Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: 2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;
What does St. Peter mean by “… received a faith of the same kind as ours, ….”? The answer is given by the example of Apostolic Authority exercised by the Apostles and Elders of the Church. Acts 15 gives the fullest account of what it means to “have received the faith of the same kind as ours.”
A COUNCIL CALLED
When the issue of circumcising Gentile converts, according to the Acts of the Apostles, it caused “great dissension and debate with them, the brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue.” A careful reading of Acts 15, we see how the One Unified Church that Christ Jesus established on the faith of His Apostles, with Himself as the Cornerstone, come to decisions on Christian questions which Jesus Christ never taught upon.
Acts 15:6-7 – The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter. 7 After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them,
The Apostles here issue a ruling after much debate. This ruling will be binding to all the Churches. They send out a letter outlining what their ruling is on the subject of keeping the Mosaic Law and Circumcising the Gentile converts.
Acts 15:22-23 – 22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas—Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren, 23 and they sent this letter by them,
This letter will be binding on every Church, because the Church is to have one mind and that is the mind of Christ.
Acts 15: 24-25 24 “Since we have heard that some of our number to whom we gave no instruction have disturbed you with their words, unsettling your souls, 25 it seemed good to us, having become of one mind, to select men to send to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have [isked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Very interesting that they would bring up the fact that the Judaizer party were neither given instructions on this matter, nor were they SENT. But now there is instructions on this matter, which will be binding on the entire Church of Christ.
Acts 15:28 – 28 “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials:
What seems good to the Holy Spirit and the Apostles? This is how the Holy Spirit guides the One Church that Jesus Christ established on the faith of His Apostles with Himself as the cornerstone.
THE SAME FAITH AS OURS
If the Judaizers did not agree with this ruling, they were no longer to be regarded as members of the Body of Christ, His Church. They no longer shared the same faith as the Apostles. If some went out and continued to preach that Gentile converts still were required to be circumcised, they would be loosed for the Church on earth as well as in Heaven.
To follow all the doctrines of the Church is to have the same faith as the Apostles. Because the Holy Spirit cannot error in guiding that Church, the faithful maintain their right standing with God as adopted sons and daughters by adhering to it’s teachings. And as St. Peter goes on to say, this faith we share and profess, is by the righteousness of God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Acts 15 and the Council of Jerusalem, is still the standard way the Catholic Church handles issues that have come up throughout history.
I will be adding to this post in the future.