Thursday: Paul’s Concern
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The situation in Antioch surely was tense: Paul and Peter, two leaders in the church, were in open conflict. And Paul holds nothing back as he calls Peter to account for his behavior.

What reasons does Paul give for publicly confronting Peter? Gal. 2:11-14.

Paul's Concern

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As Paul saw it, the problem was not that Peter had decided to eat with the visitors from Jerusalem. Ancient traditions about hospitality certainly would have required as much.

The issue was “the truth of the gospel.” That is, it wasn’t just an issue of fellowship or dining practices. Peter’s actions, in a real sense, compromised the whole message of the gospel.

Read Galatians 3:28 and Colossians 3:11. How does the truth in these texts help us to understand Paul’s strong reaction?

During Paul’s meeting in Jerusalem with Peter and the other apostles, they had come to the conclusion that Gentiles could enjoy all of the blessings in Christ without first having to submit to circumcision. Peter’s action now put that agreement in jeopardy. Where once Jewish and Gentile Christians had joined in an environment of open fellowship, now the congregation was divided, and this held the prospect of a divided church in the future.

From Paul’s perspective, Peter’s behavior implied that the Gentile Christians were second-rate believers at best, and he believed that Peter’s actions would place strong pressure upon the Gentiles to conform if they wanted to experience full fellowship. Thus Paul says, “ ‘If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?’ ” (Gal. 2:14, ESV). The phrase “to live like Jews” can be more literally translated “to judaize.” This word was a common expression that meant “to adopt a Jewish way of life.” It was used of Gentiles who attended a synagogue and participated in other Jewish customs. It was also the reason that Paul’s opponents in Galatia, whom he calls the false brothers, are often referred to as “the Judaizers.”

As if Peter’s actions weren’t bad enough, Barnabas got caught up in this behavior, as well — someone who also should have known better. What a clear example of the power of “peer pressure”! How can we learn to protect ourselves from being swayed in the wrong direction by those around us?
Amen!(27)

Comments

Thursday: Paul’s Concern — 11 Comments

  1. It is a sad day, in the a life of a Christian. When he or she thinks of himself better than anyone else.

    Amen!(8)
  2. Like Peter, the Holy Spirit tells us how to treat people with dignity, but we yield to the popular culture which silence our conscience to the injustices that people suffer in our presence!!!

    Amen!(11)
  3. Wednesday & Thursday's lessons should be the main focus for Sabbath school teachers since they deal with such important relational/personal issues: tact, integrity, peer pressure & compromise.

    Also..there is actually a very strategic, covert bible verse weapon in Gal 2:14 ‘If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?’

    Think: Paul was also a Jew. Yet look at Acts 13:44. Was Paul forcing gentiles to live as Jews by promoting Sabbath worship for almost a whole city of gentiles in Antioch? (In other words..Judaize them)Was Paul a hypocrite for doing so? To those who think that the 7th day Sabbath is a shadow or passed away old covenant Jewish only practice Paul appears to be a hypocrite.
    According to many Christians, it can be thought so. I used these two verses to make a point on a Christian talk radio program.

    Amen!(8)
    • Paul and his crew travelled and ARRIVED on the Sabbath thereby breaking it. Additionally, he went to preach where the people were, the synagogue. THE PEOPLE begged Paul and his companions to return on the following Sabbath.
      Far from promoting Sabbath worship to the Gentiles, he simply did what any diligent preacher would, went where the people were.

      Amen!(2)
    • Jim

      Unfortunately this post is long, but we need to take a look at the entire Acts 13 chapter.

      Acts 13:2 - Here is the first mention that the Holy Spirit separated "Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

      Acts 13:5 - they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews.

      Acts 13:14 - they went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and sat down.

      Acts 13:15 - And after the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying, “Men and brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.”

      (Note: The Jews were still following the Law and the Prophets. Luke 16:16 - The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. See also Luke 24:44 and Rom 3:21.)

      Acts 13:16 - Starting from the exodus, Paul rehearsed the history of the Jewish people through to their crucifixion of Christ.

      Acts 13: 38, 39 - Paul is now giving them the message of salvation and the fulfillment of everything written in the Law and the Prophets - Jesus Christ the Savior.

      Acts 13: 42 - The Gentiles begged Paul to come back the next week to share more truth.

      Acts 13: 44, 45 - The following week almost the whole city came to hear Paul and the "righteous Sabbath keeping" Jews were angry. Some much so that on the Sabbath, they were contradicting and blaspheming, and opposing the things spoken by Paul.

      Acts 13:50 - Again, the Sabbath keeping Jews stirred up the devout and prominent women and the chief men of the city, raised up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region.

      Acts 13:51, 52 - Paul effectively shook the dust off his feet and went to the Gentiles.

      Paul went where the people were - to the Jews in their synagogues on the Sabbath. After rejection, he went to the Gentiles whenever and wherever they were. Sabbath presented no time or place boundaries for Paul. Acts 13 says nothing about Paul promoting or rejecting the Sabbath. Preaching the true gospel was his only concern.

      Amen!(3)
  4. It just goes to show that even the best of us can and will make mistakes, thank God for the Holy Spirit who chastens and corrects us.

    Amen!(7)
  5. Culture actually should be respected in harmony with the main principle and not to be too patriotic. Paul is seeking to balance the theology of different ethnic groups coming together and accepting cultural lifestyle or conculturating the gospel.

    Amen!(4)
    • I am not sure what you meant by conculturating. It is not found in any dictionary
      Did you perhaps mean one of these?
      Suggestions:

      "Enculturation" is the process of learning your own group's culture, and "enculturate" is a transitive verb. So, when an American mother teaches her child to use a fork, she is enculturating him.

      "Acculturation" is the process of taking on ANOTHER group's culture. "Acculturate" can be either transitive or intransitive. Used transitively: When an American moves to China, she might try to acculturate her child by teaching him to use chopsticks. Used intransitively: The child might naturally begin to acculturate by copying his Chinese friends.

      Amen!(2)
  6. Jesus revealed to Peter in Acts 10:9-43, that salvation was for both Jews and gentiles. This was proven in both the vision of the clean & unclean animals and outpouring of the Holy Spirit to the gentiles who were present at the time of Peter’s address. Cornelius and the others were baptized straight away despite being circumcised. God had shown Peter this to reinforce that Jesus alone was the true judge on who can be saved and that salvation worked beyond any “Jewish regulations” or man’s measure of acceptance. Despite this personal message, Peter fails to consistently advocate to other Jewish believers or ‘false brethren’ what he was shown.
    Paul tells us that in Gal 1:10 that he is not trying to win the approval of people but of God. He stands on this when confronting Peter in Gal 2:11-21, even calls him out on his actions as hypocritical.
    This shows that we all need the discerning ability of the Holy Spirit, as even the leadership of the church is prone to ‘peer pressure’ of ideologies instigated by ignorance, arrogance and or other selfish motives that work against the ministry of Jesus Christ.
    We also need to pray for the courage to stand like Paul against those who contradict the true message of salvation, even if it is within the hierarchy of the church. Committing those being led astray to prayer and not giving way to further dissension or division in the church of Christ.

    Amen!(4)
  7. Surely as christians we must be brothers keepers in the church in order to gain strength of taking out the gospel knowing that we are siners and have fallen short of his glory ,more so salvation is by faith alony in Jesus christ our personal saviour but the law still is our mirror to show us where we have gone wrong so as to rectify and live an exemplary life. Amen

    Amen!(3)

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