We're so glad you chose to join us today!
When we meet in person, we take time to share our joys and concerns. Consider your last week. If you have any prayer requests you can add them to the comments on this post. When you are ready, use the prayer below (source) to get started.
Help us understand that in Christ we are dead to law; we have been crucified with Christ so that we might live unto you.
Let Christ live within me. Let the life that I now live in the flesh be a life that I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Don't ever let me believe anything, espouse anything, do anything that might nullify your grace or imply that Christ died in vain.
Let me today, this day, and every day of my life, live from the power of Christ, live by the example of Christ, and live for the glory of Christ.
In the name of Christ I pray. Amen.
This week's lesson is on Galatians 2:11-21.
Much of this week's lesson comes from gotquestions.org.
Paul and Peter meet in Antioch. Paul uses Peter’s Aramaic name, Cephas (pronounced Kephas). The incident involves a misrepresentation of the gospel; an unwarranted separation of Jews from Gentiles, Paul publicly rebukes Peter. This incident reminds us that even God’s apostles were only human and could make serious mistakes.
Peter knew that he had been justified by faith and not by law, but he was still requiring that others live like Jews. It appears Peter was motivated by fear of what the Jewish believers would say about his fellowshipping with Gentiles. That fear led to hypocrisy. Peter had received the gift of justification by faith and then, in essence, required others to pursue sanctification by works.
In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he exhorts the believers spread throughout the region of Galatia to understand that, just as their justification was by faith and apart from works of law, so was their sanctification. After Paul explains how he received the knowledge of that truth directly from Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:11–12), he describes his early ministry and how he first engaged with the other apostles, including Peter (see Galatians 1:18; John 1:42). While Peter and Paul were both remarkably used by God as apostles, Paul records an incident at Syrian Antioch in Galatians 2:11–14 that reminds us that even God’s apostles were only human and could make serious mistakes.
When Cephas came to Antioch, Paul opposed him (Galatians 2:11), because Cephas had stopped engaging with Gentiles out of fear of the Jewish leaders (Galatians 2:12). He had been eating with the Gentile believers, but when a contingency of Jews arrived from Jerusalem, Peter withdrew from the Gentile crowd. Many of the Jews in the region, along with Barnabas, fell into that error, following Peter’s example. Paul branded that as hypocrisy (Galatians 2:13). Seeing that this segregation was not consistent with the gospel, Paul rebuked Peter openly, saying, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?” (Galatians 2:14).
Peter knew that he had been justified by faith and not by law, but he was still requiring that others live like Jews (as under the law, Galatians 2:14). It appears Peter was motivated by fear of what the Jewish believers would say about his fellowshipping with Gentiles. That fear led to hypocrisy. Peter had received the gift of justification by faith and then, in essence, required others to pursue sanctification by works.
Peter had fallen from his knowledge of God’s grace and the freedom provided in Christ. This tale reminds us that anyone who thinks he stands should take heed lest he fall—we are never too big to fail.
After Paul’s painful lesson, Peter wrote extensively of God’s grace. In his epistles, Peter affirms that sanctification is a work of the Spirit of God and not a result of works or obedience to the law. Peter also affirmed Paul, referring to him as a beloved brother to whom God gave wisdom He refers to Paul’s letters as Scripture, even if sometimes they were hard to understand.
Despite the failings Peter and Paul, both men faithfully presented God’s message of grace, and Peter closes out his own writings by encouraging his readers to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”.
Father, help us live consistently for you so that your gospel might be seen in and through us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
Thought to Remember
Christ’s love moves us to welcome all the faithful to the table.
This week's benediction is from the New International Version.
Next week's lesson will be on Galatians 3:1-14.
We are a small, rural Presbyterian church in southwestern Pennsylvania.