Not Goodbye but Farewell, do well.
Acts 15: 29
“You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell. “
This is not a compromise with circumcision. The letter from the Jerusalem HQ was not saying ‘if you do the following then you won’t have to be circumcised’.
In fact the vocabulary is far less than a commandment, ‘you will do well’.
However, the whole point is that they aim for unity. Jerusalem and Antioch must not part company. The circumcision issue must not divide. If these Gentile believers paid attention to these practices associated with idolatry then it will make for an easier relationship with Jerusalem.
It is a lesson for us all. Do not let your actions cause division. Even if you feel totally free to take such an action, do not offend your brothers and sisters.
Farewell. Let it go well with you. May you be blessed. The sign-off is good, it is wholesome and it is for their benefit. Jerusalem want Antioch to prosper. That’s how we should address each other too. That’s how we should end the conversation. That is how we part company. We leave no room for any escalation of division.
I have had to say goodbye to many in my life. Some couldn’t come with me and some didn’t want to. Others left me and I couldn’t go with them. I know I will face in the near future the same situation –
But as I reflect back I ask myself did I say farewell? Did I bless them? I think of them as I write this and I wonder how they are doing. I hope they are doing well.