“And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” (Phil. 3:9, NKJV).
We should not assume Jewish Christians were suggesting that faith in Christ was not important; after all, they were all believers in Jesus. They all had faith in Him. Their behavior showed, however, that they felt faith was not sufficient by itself; it must be supplemented with obedience, [...]
“…just as it is written: `The righteous will live by faith.’” Romans 1:17, NIV
While I was attending Walla Walla College in the late 1970s, a professor asked his class an impromptu quiz. “How many believe,” he asked, “that we can work our way to heaven by our good deeds?”
Only one or two hands went up.
“How many believe that our salvation is totally a gift of grace without regard to our good deeds?”
This time a few more hands went up.
Finally, he [...]
Paul says three times in Galatians 2:16 that a person is not justified by “works of the law.” What does he mean by the expression “works of the law”? How do these texts (Gal. 2:16, 17; 3:2, 5, 10; Rom. 3:20, 28) help us understand his meaning?
Before we can understand the phrase “the works of the law,” we first need to understand what Paul means by the word law. The word law (nomos in Greek) is found 121 times in Paul’s letters. It can refer to a number [...]
In Galatians 2:15, Paul writes, “We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners” (ESV). What point do you think he was making?
Paul’s words need to be understood in their context. In an attempt to win over his fellow Jewish Christians to his position, Paul starts with something they would agree with—the traditional distinction between Jews and Gentiles. Jews were the elect of God, entrusted with His law, and they enjoyed the benefits of the covenant relationship with Him. Gentiles, however, were [...]
Read for This Week’s Study:
Gal. 2:15–21; Eph. 2:12; Phil. 3:9; Rom. 3:10–20; Gen. 15:5, 6; Rom. 3:8.
“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 [...]
For further study on the issue of unity and diversity in the church, read Ellen G. White, “Investigation of New Light,” pp. 45, 47, in Counsels to Writers and Editors; “An Explanation of Early Statements,” p. 75, in Selected Messages, book 1; “Tactfulness,” pp. 117–119, in Gospel Workers; and “Manuscript Release 898,” pp. 1092, 1093, in1888 Materials, vol. 3.
“Even the best of men, if left to themselves, will make grave blunders. The more responsibilities placed upon the human agent, the higher his position to dictate and control, the more mischief he [...]
I slumped onto a fallen tree in the thick forest to wait for my partner and fellow student missionary to catch up to me. We still had 20 miles to hike, and we were tired and thirsty.
Suddenly I realized that we were in rebel territory where soldiers roam searching for “the enemy.” They might shoot us before we could explain who we are. “Lord,” I whispered, “please protect us.” A few minutes later we started up the trail again. [...]
The Unity of the Gospel October 15, 2011
Key Thought: The church was in danger of losing its understanding of the gospel because of dependence on Jewish traditions that opposed faith in Christ’s work.
1. Have a volunteer read Galatians 2:3-5
A. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
B. Why were the Jews so concerned about the Gentiles being circumcised?
C. Personal Application: What challenge does the SDA [...]
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.
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 [...]
“Live in harmony with one another…” Romans 12:16, NIV
I enjoy concerts. I marvel at how many different instruments in an orchestra can blend together to produce something of great power and beauty. I also thrill at the many different voices that blend together to produce the majestic strains of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.” Whether it is a barbershop quartet or a college choir, the interplay of basses and tenors with altos and sopranos weaves a tapestry more vivid than any skilled [...]
I have about as many bones as the average adult female does, and that’s enough for me. Some of those 206 bones are long and narrow, some are short and stubby.
They attach to other bones by various means. Some of them are “fused” together. Others fit together by means of a hinge. And I just read that the bone that keeps our tongue in place doesn’t work with any other bones but is controlled entirely by muscles and ligaments.
Still, a [...]
Some time after Paul’s consultation in Jerusalem, Peter made a visit to Antioch in Syria, the location of the first Gentile church and the base of Paul’s missionary activities described in Acts. While there, Peter ate freely with the Gentile Christians, but when a group of Jewish Christians arrived from James, Peter—fearful of what they would think—changed his behavior entirely.
Why should Peter have known better? Compare Gal. 2:11–13 and Acts 10:28. What does his action tell us about just how powerfully ingrained culture and tradition can [...]