible handy.
What must I do to be saved?
I want to stress that works do not save us. We cannot tell people that they are only saved if they ____. We cannot tell people that they are only saved if they don’t ____.
Remember that God delivered Israel from Egypt before His instructions were ever written down. He didn’t save them because they kept the commandments; they never kept the commandments perfectly anyway. The congregation in the wilderness was saved by the grace of God, just like everyone else.
In like manner, today’s redeemed turn their hearts toward God first, and then they begin to learn about the Father’s instructions over the course of their walk with Him. Following Christ as our example, let us therefore turn toward His righteousness with a full heart, taking heed to the instructions that He would have us read from every sabbath.
“Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation…” Leviticus 23:3
I only know a little Hebrew, but the bit that I do know leads me to believe that the root word that gets translated as “convocation” implies reading aloud. It is my belief that the Levites were commanded to read aloud to the people every sabbath because the Levites were the only ones with access to the written Word of God at that time.
When the council convened in Jerusalem, Peter basically suggested that they all “chill out, and allow people to learn at their own pace.”
5 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.
6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.
8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;
9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.
12 Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.
13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,
16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:
17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.
18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:
20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.