“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men. Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” (Tit. 2:11-12)
From The High Standards of God for End-Times Christians
The new preaching of Paul and Barnabas in Antioch Pisidia exposed the fact that some practicing Jews, going through the mere outward motions of religious observances, were worshipping God for naught. Along these lines, Paul explains in Romans 9:6 “For they are not all Israel, who are of Israel.” Paul goes on to say in Romans 11:2 that: “God hath not cast away his people whom he foreknew” and in the previous verse says that he himself is also a Jew, believing in Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Savior. Paul and Barnabas, both Jews, preached Jesus Christ crucified and risen from the grave for the remission of our sins into a new and living way.
This new gospel message exposed the large gulf between people performing religious practices in a purely mechanical exercise according to cultural expectations, without their heart and mind being truly committed and engaged, and a genuine journey of faith following Jesus Christ through unconventional life-scripts composed by God to reveal Himself individually to people. This was described by Jeremiah as the new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34). The new covenant preaching of Paul and Barnabas in Antioch Pisidia brought the journey-of-faith experience back full-circle to the promise of God to make Abraham, the father of faith, a blessing to all nations (Genesis 12:3; 22:18).
Jews and Gentiles alike, sitting together two thousand years later in the synagogue in Antioch Pisidia, fulfilled this ancient promise. The transition from the old covenant to the new covenant, inaugurating the new church age, exposed the emptiness of religious practices performed solely to enjoy the benefits of conforming to cultural expectations. The new covenant opened wide the already existing entrance into a life of faith in God first introduced through the life of faith of Abraham in Canaan years before, and perfected through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Lamb of God sacrificed for our sins.