"But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they are also." Acts 15: 11
The DNA of the church is linked to the blood of Jesus Christ, shed on the cross of Calvary. This is the common bond of all who believe. Believers are not linked by a common love for music, architecture, church government, nationalities, style of worship, or softball jerseys. Any family resemblance a believer has to The Father is directly linked to his connection with The Son. The fruit of The Spirit never falls far from Calvary's tree.
Jesus said, "Apart from me you can do nothing." Prayer is the first point of connection, a believer has with the tree of Life. The wise believer bears fruit by keeping themselves connected to The Root. Prayer connects a believer to Jesus, and consistent praying is the connection that releases His direction, protection and correction. A believer is never finished praying until they arrive at the same point Jesus arrived at when He prayed. "Not My will, but Thy will be done." BELIEVING Prayer always turns MY into THY. EVERY TIME.
Believe is the verb form of faith. Today, much is said of faith, value and virtue. It is appears they are inanimate object, a set of beliefs, rules, regulations, or forms of organized religion. Believe is faith in action. To believe in Jesus is the trust a person places in Jesus, and on Jesus. Belief is placed in a person, the Person of Jesus Christ.
Little children are very capable of memorizing and repeating rules and regulations. It doesn't mean they believe them. It just means they know them. This is the weakness of the childhood catechism that informs a child of the truth, but leaves them without a relationship with Jesus, as the Way, The Truth and The Life.
Believing in Jesus is more than a prayer that is prayed at the first day of of one's birth into the family of God. Believers are those who continue to allow the blood flow of Jesus, move through their veins until their lives take on the character of Christ. The fruit of the Spirit is all about consistent companionship with Jesus, and unbroken connection of The Savior's vine to the believer's branch.
"I am The Vine. You are the branches." Jesus
In Acts, Peter, Paul and Barnabas emphasized to the self-appointed fruit inspectors of the Jerusalem Council, that the Gentile believers were saved the same way the Jewish believers were saved. They were rescued from their sins, through the grace of Jesus. They didn't deserve to be rescued. They received grace, unmerited favor, from God through Jesus.
"We are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus." Peter
Grace is not a girl's name, or a quick prayer thrown up to God before a meal. It is the favor of God. Grace is poured out on people by bringing them to an awareness of their sinful condition, and an acceptance of His only Solution...Jesus. Grace is freely dispensed, but it cost God His Son. Grace is free, but it is not cheap.
It is an amazing experience to share the gospel with people and see them come to the awareness of their sin and to the acceptance of the grace of God, through the Person of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. It is equally amazing to see people reject God's gracious offer of forgiveness, and to choose to live in separation from Jesus.
The same gospel message, heard by two different people, will often provoke two different choices. One choice leads to personal repentance, and the other to personal rebellion. Grace is personal. God chooses to offer unmerited, undeserved favor, but believers must choose to receive it. Amazing Grace, indeed.
Who is saved? God knows. What does a saved person look like? Clean.
"And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith." Acts 15:9
The saving grace of God cleanses the heart of a believer, from their past sin, and a love for anything that leads them into sin. Their love for sin is replaced with a love for Jesus. This may be why prayer is so difficult to maintain, in the life of a believer. When people are more in love with the world, they feel uncomfortable spending time in the Presence of Jesus. The love of sin kills a love for prayer. Prayer reveals sin. Prayerlessness denies it, and covers it up.
The early believers continued on course, in the way they came on board. They prayed. We should too. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!