At the Jerusalem Council, Peter rehearsed God’s working in the Gentiles at Caesarea to save them as definitive evidence that Gentiles do not need to be circumcised and commanded to keep the Mosaic Law in order to be saved (Acts 15:1-11). Rather, he said that God purified their hearts by faith (15:9) and that they (and the other Gentiles who had become believers up to the time of the Council) would be saved “through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ” (15:11).
Later, James added that Peter had “declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name” (15:14). Based on these authoritative statements by these two top church leaders on that crucial occasion in church history, we understand the following concerning the salvation of people:
- People must hear the word of the Gospel to be saved by grace through faith. (15:7).
- People must believe the word of the Gospel that they hear to be saved by grace through faith (15:7).
- People who hear and believe the word of the Gospel are saved by grace through faith so that they will be a people for His name (15:14).