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Gospel Challenge

Galatians 2:11-13 

Peter and Paul were brothers in Christ, and friends. They supported each other and encouraged one another’s ministry. However, Paul saw that Peter was at risk of undermining the gospel because he was afraid. Some Jewish believers thought that, in order to be fully accepted by God, the old Jewish rules (from animal sacrifice to circumcision) still had to be kept. They insisted that Gentiles must be circumcised; otherwise they could not be proper Christians. Initially, Peter taught that Christ had fulfilled all of the law and that those rules were now obsolete.

Gospel Rebuke

Galatians 2:14

Peter was inconsistent. He had stopped living according to Jewish customs because he rightly believed that God accepted him because he trusted in Jesus alone for his salvation. But he was forcing Gentiles (non-Jews) to be circumcised and obey the Jewish food laws. He was wrong. But that was not just a private error in his personal life; it affected many other people and got in the way of the simplicity of the gospel.

The Gospel Of Justification By Faith

Galatians 2:15-16

Religion, wherever it is found, has a common thread: ‘do better and God will be more pleased with you; do well enough and God will accept you’. But the gospel is radically different. It was a difference which Paul could not understand until he encountered the Living Jesus. He, with all his fellow Jews, had believed that God’s acceptance of human beings was based on how well they kept the Law given through Moses. But having met Jesus Paul realised he had been wrong.

The Gospel Does Not License Sin

Galatians 2:17-18

Paul’s religious critics did not understand why religious observance was not enough to win favour with God. They thought Paul was saying that free salvation through faith in Christ meant that God is not bothered by our sin; they claimed that the gospel promoted sinning. Surely, they argued, if Christ is pleased to forgive sin then He will be pleased when people sin more! If that was true, then He is a promoter of sin, and a law-breaker Himself!

The Gospel Of Crucifixion With Christ

Galatians 2:19-21

This passage (Galatians 2:11-21) started by Paul explaining why he had challenged Peter to stay true to the gospel and not pull others back to religious legalism. The Law of Moses could never save anybody; it could only define sin and accuse people who broke the law. But when Jesus died, He was punished for all sins and so the Law has no more power to accuse those who are safe in Christ.

The Evil Curse Of Unbelief

Galatians 3:1-3

Some in the Galatian church had believed a lie. False teachers had told them that they could not be in God’s favour by saying that they believed; they had to be religiously good. That was untrue. Even Jesus welcomed criminals and immoral people and as they believed Him, they were welcomed into His kingdom.

We Cannot Manipulate God's Power

Galatians 3:4-5

Where does the power of God come from? Obviously, only from God. Yet some false teachers were saying that God gives His Spirit to those who are good and deserve His presence. But that cannot be true, Paul argued. The biggest miracle is that a sinful person can be made a child of God. That is God’s free gift and only happens when the Holy Spirit comes into a person who believes in Jesus. After that He enables all kinds of miracles, not because the person does everything right, but because God chooses to give His grace to those who believe the gospel.

Justification By Faith And Not Works

Galatians 3:6-9

It is hard for religious people, or anybody who tries to live a good life, to believe that God is not impressed by their lifestyle. Surely, they say, if they try hard to be good, then God will reward them with blessings and heaven. Where they are right, is in assuming that God loves what is good; where they are wrong, is that God hates what is bad. The problem is not how to do some things that please God, but how to remove all those things that offend God. No religious law is able to make anybody good or take away the curse of a sinful past.

The Law Cannot Make People Right - It Curses Them

Galatians 3:10-12

Paul, who had been a devoutly religious Jewish theologian, knew that trying to be good could never make him perfect in God’s sight. The law can never make somebody righteous; it can only point out their sin. Those who rely on getting everything right put themselves under a curse when they fail in even the smallest thing.

Removing The Curse

Galatians 3:13-14

Law, by its very nature, is designed to curse those who break it. The curse is simply a promise that bad things will happen to law-breakers. Although laws are designed for the good of society, and in that sense they hold the promise of good things in which each individual may benefit, people are not rewarded for keeping laws: they only have the promise of penalties when they disobey. Promised penalties are called curses. They are the weight of the law and the curse is activated when the law is disobeyed. Once guilt is proved, the curse of the law will be expressed.