Everybody seems to forget the differences between justification and sanctification.
Justification is to become in right-standing with YHWH. The church calls this salvation.
Sanctification is the process of bearing fruit, after justification. If you bear no fruit, then you have no evidence that you are justified. The fruit of justification (which is sanctification), is keeping the commandments. The church calls it “changing your life”. Now, this is where the big debate comes in.
Firstly, justification comes by favour through faith. There is no other way to be justified in our Father’s eyes. Father has grace on us, and grants us a whole bunch of stuff (pulling us to Him, convicting our hearts to convince us we are lost without Him, sending His Son to the cross to die for our sins, and to nail the certificate of debt that we have against us, to the cross (Col 2:14), etc, etc), after which we are in right-standing with him. We are justified, if we believe in Him and in His trustworthiness to grant us eternal life (the resurrection), no matter what. All of this is done via grace. We do not deserve it, and there is nothing we can do to deserve this.
After this, almost everyone with an upright heart, believe that our lives should change. Some believe this to mean that you should keep the 10 commandments. Others, the two commandments (love Elohim and love your neighbour), others again, the sermon on the mount, other still the Torah, and others believe you should just live a moral life style.
The problem with all of these (except for Torah), is that they’re not specific in what they mean. So, you never know if your life really changed or not. For example, how do you love God? You keep the first 4 commandments. Then, how do you keep the sabbath holy? You read the Torah, which breaks down the sabbath into what you are allowed to, and are not allowed to do.
They’re all just summaries of each other. I handle this in another post on this site, and you can get more information about this point there.
Now, Acts 15 is about a group of people that taught those in the church of Galatia to work for their salvation. They told them that they must uphold the law of Moses, in order to be saved. They were preaching the law for justification. There is an excellent verse by verse through Galatians study over here, if you would like to get an accurate picture of Galatians, from a Torah observant perspective.
The answer given in Acts 15 by James, speaks of sanctification, not justification. James states that they must do these 4 things as a start, and then go study the Torah in the synagogues every sabbath, in every city (verse 21, IIRC). He implies that they are already saved, but now must start the process of sanctification. Now, were they really saved? Of course they were! Paul was there to teach them more in the ways of Elohim, and calls them” brethren”.
They start this process by removing those things out of their lifestyle that was incompatible with the lifestyle of a believer (drink blood, sex orgies in the temples of idols, eating strangled animals with the blood still in them, and eating offerings to idols. You see, these Galatians were previously all pagans (you can research this for yourselves, but there is extensive historical evidence for this fact). They’ve just started their new walk with YHWH, and they started to add YHWH to their list of idols. Pagans have many gods, so they were seeing YHWH as just one of these, and adding Him to their list of false gods. James explains that this doesn’t work this way. They have to get rid of all these other practices, since this does not look like the life of a believer in YHWH. After they’ve done these four things, they can then learn the Torah, as Acts 15 states in verse 21.
21“For from ancient generations Mosheh has, in every city, those proclaiming him – being read in the congregations every Sabbath.”
You see, this is pretty much only about Sanctification. Eight out of ten times, when Paul’s words are twisted to support lawlessness, this is exactly the issue. Nobody knows to discern the difference between justification and sanctification. The whole of the letter to the Galatians is because of this exact issue. And the church uses the book of Galatians to support their doctrine of lawlessness, above any other book in the bible. But Paul never means to say that we are not supposed to keep the Torah. He is merely saying that we should not keep the Torah in order to get salvation. You do it afterward, during the process of sanctification.
Shalom, and may YHWH bless you.