Feb 9, 2015

Deeper Walk || Galatians 2:11-14

But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
I can only imagine the tension in this encounter. Peter in Acts 10 had been taught by the Lord to associate with the Gentiles but in this instance, fearing the other Jews that came with James, he decided to treat them as if they weren't Christians. He was eating with them—a love feast perhaps that didn't end up as loving! But Paul wouldn't have it; he confronted Peter to his face. 

How many interracial congregations have you been to? How well does the church take care of congregants from various walks of life and foster community? I think what would keep us from succumbing to social pressures and allow us to embrace others who are different from us is to remember this: we have a shared identity as sinners pronounced guilty by the law, and saved by grace through faith in Jesus. You hear that? We share this. It keeps us from being proud and it should excite us to love others because we ourselves are recipients of God's love, grace and mercy.

To dissociate ourselves from certain people for fear of what others would think is not in step with the truth of the gospel.

To embrace our shared humanity and recognize the same grace that saves us. This is in step with the truth of the gospel.

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