Galatians 2

Author

Joel King

Scripture

Galatians 2:1-21

Observations

· Paul continues to tell his story from chapter one
· The second time he visited Jerusalem was 14 years after the first
· He went, not because they summoned him, but because of a revelation
· And he wanted them to hear the Good News he was preaching to the Gentiles
· He presented only to the leaders so as not to get into senseless arguments with others
· Titus, who was with him, was not required to be circumcised by the Jewish leaders of the church in Jerusalem
· The reason it was an issue was because some folks had come pretending to be Christians but really wanted to encourage everyone to obey the old law
· Paul and his companions however would not give into them and stood by their teaching that Christians are free from the law
· The leaders of the Jerusalem church, really of no consequence to Paul, did not make any changes to what Paul was teaching
· Instead they affirmed Paul and his call to the Gentiles, much like Peter was called to spread the gospel among the Jews
· James, Peter, and John (the three big leaders of the church of Jerusalem) gave Paul and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship and affirmed their ministry to the Gentiles.
· The only request they made was that Paul not forget to help the poor, which was something he was already doing
· Paul even corrected Peter when he visited the church in Antioch
· At first Peter ate with the Gentiles, but when the Jewish brethren came from the church in Jerusalem, Peter no longer would eat with them
· The some of the other Jewish Christians did the same including Barnabas
· When Paul saw this he confronted Peter
· Why was Peter a Jew comfortable eating like a Gentile even though he was a Jew, and yet he was setting an example that the Gentiles had to obey the law in how they eat
· Paul then says that we know that no one is justified by keeping the law, but only by faith in Jesus Christ
· We want to be justified by Christ even though we are sinners.
· That doesn’t mean that Christ promotes sin
· He is not trying to rebuild the law that Jesus made null
· On the contrary, he is no longer obligated to the law, but he is obligated to God
· The old self was spiritually crucified with Jesus
· Now that Jesus died for his old self, he now lives a new life by the power of Christ in him
· Now he doesn’t live by the law, but by the power of Christ who is within him
· He now lives by following and having faith in Jesus
· The same Jesus who loves Paul and died for him
· If we can be made right with God through the law then Christ died for nothing
· The grace of God is necessary because we could not keep the law

Application

· We are all in process, even Peter stumbled over a decade after he received the Holy Spirit and was mightily preaching for Jesus
· I need to be careful that I don’t abandon simple believers and their unsophisticated spiritual mannerisms when the educated, disciplined, churched people show up
· The law is no longer the standard by which I try and attain acceptance by God
· That comes through faith in Jesus
· However, my new life should still be lived in service to Jesus as he gave his life for mine.

Prayer

Father,
Thank you for your grace, and meeting me right where I am at. Help me live by grace, and give lots of grace to others. At the same time help me grow in thankfulness that I might turn more and more of my life over to you and doing your will. Keep me from hypocrisy, and lead me into ways of your love. In Jesus Name I Pray. AMEN


8 comments (Add your own)

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Joel, thanks for your application on how you may be tempted to abandon some believers for another group. It's easy for me to keep the spotlight off my own heart and say "what was Peter thinking?!" and yet your example caused me to pause and ask how might my fellowship be altered because I'm building my identity on the approval of people over the truth of the gospel.

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