STANDING FOR TRUTH
GALATIANS 2:14-16 NKJ
14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, "If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? 15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
The letters that were written by Paul in the New Testament were letters written to churches. Paul would use these letters to teach, encourage and correct the people and leadership of these churches.
The book of Galatians was a letter written to a group of churches in Galatia. Paul is very correctional in this letter because of the wrong teaching that had infected these churches.
In all of Paul's letters, his biggest concern is regarding wrong doctrine or wrong teaching, Paul knew how truth can make a person free, but lies can bring people into bondage.
The challenge at Galatia was the teaching that in order to be right in God's sight, a person had to keep Jewish laws. The early church had a difficult time accepting that Jesus no longer made a separation between Jew and Gentile. The Jewish converts struggled with going back under the law instead of rejoicing in the freedom that belonged to them in Christ.
In our verses for today, Paul recalls his confrontation of Peter. Peter had been fine with all the Gentile converts until some Jewish leaders arrived from Jerusalem. When these men showed up, Peter withdrew from the Gentiles. And Paul called him out on his hypocrisy.
It is not keeping the works of the Old Testament law that makes one justified. Justified means declared righteous. We are made righteous, right in God's sight, by faith in Christ Jesus. No other way works. There is no other way to be right with God apart from Jesus.
When we received Jesus by faith, we were justified, made right in God's sight. So now, when we do good works, serve, give, pray for others, we act from a place of acceptance with God, not for acceptance from Him.
The truth of the gospel is that we could never earn our way into God's righteousness. We received our righteousness by faith in Christ.
In Galatians, we can hear Paul's urgency. It's not your heritage or efforts that matter; it's only through faith in Jesus that we are made right with God.
Thank you, Lord. You did for me what I could never have done on my own. Thank you for making me right in God’s sight!