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Already Free (Part 5)
Series: Already Free, A Study on the Book of Galatians
In this study I want to talk about one of the most challenging things we will have to do in life, and that is to correct or confront someone in the wrong. Maybe it is a friend, a church member, a child, or a family member. If you’ve lived long enough you know there are a million ways we can get this wrong, but I’ve learned there is one way we can get this right. The Bible instructs us to speak the truth in love.
I think we’ve got the first part down. When we feel we are right and what we have to say is truthful, we are more than ready to give others a piece of our mind. I mean, how can they stand against the truth? But you’ve probably also learned that simply telling someone the truth is not an effective motivating factor for change, especially if that truth is spoken in a tone of defensiveness, harshness, and just downright meanness.
So how do we get this right? How does one successfully correct another sister in the faith by speaking the truth in love? Well, in today’s text we see Paul set a great example on how to do just that. In our “Already Free” series we’ve seen Paul explain that he is not in slavery to the opinions of others because he is secure in what God thinks of him. To prove this point even further, in Galatians 2:11-21 Paul shares of a time when we confronts the apostle Peter. In showing his willingness to confront one of the most prominent and respected leaders in the Jerusalem Church, Paul is showing his allegiance to the gospel of Jesus Christ over people pleasing.
While Peter was in a city called Antioch he freely ate and fellowshipped with non-Jewish Christians. However, once some Jewish Christians joined Peter in Antioch, Peter started to distance himself from the non-Jewish Christians, the Gentiles. He was afraid of what his Jewish-Christian counterparts would think of him associating with others outside of his culture. Why was this wrong? Because Peter was falling away from the truth of the gospel that grants fellowship to all those who place their faith in Christ, a relationship based on grace through faith, not tradition, background, or culture. Peter was wrong, and Paul was not afraid to confront him on the matter. But it’s how Paul confronts Peter that we can learn a great deal from.
Paul shows Peter the hypocrisy in his actions by reminding Peter that both Jew and Gentile are saved by grace through faith. This point was the core fact that Paul wanted to get across to Peter. By falling into the thought that one needed to follow Jewish custom and culture to be saved, Peter was forfeiting the grace of Christ.
Paul’s rebuke was not to show that he was right and Peter was wrong. His rebuke was to get Peter back in line with the truth of t ...
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