Read Galatians 2:1-10. Paul says that the false brothers “slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery” (Gal. 2:4, ESV). What are Christians free from? Read John 8:31-36; Rom. 6:6-7; Rom. 8:2-3; Gal. 3:23-25; Gal. 4:7-8; Heb. 2:14-15. How do we experience for ourselves the reality of this freedom?
Freedom, as a description of the Christian experience, is an important concept for Paul. He used the word more frequently than any other author in the New Testament did, and in the book of Galatians the words free and freedom occur numerous times. Freedom, however, for the Christian means freedom in Christ. It is the opportunity to live a life of unhindered devotion to God. It involves freedom from being enslaved to the desires of our sinful nature (Romans 6), freedom from the condemnation of the law (Rom. 8:1-2), and freedom from the power of death (1 Cor. 15:55).
The apostles recognized that Paul “had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised” (Gal. 2:7, ESV). What does this suggest about the nature of unity and diversity within the church?
The apostles acknowledged that God had called Paul to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, just as He had called Peter to preach to the Jews. In both cases, the gospel was the same, but the way it was presented depended on the people the apostles were trying to reach. The gospel would bring “this oneness which is the basis of Christian unity, precisely as unity in diversity.” — James D. G. Dunn, The Epistle to the Galatians (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1993), p. 106.
|How open should we be to methods of evangelism and witnessing that take us out of our “comfort zone”? Are there some forms of evangelism that bother you? If so, what are they, why do they bother you, and how do we know if a new method is good?|