It is written:
“But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.” (Acts 15:11)
One of the prominent religious teachings of our day and age is that under the New Testament, God has a different plan of salvation for the Jewish people then He does for the Gentiles. Often, this theory is put forward to try and teach that baptism was essential for the Jewish people to be saved, but not for Gentiles.
However, as Peter here makes clear, the Jews and Gentiles will be saved “in the same manner.”
Speaking of this phrase, Bible scholar Adam Clarke has noted:
“This seems to be an answer to an objection, “Has not God designed to save us, the Jews, by an observance of the law; and them, the Gentiles, by the faith of the Gospel?” No: for we Jews can be saved no other way than through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ; and this is the way in which the Gentiles in question have been saved.” (Adam Clarke, Commentary On Acts 15:11, E-Sword Version)
The Lord does not have one plan of salvation for one group of people in our time, and another plan for a different group.
However, some argue that the Apostle Paul teaches there was one Gospel for the Jews, and one for the Gentiles, when he wrote the Epistle to the Galatians. Speaking of his conformation with Peter, Paul writes:
Galatians 2:7-But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter…
It is claimed that there was Gospel for the circumcised (Jews), and one for the uncircumcised (Gentiles).
However, some study will show that this is not what Paul meant. Indeed, the Apostle’s words show clearly that the Gospel was to be taught to both Jews and Gentiles!
Notice that Paul says the Gospel for the Gentiles had been committed to him, just as the Gospel had been entrusted to Peter for the Jews. Please observe that this was the same Gospel to two different groups, not a different Gospel! After all, Paul had earlier written:
Galatians 1:6-9-I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
The Gospel message was the same, for both Jews and Gentiles. In Galatians 2, Paul is simply pointing out that his commission to preach the Gospel had been primarily to the Gentiles, while Peter’s had been to the Jews. Notice how this is brought out in different Bible translations:
Galatians 2:7 (CEV)-They realized that God had sent me with the good news for Gentiles, and that he had sent Peter with the same message for Jews.
Galatians 2:7 (Amplified)-But on the contrary, when they [really] saw that I had been entrusted [to carry] the Gospel to the uncircumcised [Gentiles, just as definitely] as Peter had been entrusted [to proclaim] the Gospel to the circumcised [Jews, they were agreeable];
Speaking of the Greek of this passage, one scholar has well documented:
“Peter’s gospel for the Jews may have had different emphases and nuances from Paul’s gospel for the Gentiles, but plainly these did not make it in Paul’s eyes a `different gospel’ in the sense of 1:6-9. It was based on the same recital of saving events as Paul’s and, like Paul’s, it proclaimed the grace of God brought near in Christ for men and women’s acceptance by faith (1 Cor. 15:11).” (F.F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Galatians (The New International Greek Testament Commentary), 1990 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)
In Romans, Paul points out that God’s plan of salvation today (for both Jew and Gentile) is through the same Gospel:
Romans 1:16-For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
Romans 3:21-30-But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. 29 Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, 30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.
Romans 4:10-13-How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised. 11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, 12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised. 13 For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
God’s method of saving mankind is the same, whether we be Jew or Gentile:
Galatians 3:26-29-For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
If you have not submitted to Christ’s plan of salvation, why not do so today?
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.