STUDY IN GALATIANS
GALATIANS 2:11 – 2:21
1) St. Peter Goes To Antioch
a) St. Peter initially lived in amongst the Gentiles and even ate with them
i) Remember Peter’s experience with the noonday vision (Acts 10:9ff)
ii) Peter enters Cornelius’ house (Acts 10:28ff)
iii) And the experience with the Holy Spirit coming upon the Gentile Cornelius (Acts 10:44ff)
iv) Thus, St. Peter came to Antioch and lived and ate as one of the gentile community
b) Then Judaizers arrived claiming to have come from St. James, the Brother of Our Lord
i) St. Peter withdrew from the gentiles and kept himself to the Jews
ii) While he preached the Salvation of the Gentiles, he lived as though there was not equality – for fear of the Jews
iii) Other Jewish Christians did the same thing.
iv) Even Barnabas was led astray
c) St. Paul took him to task
i) St. Peter was a leader amongst the Apostles
ii) St. Paul was not disturbed by that.
iii) St. Paul stood firm against St. Peter for his erroneous activity
iv) Martin Luther points out: “By his compromising attitude Peter confused the separation of Law and Gospel. Paul had to do something about it. He reproved Peter, not to embarrass him, but to conserve the difference between the Gospel which justifies in heaven, and the Law which justifies on earth.”
v) St. Paul had a public showdown to St. Peter’s face
vi) St. Paul was not trying to be haughty or to get a one-upmanship on St. Peter
vii) Martin Luther says, “He hath here no trifling matter in hand, but the chiefest article of all Christian doctrine….”
viii) St. Paul says, “they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel..” NIV
ix) Longenecker says, “What then is the truth of the Gospel? Every reader of the Epistle to the Galatians should know the answer to this question. …… The truth of the Gospel is the doctrine of Justification (which means acceptance before God) by grace alone through faith alone, ..” No deviation can be tolerated!!!!
x) If we must teach the straight truth – much more should we be willing to walk in it!
xi) Consider this in the light of the post-modern inclusive universalistic thought
2) The Truth of the Gospel
a) True justification is the same for all
i) Martin Luther, “This is the truth of the Gospel. It is the principle article of all Christian doctrine, …”
ii) Cranmer in the Book of Homilies, “This faith the Holy Scripture teacheth; this is the strong rock and foundation of Christian religion; this whosoever denieth is not to be counted for a true Christian …”
iii) Justification is a legal term borrowed from the law courts
(1) Opposite of condemnation
(2) To declare not guilty, innocent, or righteous
(3) God’s act of unmerited favour through which He puts the sinner right with Himself
b) Verse 15: The Jews know that justification comes through Christ and not through circumcision or following The Law
c) In fact, saved Jews have recognised that no one can be justified by observing the law
d) In verse 16 it is seen that justification is not simply an intellectual commitment.
i) The Greek word “eis” indicated believing “into” Christ Jesus
ii) It is a givenness that recognises the individual’s total need of Christ and seeking Him as a refuge and calling upon him for mercy
e) In verse 17 St. Paul addresses the question of whether or not it is necessary to be good if justification is free in Christ
i) Argument of Judaizers – if Christ justifies sinners without their having to do good works then Christ is an agent of sin
(1) Being justified without good works encourages a person to sin
(2) Today’s argument: if God justifies bad people, what is the point of being good? – Salvation is for ALL people
(3) Martin Luther – turning grace into law and law into grace
ii) Paul’s response – “mee genoita” by no means/God forbid/certainly not
f) Verse 18 answers the argument
i) If I again do that which from I have been justified I am a lawbreaker – not Christ!
ii) William Barclay: “For him (St. Paul) to re-erect the whole fabric of the law would have been spiritual suicide.”
iii) In our justification we are united to and into Christ
iv) The sinner committed to Christ is not only forgiven but also radically changed in lifestyle and actions
v) He is a new creation in Christ – Christ lives through him
g) Verse 19f it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me
i) Died to the law so that I may live for God
ii) Romans 7:7ff
(1) The Law is good
(2) The Law is spiritual
(3) The Law is holy
(4) The Law leads to knowledge of sin
(5) So that one can come to Salvation in Jesus Christ
iii) Crucified with Christ
iv) The life I live I live by faith in the Son of God – Who loved me and gave Himself for me.
v) The justified Christian is not “free to sin” because he now lives to God in Christ Jesus
vi) The old life is gone – we would be foolish to go back to it.
h) Verse 21 Paul’s Argument against his critics
i) Christian Gospel – the Grace of God
ii) Christian Faith – Christ Crucified
iii) To insist upon works as a means of Salvation is to nullify the purpose of the Death of Christ!
iv) To try to gain salvation by works is to deny both the nature of God and the mission of Christ
v) Both are unnecessary if we can control our own destiny and save ourselves
i) Man’s greatest need is justification or acceptance with God
ii) Justification is through faith in Christ – not by works
iii) Not to Trust Christ is an insult to the grace of God and the Cross of Christ
iv) Salvation in Christ is the beginning of a new and different life lived in Christ
v) William Barclay: “When St. Paul took God at His word the midnight of law’s frustration became the sunshine of grace!”
Next Session: Galatians 3:1-14