19 ‘It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21 For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.’
Having decided that the Gentiles don’t need to follow the Jewish Law, James makes these recommendations. Is this a contradiction? No. He is not saying that they need to follow these to be saved or part of the church, rather, he is saying that if they adopt these practises it will much easier for them to have fellowship with the Jews in the church who still follow them. The principle is that sometimes it is better not to insist on our ‘rights’ or ‘freedoms’ but put them to one side for the benefit of stronger relationships within the church.
Father, thank you that Jesus put aside his freedom to make it possible for me to be a part of the family. Help me by your Spirit have the same attitude that puts relationship with others before my own desires or rights.