Memory Text: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, ESV).
As we saw last week, Paul publicly confronted Peter in Antioch for the lack of consistency between the faith he advocated and the behavior he displayed. Peter’s decision no longer to eat with former pagans suggested that they were second-rate Christians, at best. His actions implied that if they really wanted to be part of the family of God and enjoy the blessings of full table fellowship, they must first submit to the rite of circumcision.
What did Paul actually say to Peter on that tense occasion? In this week’s lesson, we will study what is likely a summary of what went on. This passage contains some of the most compressed wording in the New Testament, and it is extremely significant, because it introduces us for the first time to several words and phrases that are foundational both to understanding the gospel and to the rest of Paul’s letter to the Galatians. These key words include justification, righteousness, works of law, belief, and not only faith but even the faith of Jesus.
What does Paul mean by these terms, and what do they teach us about the plan of salvation?