Some people came from Judea to Antioch and, on arrival, began to teach the Christians that they could not be saved unless they were circumcised according to the custom of Moses. This caused considerable uproar and dispute between them and Paul and Barnabas, and the church decided to send Paul and Barnabas and some others from their fellowship, to the apostles and elders in Jerusalem, to try to sort out the problem.
Some people began to teach another group that they “could not be saved unless they…” The spirit of religion always adds conditions for salvation, such as, “Yes, Jesus loves you, but you still must be holy.” The most damaging lies are half-true. But here is the whole truth: NOBODY can withhold the salvation that God gives to you because salvation is not something you possess but something you experience. Only by persuasion can a lie bring a free person into bondage. A lie does not have the power to force you to do anything, only to persuade you to believe it and come into bondage.
Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem and gave a perfect defense of their new Gentile brothers and sisters to the Jerusalem church, saying,
“My brothers, you know that from our early days together, God chose that it should be from my mouth that the Gentiles should hear the word of the Gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore them witness by giving them the Holy Spirit just as He did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, but He purified their hearts through faith.” Acts 15:7-8
God already accepted the Gentiles with the evidence of the Spirit’s baptism. The Gentiles already enjoyed real freedom from slavery to sin and death, aka “salvation.” The ethnically Jewish church in Jerusalem had no authority or power to withhold salvation from people God had already accepted. The church in Jerusalem could wound, ostracize, intimidate, bully, etc., the Gentile believers. Still, so long as they held firm to the Truth, nobody could withhold salvation because nobody but the Truth can grant it.
Every believer in Christ is “saved” by rights because they have been bought and paid for with the blood of Christ. But not every believer is saved in reality because they are bound by lies that enslave them. And to the extent that we believe lies, we cannot be rightly called “believers” in the Gospel.
Salvation does not come through mental assent to doctrinal creeds. Freedom comes from actually believing and obeying the Truth.
“You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32
If you are bound to an addiction, suicidal thoughts, hopelessness, condemnation, and depression, God has not rejected you. You believe lies and need the deliverance that comes through the Truth. Stop worrying about whether or not you can claim the status of “Christian” or “saved person.” Concern yourself with the reality: Do I walk in real freedom?
“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1.
If you are stuck in the bondage of sin, depression, addiction, or fear, reach out to me today. Jesus loves you and will liberate you in reality, not just in theory. Jesus has never stopped loving you, nor hidden Himself from you. It's the lies that you believe which blind your heart from receiving His love. But everything cam change for you in an instant if you will only believe the Truth concerning God’s love for you.