Galatians 2:11-21 (AD 48)
All may have looked great in Gentile-Jewish Christian relations until Peter blew it, distancing himself from his Gentile brothers and sisters by refusing to eat with them when the Judaisers turned up. He showed himself, for a time, to be a hypocrite who turned other Jews (even Barnabas) into a hypocrite with him.
So if you think that you’re too stable or well-versed or comfortable in the key truths of the gospel, think again. You don’t know anything as well as Peter knew it, and yet when he got scared, he (temporarily) threw it all away to avoid hardship, peer-pressure, or even just awkwardness. That’s why we must keep thanking God for the gospel, keep reading about the gospel and keep talking about the gospel. The gospel is uncomfortable and unpopular, so we easily drift away from it, even though it’s the only thing that can save us.
You may not even realise how much you are already tempted to dilute the gospel. For example, your mind may often tell you that you’re not good enough for God to save you, or that you need to be better if he’s going to keep loving you.
So say it with Paul: “…we…have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the las no-one will be justified”(v.16).
And then, in the peace and joy that comes from an free salvation and total security, let’s “live for God” (v.19).
Or you may look at the lives of the openly, deliberately godless and think they’re done, lost forever, and lose hope or – in an even weaker moment – think they deserve it. We would do well to remember that, “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures…But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” (Titus 3:3-5).
You weren’t saved with grace and law, you were saved by grace alone, because “if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (v.21).
Thank God that he applied that grace to your life.