Misunderstood Verses of the New Testament - Week 5
In this week's edition of Misunderstood Verses of the New Testament we are going to briefly cover the questions "Did God make all things clean, or holy, in Acts 10?" and "What is the context of Acts 15 as a whole?".
Let us know your thoughts on this week's posting and the series in general. If you have any questions or comments please leave them below!
Problem: 15 And again a voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.”
Many understand this to be saying God has now made all food clean, the dietary laws no longer exist.
Solution: Acts 10:28 28 … But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.
The vision Peter had was about not disassociating with Gentiles or considering them unclean. This had nothing to do with food. For more on this topic, see our teaching: Acts 10 – Peter’s Vision.
Acts 15 Overall
Many understand Acts 15 to be teaching against circumcision and whether we need to follow the law of God, the Torah.
We need to understand what parties are involved in this debate and what the topic of the debate is really about. The parties involved are: 1)The Circumcision Party (must be circumcised in order to be saved – identified in verse 1) 2) Jerusalem Council (first century church leadership – identified in verse 4) 3) Believing Sect of the Pharisees (Believers saved by faith and thus they know they cannot be saved by keeping the Law, but they still keep the Law out of obedience - just like Paul, also a Pharisee. – identified in verse 5) and 4) New Gentile Converts (This group has recently come into the faith but many are still deep into their pagan false god worship traditions per verse 20. - identified in verses 7, 12, 14, 17-20, 23). The debate is about whether the Gentiles should be keeping the Law of Moses as a means to salvation (vs. 1) or be keeping the Law of Moses as a matter of obedience as a result of faith (vs. 5). The debate is between one of these two choices. No one suggests anywhere in chapter 15 or even throughout the rest of scripture that there is a third option in which the Law of Moses has been abolished, in whole or in part. For more on this topic and others in Acts 15, please see our teachings titled: Acts 15: Obedience or Legalism?, Circumcision: The Eternal Sign(2-part series), and Meat Sacrificed to Idols.