THE PROTEST BECOMES ACUTE (ACTS 15:1-5). A storm is brewing that could destroy the church. Satan is at work, sowing false doctrine and discord in Galatia, Jerusalem, and Antioch. If Paul had just written his inspired protest of grace versus law, he was certainly prepared for the Judaizers who came down from Judea to Antioch and taught the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them.
The error of the Judaizers struck at the very heart of the New Covenant. If the Gentiles were willing to accept Christ, they would be given power by the Holy Spirit working within them to live the kind of life that was pleasing to God. To many Jewish Christians, this idea was blasphemous. They believed that God had revealed His will in the OT. However, it was clearly taught that to be a part of the divine community a person must be circumcised and observe the ceremonial laws.
To settle the question, the Antioch church appointed Paul and Barnabas, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders in the autumn of A.D. 50.