Friday, June 14, 2013

Hypocrisy Exposé

"Paul turns to the Gentiles (Acts 13)" by F. Laporta
"Paul turns to the Gentiles (Acts 13)" by F. Laporta - Bible Artwork Vol. 10

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Galatians 2:1-21

TO CHEW ON: "For before certain men came from James, he (Peter) would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy."  Galatians 2:12-13

Here it seems Peter let his actions be influenced by peer pressure In spite of his championing the cause of the Gentiles in front of the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:6-11) he was again distancing himself from them. While before he had been happy to eat with them, the presence of "certain men … from James" caused him to withdraw. Peter had influence and so his actions were causing others, even the encourager Barnabas, to follow suit.

Paul named Peter's actions hypocrisy.

[Hypocrisy - hypokrisis was used of play-acting, role-playing, pretending and thus acting insincerely.]

I see a double warning in Paul's exposé of Peter's hypocrisy:

1. We too can be influenced by the legalists among us, letting our actions be governed by what these 'super-spirituals' will think and say rather than by what God has revealed in the Bible. Paul's foundation is rock-solid in this regard. This incident is the setting from which he wrote his inspirational living-by-faith-not-works manifesto:

"For I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which 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  (emphasis added).

2. We can be the legalists whose emphasis on outer things causes others to act hypocritically. Let's examine our pet standards. They may come from good sources: our upbringing, denominational emphases, life experience. Still we need to ask, does the Bible support them? Or are they the type of burden Paul accused the false brethren of imposing here?

PRAYER: Dear God, please give me the wisdom to spot hypocrisy in my attitudes and that of others. Help me to live in Your freedom and not in the shadow of human-made restrictions and rules of exclusivity that change according to which group I'm with. Amen.


The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.
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