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Christ is Enough…to Change What Needs Changin’ – Blog and Podcast

September 21, 2018

In the last half of Galatians 2, Paul tells of Peter coming to where Paul was in Antioch. Antioch is where the believers were first called Christians. Paul felt need to confront Peter for something that Peter was doing. In Acts 10 we read of Peter receiving a vision from the Lord in a dream. In this vision, Peter was told by the Lord to kill and eat some animals that had always been forbidden for Jews to partake of, they were not kosher. The Lord was communicating to Peter that no longer were certain foods declared to be forbidden for kosher reasons. It was part of breaking down the walls between Jews and Gentiles and uniting everyone under the grace covenant – under the Lordship of Christ.

Peter began regularly eating with the Gentiles, with not only the dietary, but the spiritual dividing wall being torn down by the tearing of the temple curtain when Jesus said, “It is finished”. However, once the Judaizers came to town, Peter withdrew from that crowd and separated himself from them. Others in their crowd began to join in that, including Paul’s companion Barnabas.

You can call it what you want, but some would call it hypocrisy, others might call Peter and the others two-faced. This said to the Gentiles that you are okay for me to fellowship with until my radical Jewish friends come to town. After they go away maybe I’ll be able to fellowship with you again. If you are the Gentiles, what does that cause you to think? For centuries you’ve been told you are second-class citizens, now Jesus has come and removed the dividing wall only to have a few bullies come to town and cause Peter and the others to cave on their beliefs.

Not only is it two-faced, it says what they think about their faith. They aren’t confident enough in their trust in Christ. They feel they have to prove themselves righteous, demonstrate their holiness by refraining from certain foods and not fellowshipping with these Gentiles. That is textbook hypocrisy. Paul states it well here.

Galatians 2:19-20, “19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Changing who we are depending on the crowd we are in really just means we aren’t really who we believe we are.

It is Christ who saved us, Christ who changes us, so that we could be freed from all of those earthly expectations and put our faith and trust and hope in Him.

 

Paul says when I received Christ…

I died to the law (so that I might live for God) – He is not saying obeying law is bad. Christ came to fulfill the law, but to try and find your justification in it would be exhausting, and fruitless.  Paul acknowledges that to receive the blood of Christ on his life and then to go back to the Jewish ways is not living for God but living for the law. The law would become his god and the very first commandment is “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

Paul says when I received Christ…

I am crucified with Christ– not that I physically die, but the man of flesh, the former me that lived for me is dead and buried. As I pursue my walk with Christ, He continues to crucify unnecessary things in my life, but it is He that does that work. I simply follow His lead and obey.

Paul says when I received Christ…

I live by faith (in the Son of God)– No longer am I trusting in whether I’m good enough, Christ has declared me righteous. I now rely on Christ’s Spirit within me, Christ’s Word implanted in me, and Christ’s church as my allegiance. Does that mean if I’m free from the law that I can go on living in sinful ways? Romans 6:1-2, “1What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? 2Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”

Paul says when I received Christ…

I embraced grace– Paul said if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing. The Judaizers wanted to say yes you should come to Christ, but you should also be as Jewish as you can. Putting those kinds of stipulations on the Gospel compromises it and makes it not the Gospel of Christ. It reduces grace to something that is earned, which is no longer grace.

 Christ doesn’t want you to add things to your life, but He may want to take away some distractions. Once again I say…

Changing who we are depending on the crowd we are in really just means we aren’t really who we believe we are.  

Living for Christ should not put a weight upon you but should take some weight away.Why are you trying to do things yourself when the grace of Christ is available to you to live as a Child of God?

I’m reminded of the David Crowder song that says, “All my hope is in Jesus. Thank God, my yesterday’s gone. All my sins are forgiven. I’ve been washed by the blood.”

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Palestine, TX

From → Blog Posts, Podcasts

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