Do people need to follow the Mosaic Law or Sabbath, to be saved?
There is no valid debate that the Hebrew God is Yahweh. Thousands of years ago, when Moses led the Hebrews from bondage in Egypt, he wrote the Mosaic Law. These hundreds of laws, regulated many things and set the Hebrews apart from any other nation, as Yahweh’s chosen people. Simply put, this was the standard to follow, to show that one was doing what God wanted. If one was a Gentile (A non-Hebrew), he/she could become “adopted” into the nation, as one of their own, and obeying the Law.
The Mosaic Law had provisions to help atone for someone’s sins. These provisions included sacrifices at the temple in Jerusalem. Interestingly, Job, although not a Hebrew but an Oriental, offered sacrifices to the Almighty, to help atone for possible sins of his offspring (Job 1:1-5). Job was considered a servant of the Almighty (Job 1:8).
Jesus, the Son of the Most high, Yahweh, offered the only PERFECT sacrifice, his life, to atone for the sins of all men;
17 For God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him.
After Jesus’ death and resurrection, many Jews became believers. However, some Jews felt very strongly that people had to obey the Law of Moses (Mosaic Law), in order to be saved. Even the topic of circumcision, according to the Law of Moses, was brought up and argued that this was necessary too. This was a very important topic, especially to the Jews who lived their lives according to the Mosaic Law. Did the Gentiles, who the good news of the kingdom of God and his Christ was being preached, have to follow the Law, including the Sabbath, to be saved?
There was a meeting date set to discuss this matter. New believers, in Christ, who thought it was necessary to follow the Law of Moses, would be discussing this with Paul, Barnabas, Apostles, and older men, in Jerusalem.
There was much disputing, especially with those who were once Pharisees but now were believers. The apostle Peter rose and made a decisive argument. It was known to those in attendance that God had chosen Peter to help spread the word of the good news and believe, among the nations. These ones, who were of the nations (Gentiles) were favored by God. This was evident because these Gentiles, who did not observe the Law, received the holy spirit, as they did. God did not require them to observe the law of Moses, to be saved. So, Peter asked the ones who thought it was necessary; Why would they want to add this unnecessary burden to new believers, if God had already shown his favor to them?
It was made clear by Peter, by the witness of God’s holy spirit being freely given to those who never were under the Law of Moses, including the Sabbath, that salvation was based upon the undeserved kindness of Jesus; Not the Law of Moses or the Sabbath.
15 Some men came down from Judea and taught the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised after the custom of Moses, you can’t be saved.” 2 Therefore when Paul and Barnabas had no small discord and discussion with them, they appointed Paul and Barnabas, and some others of them, to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders about this question. 3 They, being sent on their way by the assembly, passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles. They caused great joy to all the brothers. 4 When they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the assembly and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all things that God had done with them.
5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.”
6 The apostles and the elders were gathered together to see about this matter. 7 When there had been much discussion, Peter rose up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that a good while ago God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the nations should hear the word of the Good News, and believe. 8 God, who knows the heart, testified about them, giving them the Holy Spirit, just like he did to us. 9 He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore why do you tempt God, that you should put a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they are.”
12 All the multitude kept silence, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul reporting what signs and wonders God had done among the nations through them. 13 After they were silent, James answered, “Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simeon has reported how God first visited the nations, to take out of them a people for his name. 15 This agrees with the words of the prophets. As it is written,
16 ‘After these things I will return.
I will again build the tabernacle of David, which has fallen.
I will again build its ruins.
I will set it up,
17 That the rest of men may seek after the Lord;
all the Gentiles who are called by my name,
says the Lord, who does all these things.
18 All of God’s works are known to him from eternity.’
19 “Therefore my judgment is that we don’t trouble those from among the Gentiles who turn to God, 20 but that we write to them that they abstain from the pollution of idols, from sexual immorality, from what is strangled, and from blood.
An example of God’s holy spirit being given to Gentiles that were not under the Law of Moses;
21 Peter went down to the men, and said, “Behold, I am he whom you seek. Why have you come?”
22 They said, “Cornelius, a centurion, a righteous man and one who fears God, and well spoken of by all the nation of the Jews, was directed by a holy angel to invite you to his house, and to listen to what you say.” 23 So he called them in and provided a place to stay. On the next day Peter arose and went out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. 24 On the next day they entered into Caesarea. Cornelius was waiting for them, having called together his relatives and his near friends. 25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, fell down at his feet, and worshiped him. 26 But Peter raised him up, saying, “Stand up! I myself am also a man.” 27 As he talked with him, he went in and found many gathered together. 28 He said to them, “You yourselves know how it is an unlawful thing for a man who is a Jew to join himself or come to one of another nation, but God has shown me that I shouldn’t call any man unholy or unclean. 29 Therefore also I came without complaint when I was sent for. I ask therefore, why did you send for me?”
30 Cornelius said, “Four days ago, I was fasting until this hour, and at the ninth hour, I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer is heard, and your gifts to the needy are remembered in the sight of God. 32 Send therefore to Joppa, and summon Simon, who is also called Peter. He lodges in the house of a tanner named Simon, by the seaside. When he comes, he will speak to you.’ 33 Therefore I sent to you at once, and it was good of you to come. Now therefore we are all here present in the sight of God to hear all things that have been commanded you by God.”
34 Peter opened his mouth and said, “Truly I perceive that God doesn’t show favoritism; 35 but in every nation he who fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him. 36 The word which he sent to the children of Israel, preaching good news of peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all— 37 you yourselves know what happened, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; 38 even Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 We are witnesses of everything he did both in the country of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they also killed, hanging him on a tree. 40 God raised him up the third day, and gave him to be revealed, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen before by God, to us, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that this is he who is appointed by God as the Judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him, that through his name everyone who believes in him will receive remission of sins.”
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard the word. 45 They of the circumcision who believed were amazed, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was also poured out on the Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in other languages and magnifying God.
Then Peter answered, 47 “Can anyone forbid these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just like us.” 48 He commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay some days.