13 “After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name.” (Acts 15:13–14)
James followed Peter, Barnabas and Paul in addressing the Jerusalem Council. The James in question is the half-brother of Jesus, leader in the Jerusalem Church, and the author of the New Testament Epistle which bears his name.
He agreed with the previous speakers that justification by faith alone was the heart of the Gospel and the heart of the Gospel was justification by faith alone. This doctrine is a non-negotiable.
James indicated that God had visited the Gentiles. In other words, the salvation of the Gentiles by grace alone, through faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone was a work of God the Father alone. The justification of Gentiles was not the church’s idea, or even the apostles, but God’s.
James also said that God did this in order to take from the Gentiles “a people for His name.” James would take this phrase from the Prophet Amos and apply it to the evangelizing of the Gentiles. Amos 9:11-12, as quoted in Acts 15:16-17, says, 16 “After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, 17 that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes these things 18 known from of old.”
In quoting the Old Testament Prophet Amos, James was interpreting that Amos said that God would restore the temple in Jerusalem and that both Jews and Gentiles would worship the LORD at that place. James indicated that this prophecy was fulfilled with God’s salvation of the Gentiles.
Praise the Lord today that you are one who He has chosen to be one of His people: whether you be Jew or Gentile.
Soli deo Gloria!