The apostles Paul and Peter certainly have quite a colorful relationship throughout the bible, in the second chapter of the book of Galatians Paul wrote about his rebuking Peter, an fellow disciple of equal standing in the eyes of God
While Catholics believe Peter held a higher position than Paul among the Christian church, critics debate both apostles even preached the same gospel. The fact is both are wrong.
The bottom line as explained in this scripture is that Peter and Paul were of equal status as determined by Christ Himself, but more importantly the message behind this scripture is that all believers, no matter the status or rank, who stray from the narrow path need rebuke.
“11 When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong.” (Galatians 2:11)
Around A.D. 51 Paul was preaching in Antioch, the largest city of the Roman province of Syria when he rebuked Peter for hypocrisy.
“12 Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group.” (Galatians 2:12)
The men sent by James were Jews who would not approve of Peter’s parting with the Jewish law by eating with Gentiles. It was and continues to be Jewish law that Jews should only eat food in tune with the old testament.
Peter’s decision to break bread with Gentiles should never have been an issue, when it became one Paul addressed it with confidence brought on by the Holy Spirit.
“13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.” (Galatians 2:13)
The other Jews in Antioch joined with Peter and separated themselves from the Gentiles taking Barnabas with them.
When Paul saw this he public ally rebuked Peter citing the fact he, Peter was acting differently around Jews than Gentiles.
“14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?” (Galatians 2:14)
Here Paul takes a stand for what he knows is right and according to the gospel. Doing so is not only acceptable to God, it is a duty assigned to all Christians, to rebuke one another with Christ like love.
“15 We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ 16 know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.” (Galatians 2:15-16)
The apostle Paul outlines the fact on one will be saved by observing the law, that salvation comes only through faith in Jesus Christ, through repentance of sins and baptism in the Holy Spirit.
“17 If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not!” (Galatians 2:17)
Paul takes a stand against those who promote lies about salvation through abiding the law, exclaiming that Christ does not at all promote sin. INstead sinners are saved by faith in spite of the law.
“18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. 19 For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.” (Galatians 2:18-19)
Paul calls anyone who tries to reinstate the law a “transgressor” surely bound for great judgment. The apostle then admits his spirituality in reference to the law was dead while it is now alive in Jesus Christ through faith in the Lord.
“20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
All sinners were crucified and killed when they were saved as we are born again through Jesus Christ who died for our sins, so that we could inherit the gift of eternal life.
“21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Galatians 2:21)
Paul concludes that Christ’ sacrifice was meant to save us from the lake of fire as we choose instead the inheritance that stems from faith and glory to God.
In this scripture we find out that it is sometimes necessary to rebuke fellow Christians as long as it is done according to the word and will of God. Rebuking must be handled with assertion, not aggression, with Christ like love, not evil like hatred or judgment.
Let us pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Paul,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Rev. Daniel St.Pierre