Daily Reading: 6-7-16
Galatians 2:11-14 New Living Translations (NLT)
Yesterday, we looked at a passage from Genesis that reminded us our faith will be stretched. That reminder is necessary so we will always be prepared to protect the joy of our salvation and our trust in the Lord’s Love for us. He disciplines those He loves; He guides those who welcome renewal.
Today, we will read a passage from Paul’s letter to the Galatians. This is a great reminder why our faith needs to be stretched; our souls need a dose of divine healing and renewal to reflect the heart of God. As Christ’s followers we must be more concerned with pleasing the Lord than pleasing people. Peter is going to experience that love and faith-stretching lesson in a public confrontation.
Galatians 2:11-14 Paul Confronts Peter
11 But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. 12 When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile believers, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. 13 As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.
14 When I saw that they were not following the truth of the gospel message, I said to Peter in front of all the others, “Since you, a Jew by birth, have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile, why are you now trying to make these Gentiles follow the Jewish traditions?
Peter has enjoyed fellowship with non-Jewish new converts until some Jewish Law-abiding folks he wants to impress start coming around. All of a sudden, Peter distances himself from these new Christ followers, because they do not honor the Jewish rules regarding circumcision, Sabbath observances, and kosher food. Under Jewish Law, for a Jew to share a meal with outsiders (Gentiles) would make him unclean. Paul calls Peter out over this hypocrisy. Paul is compelled to draw attention to the wrong spirit and bring it out into the open; he has to stop this unloving superiority because it is an infection to the soul that is contagious. The Spirit desires to redeem the soul of this wrong mindset (religious spirit), because our devotion must be to the Lord of Love and not simply to outward practices that give a false pretense of the state of the heart. We need to Love people into the kingdom, because the only way to enter is the faithfulness of Christ to connect with people and the work of the Holy Spirit to clean us up!
Prayer: Lord, I need this Word, today. I know you want me to reflect Your heart accurately as You reach out through me to love others into the Kingdom. May I remember grace is the only power that can bring renewal. Holy Spirit, help me to please the Father with my soul. In Jesus’ name. Amen.