Act 11:25  Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:

Act 11:26  And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.


The purpose of this study is so that a firm understanding can be achieved concerning why we as members of the body of Christ are called Christians today. Acts chapter 11 verse 26 is where we first come across the word ‘Christians,’ also in chapters 10 and 11 is where God reveals to Israel the issue that He was making a dispensational change in His dealings with all mankind.


Act 11:15  And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.

Act 11:16  Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.

Act 11:17  Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?

Act 11:18  When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.


In Acts 10 Peter was sent by the Lord to Cornelius’s house (Peter’s first visit to a Gentile after the Lord’s death) as a sign to the believing remnant of Israel to show them that God has made a dispensational change in His program with Israel, and that God “hath cleansed” the things that were once “common or unclean.”


Act 1:6  When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

Act 15:8  And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;

Act 15:9  And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

Act 15:10  Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

Act 15:11  But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.


Before Peter went unto Cornelius the issue was that Israel was waiting for their prophesied kingdom to come in, but in Acts 10 Peter was given to understand that Israel’s kingdom was not “at hand” anymore. Peter saw that God had given the Gentiles “repentance unto life” and that He “put no difference” between the Jew and the Gentile. In “times past” God set Israel apart and above all nations of the earth, and with that He gave His nation a name, but in Acts 11 the “disciples” (the saved remnant of Israel, and the saved Gentiles) were all called Christians for the first time in Antioch. Both the believing remnant of Israel and the saved Gentiles were called disciples, and they both were called Christians as well. Because God had “broken down the middle wall of partition” between both Jew and Gentile, Peter saw that he could not “withstand God” by continuing to cause a separation between both Jew and Gentile. God had now made the Gentiles “partakers” of the household of God, and for the first time Peter realized this dispensational change and because of this, both Jew and Gentile were now “called” Christians in Acts chapter 11. When it comes to the issue of our salvation from the debt and penalty of our sins, and our justification unto eternal life, God has “put no difference” between Jew and Gentile (see the study “Justifications and Salvations”) God saves and justifies both by faith and faith alone. And Peter says in verse 11; “we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they,” what Peter is saying is that ‘we believe that we shall be saved, even as they (the Gentiles) also believe.’ However the issue of our sanctification and our vocation are completely different from each other; with one concerning the earth, and all of the covenants and promises for Israel, and one concerning all of our spiritual blessings that are ours in heavenly places.


Eph 2:13  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Eph 2:14  For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

Eph 2:15  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

Eph 2:16  And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

Eph 2:17  And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

Eph 2:18  For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

Eph 2:19  Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;


As saints and members of His body we must understand Israel’s program as well as ours, but some will think that it can be harmful to your edification to read and study doctrine within Israel’s program, but that would cause a separation within the church of the body of Christ, and leave many ignorant of God’s plan and purpose for Israel as a nation. The name “Christian” applies to anyone (Jew or Gentile) that God the Father has “granted repentance unto life” unto, and this is because we “both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”

Rod Jones


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