(Galatians 2:11-21)…One thing I admire about Paul is the boldness he had to tell it like it was. Peter, of all people, had fallen into a classic example of legalism, and in a way salvation by works. He was living like a Gentile, when other Jews weren’t around, but then stay away from the Gentiles when Jews were around. He was also trying to get the Gentiles to follow the Jewish customs. Paul got after Peter and accused him of being quite the hypocrite and at the same time confusing believers.
Paul states quite clearly that if you try to live by the law you are going to die by it. Salvation doesn’t come by living up to the law, we can’t do it, we’re sinful people. We can only have salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. I love how Paul says clearly that if salvation could be gain through the law then Christ died for nothing. That’s a pretty bold statement, however it is exactly true.
The verse that stands out to me the most is Galatians 2:20. When I came to faith in Christ it was at that moment that my old self was put on the cross and a new life was born through Him. What I love about this is the promise of new life. And that new life doesn’t ever go away. We may fall, yet our new life is still there for us. Christ’s salvation is a free and eternal gift. We can mess up and come running back to Him. I love that! I’m so thankful for a gracious loving God who allows me to come back to Him no matter what. And I know that there is nothing I can do in this world to gain God’s favor, Christ finished it all when He died on the cross. Salvation is a gift, and you never work for a gift, it’s free! Thanks for that!
(Galatians 1:6-16)…When Paul wrote the letter to the church in Galatia he was confronting them about their current situation. They were lending an ear, and even beginning to follow, other gospels that were being preached. He scolded them and told them straight out that these other gospels were not even gospels at all. He was making it clear that there is only one true Gospel. He goes on to say that whether even an angel or anyone preaches a gospel that is different than the one that was already given that it is false and that the ones that preached it should be eternally condemned. He repeats this so you know he was being pretty strong about this.
Paul explains that the Gospel did not come from man, or even him, but it was given divinely by God. He said that when God revealed the Gospel to him he didn’t first consult anyone, but went straight to sharing the Gospel given to him by God.
So what does this mean in light of our current times? I think we can all see a lot of man-made, or distorted, gospels flying around. The same problem that the church in Galatia had is prevalent even in many of today’s churches. There are preachers and religious groups that bend God’s Word to server their own desires. The Scriptures clearly state that they should not be added to or taken away from. We need to always be going straight to God’s Word whenever something religious is being preached. Preachers that don’t use God’s Word for the basis of their preaching need to be scrutinized against what the Word says.
I want to make certain that I never let my interpretation, or someone else’s interpretation, take the place of the truth given in God’s Word. Even in light of leading tomorrow’s Bible study, there can’t be human thought that takes the place of what the Bible clearly gives us. The Bible’s truth is solid and does not bend to our whims.
(Matthew 10:16-42) In today’s passage it is very clear that there is a price for following Christ. It is something that can cause even family to be at odds. The command however is that not even family is to come before Christ. It can be so easy to put others or things above God, even easier to use your family ties as an excuse to change your witness as a follower of Christ.
There may come times were it is looked down upon, or even outlawed, to be a follower of Christ. No matter what we are to live our lives according to Christ’s example and trust in the protection and safety of God. There is a reward for following Christ, the ultimate being eternal life with God. Sacrificing our faith for anything in this world will go unrewarded. We need to stand firm and follow Christ.
(Philippians 3:4-11) Paul, who was Saul, knows more than anyone about the freedom that Christ brought from the Law. If there was ever a great conversion story, Paul’s would have to top them all. To see a man turn to the very thing he hated and fought against, shows a major life change. That is the amazing power that the Gospel has.
The law handed down from Moses, was given so that we could see our need for Christ, the only one who could truly keep that law and save of from certain death. We can never attain what God demans of us, but Christ stands in our place, as a looking glass for God the Father to look through at us. What is seen of us through Christ is perfection.
Do we deserve this gift that was given to us? By no means. Romans 6:23 says that the payment for our failure is death, and enternal seperation from God. However, John 3:16, God loved us enough that he let His own Son die in our place so that our relationship with Him could be restored. As followers of Christ, we are no longer seperated from the Father because of our failures. Christ said on that cross, “It is finished”. Amen!