October 21, 2016
There they were, two powerful individuals, much in common, yet much diversity between the two. The rugged fisherman in one corner, the learned Pharisee in the other. Peter vs. Paul – headlining here in chapter two of Galatians. Paul confronted Peter face to face (v. 11ff) as well as the others, taking a stand against legalism and ruining the full message of the cross.
The Judaizers had a powerful influence. These Judaizers were Jews who converted to Christianity and who wanted to impose certain aspects of the Jewish Law upon Gentile believers. One significant aspect was circumcision (but it wasn’t the only one).
This portion of chapter two is one of the most powerful, pro-gospel chapters in the Bible. In fact, vv. 15-16 were some of the verses the Holy Spirit used to touch Martin Luther’s life in a powerful way, helping him see the love and grace of God is found fully in the work of Jesus at the cross, not us doing the works of the law. These verses helped spark the Reformation.
Personally, I love the wonderful message of truth found in v. 21, “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” I do not set aside the grace of God. No, I humbly come face to face with it. For God’s grace has sought me. God’s grace has run after me. God’s grace has grabbed hold of me and is giving me the strength to never let go. In this grace I lift my eyes to the hills. I know from where my help comes. (Psalm 121:1)
How wonderful it is to be face to face with the love of God found in Jesus Christ. To know full well that Christ has done the work for us is such a relief. I don’t need to follow any aspect of the law, any ritual or any ceremony of man to be saved. Granted, because I’m saved, my life will indeed reflect His goodness as I also know based on v. 20, “Christ lives in me.”
I must say, in this crazy world of politics, debates, lies and media bias; in this sinful world where nations rise against nations, I look forward to the day I see God face to face. Not because I think He will be proud of me for living such a godly life. No, but to see God who willingly sent His Son, His only Son, to live the perfect life I’ve been unable to. To see God who has rescued me from my selfishness. To see God who loves all people, from all nations and who has made the Way for all to be saved. Knowing my salvation is secure because of God’s grace through faith in Jesus as my Savior, I live in a freedom unknown to sinful man. It is my prayer that all people can come to know of this freedom because of the mighty face off with His grace. So glad He won my heart. Has He won yours?
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, you are not a faceless God. You are not a God who has no name. You are the God of Heaven and Earth and the hearts and souls of each of person ever born. Continue to send Your Holy Spirit to give me strength to never set aside Your grace. Amen!