Sunday, November 11, 2018

Taking a principled stand

Peter and Paul by El Greco
"Peter and Paul" by El Greco
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Galatians 1-2; Psalm 5

TO CHEW ON: "And I went up by revelation and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles." Galatians 2:2

In Galatians 1, Paul told the Galatians (a collection of churches in Galatia) that he had special revelation from Jesus (Galatians 1:12). In chapter 2 he goes on to explain how, after fourteen years of ministry, he went to see the leadership in Jerusalem to explain his position.

What was his position? That Christ's work on the cross alone was sufficient for salvation. The law-keeping work of circumcision was not needed to be saved (Galatians 5:1-6).

But in Jerusalem he got push-back.  Some "false brothers" insisted Titus (a Greek) be circumcised. He and Titus resisted this (Galatians 2:3-5).

The Jerusalem leadership did eventually accept his message and ministry to the Gentiles (Galatians 2:7-9), but not without reluctance from Peter, who had started avoiding fellowship with Gentile Christians. Paul pointed out the hypocrisy of this. Peter had earlier championed freedom from dietary laws so why was he now reverting back to separating himself in a "holier-than-thou" way (Galatians 2:11-14)?

What I admire about Paul here is his principled stand and how he stuck with it no matter what others said. He wasn't swayed by "false brethren." Nor did he change his message for "those who were of reputation"—the church leadership.

There's a lot of pressure on Christian leaders to change message of Christianity these days. That pressure is coming form outside the church and within it, to soften official positions especially in the realm of sexual ethics.

Though the Bible takes a clear position on things like adultery, fornication, homosexuality and gender identity, pressure is exerted from all sides (within and without the church) for churches to move from biblical positions of calling these things sin to accepting them as normal. Will our pastors and leaders have the courage to continue to uphold what the Bible says, even when it's unpopular? What about us in the pews?

PRAYER: Dear Father, help me to live first and foremost for Your approval. Help me especially to not be swayed by social pressure. Amen. 


The Bible Project VIDEO: Galatians (Read Scripture Series)

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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