In Acts 15 we find the first real doctrinal threat to the young and thriving church. Many of the leading Jews, including some converts among the Pharisees, were not content with God’s simple plan to save. Instead, they sought to bring in some of the Old Law as a means of exercising some control over the new Gentile converts. Such men are commonly called “Judaizers.”
Unconvinced by the arguments of Paul and Barnabas, the brethren sent them to Jerusalem to have the matter settled once and for all. During that heated debate, Peter stood up and rehearsed his encounter with the Gentiles.
In his first point of defense of the Gentiles as fellow heirs of the gospel was God pouring out of the Holy Spirit on Cornelius and his household, “just as He did to us.” In other words, the events of Acts 10 perfectly mirrored those in Acts 2 to assure Peter and his company of what was going on.
Then Peter said that God “made no distinction between us and the, purifying their hearts by faith.” The second statement of equality of Jew and Gentile.
But the most interesting defense is Peter’s final statement, “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.”
Note how, in view of the Judaizers’ attempt to elevate their Jewish heritage and covenant over the Gentiles, Peter switches tactics. Rather than listing the Jews first or speaking of making the Gentiles equal to the Jews, Peter now informs the Judaizers that the salvation of the Gentiles is the standard for the salvation of the Jews—“we (the Jews – TC) shall be saved in the same manner as they” (the Gentiles – TC).
From that point the multitude was silenced (v 12), allowing Paul and Barnabas to rehearse their own experiences in preaching the to Gentiles. Finally, James says that all of this is the fulfillment of Amos’s prophecy in Amos 9:11-12.
All men who will be saved, will be saved by the grace of God and in the same manner. There is only one plan of salvation—”there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph 4:5).