LINK: Galatians 2:11-21
In his efforts to convince the Galatians not to fall back on the Law, Paul recounted an encounter between him and Peter (also called Cephas) that had occurred at Antioch. Peter had been associating just fine with Gentile believers until certain men came and pressured him to separate himself from Gentiles. His actions gave the message that Gentiles weren't quite up to par with Jews. Paul confronted Peter because his actions were destroying the message of grace. The distinction was subtle but extremely dangerous to the gospel message. Paul made it very clear that the Law was not the basis for salvation and that having understood that, it was a sin to return to the Law. The Law had no power to save, only to kill. If the Law could have saved, then there was no point in Jesus dying on the cross. But Christ, on the other hand, had all the power to save and give life. And it's through Him that there is salvation.
Peter had been preaching the gospel of grace but not living consistently by that message. His actions communicated that keeping the Law was important to salvation, even though he wouldn't have likely stated that as truth. It's a challenge in this world to keep our lives on track with our beliefs. But that's exactly what we need to do.
Do you understand the source of your salvation? It is entirely the work of Christ that provides reconciliation between you and God. There is no effort or action you can take that would bring about your salvation. When we understand this truth, it is a very freeing thing! We realize that we need not try to obey a set of rules or do certain activities in order for God to accept us. It is truly a free gift!
Does your life reflect this gift? Are you living in freedom from the Law? Are you putting aside expectations that others keep the Law?
Do you know, really know, what you believe? Are you searching God's word daily to try to understand the teachings of scripture? Does your life reflect what you say you believe? If not, you need to (1) examine what you believe and make sure it matches scripture and (2) make the way you live your life match up with the teachings of scripture. This should be a continuous, life-long process of your life.
Lord, thank you for the free gift of salvation in Christ Jesus! May we seek to live our lives according to the gospel of grace, no longer living for ourselves, but letting Christ live through us. May all that we say and do be a testimony of your grace and demonstrate your love to others. Amen.