Galatians 2:14 (CSB) - "But when I saw that they were deviating from the truth of the gospel, I told Cephas in front of everyone, “If you, who are a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel Gentiles to live like Jews?”
Paul goes on to drive home the point of this fundamental position of freedom by an example using Peter (verses 11-21). He speaks of a time that Peter refused to fellowship with saved but uncircumcised Gentiles.
When Peter first came to Antioch, he fellowshipped with the saved Gentiles. However,
when the legalizers came – he withdrew (cowered or shrink back), became separated (marked off boundaries) possibly out of fear of what they might think. Because of Peter's example, he then caused the other Jews in Antioch to become hypocrites.
This caused Paul to stand up and confront him. Because Peter should be “condemned” or blamed. Paul gave the illustration to impress upon the Galatians that faith, not circumcision saves a Person. We are declared righteous (justification) by faith in Jesus Christ – not by a list of works. Paul wants to make it clear that no one will ever be justified by keeping the rules.
WHY? Because we can’t do it, that’s why. We will discuss more on Justification by Faith in the next lessons. We need to see that all believers crucified with Christ (19-20a). Therefore, we are dead to the law – crucified with Christ on the Cross. We are dead to the Law to Live to God. All believers are to live by the faith of the indwelling Christ (v.20b-21). We give control over to Christ - He lives in our stead. And one last thought on this - if the Law can save – Christ died in vain.
So, muse over the fact that the Law was given to show us – not how to live – but how we fail before God. The Law tells us that we are failures. The Law shows us how feeble and weak we are. The Law screams – CONDEMNED!
Christ died to show us – not how to live – but to His live through us. The Cross shows us that we are victorious. The Cross shows us that by exchanging our lives for His we have great power.
The Cross screams – FORGIVEN! Paul encourages us to die to the rules of the flesh, and to exchange our lives for Christ’s.
Prayer: May I truly understand that I cannot in any way live a victorious life apart from the redemptive work of Christ upon the Cross. May I see that in myself, I am separated from You. Because of Christ, I am free from the Law - the penalty being death. I am free to live in victory over the LAw, sin, and death. Amen.