The Christian reformer, Martin Luther did not much like the book of James. He was a champion of the great doctrine of justification by faith that, for the most part, had been lost, neglected and denied by the mainstream church for hundreds of years. In the book of James he found a direct contradiction to the doctrine of justification by faith, apart from works, and consequently proclaimed that it had no part in the canon of Scripture. At one point he even called the book of James “an epistle of straw.”
As we read through Acts we see that the original apostles continued to keep the Law of Moses and continued to teach their followers to keep the Law of Moses all the way until the end of the book.
The house of Cornelius
In Acts chapter 10, Peter goes to the house of Cornelius, a Gentile, only because the Lord gave him permission in a vision. While there, he declares how, as a faithful adherent to the Law of Moses, he was not supposed to be there among Gentiles.
After looking at the teachings of Jesus in His earthly ministry and the Gospel of the Kingdom that He preached, I concluded that Jesus taught in accordance with the Law of Moses and not according to the gospel of grace. But what about His apostles?
Jesus sends out the 12 to preach
Jesus spent time with his disciples, teaching them about the coming Kingdom of God. It wasn’t long before he started sending them out two-by-two to preach the same message to the nation of Israel.
Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:14–15
Christians love the gospel. We dedicate our lives to spreading the gospel message to our friends and neighbors and even to every corner of the earth.
But what is the gospel? What is it’s message? Paul tells us very clearly in his letter to the Corinthians.
If you count up the number of time Jesus used the word “grace” compared to the amount of times grace is used in the rest of the New Testament, can you guess what the ratio is?
The ratio is actually 0 because not once in any of the four gospels does the Bible record Jesus using the word “grace” in his earthly ministry. Not. One. Time.
How can that be? Jesus IS the grace of God. It was His death for our sins that made grace available to every man.