As we look in the reading for today we see another stirring up of those who were legalists. Some of the Pharisees were telling others that they needed to add works to their salvation in order to attain it. This discussion with the leaders may seem odd to us, but they did not have the completed Word of God yet and they wanted to instruct in the correct way. The dynamics of adding works to salvation is a very dangerous one. When adding works to grace; not only does salvation no longer rest in Christ, but no one can tell where the line is to be drawn. It is mentioned in the text about a burden being added that they and their fathers could not handle. This argument does not stop in this chapter, but continues on among those people spread through out the region as Paul will later address it in a very forward manner to make his point.
When they decided how to word their letters to the churches, I hope that we all recognize the language being used. When mentioning staying away from things sacrificed to idols and so on, they stated “It would be good for you to abstain from these things.” The focus was no longer on salvation; it was instead focused on the appropriate behavior of the believer. We have liberty in Christ indeed, but we are now set to even a higher standard than the law. We now have a purpose to be ambassadors for Christ. Our life and lifestyl represent our risen Savior. This should be our focus as we judge our actions, not fear of the loss of salvation.
The book of James goes into great detail in the area of grace and works. That writing sums up much in this discussion when it states (in my summation) Those who are truly saved do good works because of the grace that they have received. Grace is never received because of the good works that someone does. Ephesians 2:8-9 states “For by grace you have been saved through faith not of yoursef; it is a gift of God not of works lest any man should boast.”
Although we have liberty, not all things are proper for the believer.