No Perfect People Allowed


I once attended an outreach event at a small church designed to reach the lost. It was a classic car show. Hundreds of unchurched people brought their cars to show off to the public. Once I arrived to look at all the cars, I saw a sign with ten rules posted that in NO WAY would make a first-time visitor feel welcome. The list included such things as “No hats to be worn inside the church.” It was filled with rules that were designed for the perfect person, not a person who needs Jesus. I felt uncomfortable for all the people who would see this sign. The sign should have read, “No Perfect People Allowed.”

  • When was a time that you joined a team or organization only to realize there was more required of you than you had initially been told?


15:1 But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question. 3 So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers. 4 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them. 5 But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses.”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. According to the men in the first verse and the Pharisees in verse 5, what was required to be saved?
  2. Why do you think Paul and Barnabas were debating with these men about this? What was at stake in this debate?
  3. Would outsiders looking at the church today think that faith in Jesus is all that is required for salvation? Or do Christians sometimes communicate that faith in Jesus plus __________(fill in the blank) is required to be saved?


Paul and Barnabas were faced with men who believed that people had to follow all the Law to be saved. Paul and Barnabas argued that Jesus died on the cross, so we don’t have to meet all the “to-do” lists that were once required to be considered clean and to be saved. We will never be perfect and never be good enough in our own power to be saved. Jesus gave us a free gift that allows imperfect humans to know him.

  • Thank God that Jesus Christ lived a perfect life and died for our sins so we imperfect humans can accept the free gift of salvation.
  • Talk to God about what this means to you today.