READ: Galatians 2:11-14
- Having set the stage in the latter part of chapter one and the beginning of chapter two, this text comes across rather strongly. It’s a face to face confrontation between Paul and Peter. The situation is that people from Jerusalem (specifically from James) came and convinced Peter to stop eating with Gentiles (in other words, to treat them as if they weren’t Christians). Prior to that, Peter was treating all the people the same.
- Paul could not allow Peter and Barnabas to get sucked into that behavior so he confronted Peter. The accusation is strong—he calls it hypocrisy. Paul reminds Peter of the fact that all people are saved by grace. There is no other way that can happen. Therefore, all must be treated the same. Any time people get off track, they need confronted. The gospel is too important for anything to be allowed to interfere.
- It should probably surprise us that we are surprised by such confrontation. It’s as if Christians have become convinced that we can’t have those kinds of conversations. Much like a younger generation doesn’t think it’s right to be judged, we’ve often accepted that we can’t confront. Christians who care about others have to confront… And if it gets heated, that’s okay, as long as everyone remains Chris like in their behavior while doing so.
- Relate a time you were in one of these types of conversations.
- How do we go about having important confrontations without it becoming inappropriate?
- What would constitute a legitimate reason for such confrontation?
PRAY: Ask God for the courage to confront when appropriate. Pray that you can do so appropriately. Thank God for those who take the gospel seriously enough to challenge others.