Join in their purification rites. Then everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you. – Acts 21:24 (Acts 21:17-25)
Once Saul Paul reached Jerusalem, tha “brothers” welcomed him, Silas, Luke, and tha rest with claps on tha back and hugs. Next day Saul Paul and Silas met with James and tha elders and reported all Skipper achieved among tha Gentiles during tha pair’s second trek among tha churches in Asia and Greece.
After hearing Saul Paul’s report, James and tha others said, “Brother, see how many thousands of Jews have believed and all of them are zealous for the law. They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs. What shall we do? They will certainly hear that you have come, so do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a vow. Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law. As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.”
Think on this a wee little bit: James and tha other brothers laid this charge on Saul Paul: “Join in purification rites. Then everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law.” Now James knew good and well that tha Son called Saul Paul ter preach and teach ter tha Gentiles. James even admitted that tha council of brothers laid no other charge on tha Gentiles except ter abstain from food sacrificed ter idols, from blood, from tha meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. Only now James and tha rest want Saul Paul ter be washed with ceremonial water so as not ter offend them who live by tha traditions of men and ways of tha old covenant.
This right here be what ya might call an arithmetic problem: according ter James, tha Son + 1 more thing = holiness. If Saul Paul whar required to join in “purification rites” in order ter be clean of his sins, then that means tha Son not be enough. And if tha Son not be enough ter wash Saul Paul clean of his sins, then we all be doomed, fer no feller or lass kin wash away thar sins with water, even if it be of a ceremonial kind. So that be problem one.
Problem two seems ter be tha motive behind James’ charge ter Saul Paul. James claimed, “Then everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law.” James ought ter ‘ave known that Saul Paul whar upright in all he done and testified ter tha zealous Jews ’bout this fact. Instead James seems ter shrink and slink away, siding with them who wished ter heap guilt upon Saul Paul. James even seems ter be boasting ’bout tha, “thousands of Jews who believed.”
Once tha Son warned, “Out of the mouth come things from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean’ “(Matthew 15:18). It seems James whar still clinging ter tha old covenant, his old ways, and preferred tha favor of others ter tha saving mercy that comes from tha Son. Now it may be that James thought himself special, seeing as how he be tha Son’s earthly brother. If so, that reveals a heart filled with pride.
Even with all this, Saul Paul obliged and did all James asks so as not ter ’cause friction among James, tha brothers, and them zealous Jews who demanded that all must abide by tha law of circumcision, purification rites, and tha old covenant.
As ya might guess, none of this mattered ter them zealous Jews, fer when tha seven days of purification be near ’bout over, some Jews from tha province of Asia seen Paul at the temple and stirred up tha whole crowd. Things got so out of hand that tha crowd seized Saul Paul with the idear of killing him.
Thar only be one right answer ter this arithmetic problem: you + tha Son = salvation. Should a feller or lass demand ya add something ter tha Son in order ter be holy, be on yer way, fer ya kin be sure thar accounting be off. Should a feller or lass demand ya subtract from the moral code of Skipper in order ter affirm and love ah feller or lass, be on yer way, fer ya kin be sure thar accounting be off.
All ya need is tha Son. He be enough. Keep Skipper’s moral Code of Conduct—not ter be saved, fer tha Code cannot save a feller—but ter show yer love fer Skip and his Son. Do this and ya ‘ill please Skipper and his boy, of this ya kin be certain.