But when Peter came to Antioch, I resisted him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before some people came from James, he ate with the Gentiles. But when they came, he drew back and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews joined him in his hypocrisy; so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.
But when I saw that they didn’t walk uprightly according to the truth of the Good News, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live as the Gentiles do, and not as the Jews do, why do you compel the Gentiles to live as the Jews do?
“We, being Jews by nature, and not Gentile sinners, yet knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the law, because no flesh will be justified by the works of the law.
But if, while we sought to be justified in Christ, we ourselves also were found sinners, is Christ a servant of sin? Certainly not! For if I build up again those things which I destroyed, I prove myself a law-breaker. For I, through the law, died to the law, that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me. That life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me. I don’t make void the grace of God. For if righteousness is through the law, then Christ died for nothing!”
Wow. I wonder what Paul would think if he were here with us today. 30,000 denominations of God’s people. 30,000 ways we’ve chosen to separate from one another. 30,000 ways we’re trying to rebuild law. Dear God and Father, have mercy on our souls.
- Paul actually breaks the teaching of Jesus here. Jesus told us that when we have an issue with a brother, we’re to go him individually and hash things out one-on-one. Are there times when we should call out our brothers and sisters in a crowd today?
- If faith in Christ is the only thing that justifies us, why do you think religious organizations pile on other “have-tos”?
- Like the law did for the Jews, our every effort at religion will woefully fail and point us back to the simplicity that is found in the Good News of Jesus Christ. Agree or disagree?
- Are you, like Paul, crucified with Christ and Christ living through you?
- Do you live your life by faith in the Son of God?
- Do you seek righteousness through a “new law”?
Our Father, forgive us when we turn back to religion, or law. Forgive us when we want to do anything—anything besides living in the simplicity of the gospel and faith in Jesus Christ. Amen.