Galatians Chapter 2
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But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. - Galatians 2:11

In the first chapter Paul calls out the Judaizers, in this chapter he calls out Peter and those that joined him in his hypocrisy. In the next chapter Paul will call out the Galatians who were "bewitched". Paul is clearly not prioritizing finding favor with men over serving God (Gal. 1:10). "Stood condemned" the Greek word here literally meaning "to find fault with, blame". He was condemned in the sense that he was guilty of what Paul is opposing him for. It's interesting to note there are clear references to this verse made in second century writings. An Ebionite author of the Celmentine Homilies, covertly used another made up character named Simon Magus in his writings to express his bitterness and spirit of hostility toward Paul in his confrontation of Peter. He writes "Thou hast confronted and withstood me. If thou hadst not been an adversary, thou wouldest not have calumniated and reviled my preaching If thou callest me condemned, thou accusest God who revealed Christ to me" ('Hom.,' 17:19). The writer was asserting that Paul, in calling Peter condemned, was really accusing "God who revealed Christ in him". Likely a sour feeling handed down from those viewing this event from the Judaizer's perspective, thus also giving credit to this Epistle and Paul's account.


Peter had given Paul the right hand of fellowship when Paul visited him in Jerusalem (Gal. 2:9), and earlier in this chapter Paul recalls how many from the Antioch church went to Jerusalem to settle the matter of the Judaizers who wished to impose additional requirements of the law and circumcision in order to be saved, and it was there that Peter rebuked them, asking them why they were putting God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither they nor their forefathers were able to bear, and there Peter declared they are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus (Acts 15:10-11). Now we see Peter falling back into his old ways. We should find encouragement in this when we fail and fall into our old ways. Just because we struggle in the flesh, doesn't mean God isn't working in the Spirit. Thank God for good friends like Paul.


This also tears down the Catholic belief of Peter being the first infallible Pope. This should also serve warning that if the Apostles themselves can succumb, even Peter whom Jesus said would be the rock the church was built on (Mat. 16:18), then we shouldn't be so foolish to think we're insusceptible (1 Cor. 10:12). In a way this does however give props to Peter as not many, if they didn't have a true love for Jesus and for the gospel, would have been able to stomach such a punch. I believe this is why Paul reminds Peter in this rebuke (v16) about the good news that has been applied to both him and Paul thus taking Peter's eyes off of the wind that caused him fear (Mat. 14:30) and putting them back on Jesus (Mat. 14:28, Heb. 12:2), which Peter in his letters does for others (2 Pet. 1:12-13). Peter is also the rock, whom in the Spirit has been a force before all of Jerusalem and Judea (Acts 2:14-40).


Question: Has there been anyone close to you, friend or family, that you knew to be in the wrong but because of the fear of such confrontation, you've refrained from saying anything? There is a point to keep peace as long as you are able (Rom. 12:18), but there are also times where keeping the peace is far more unloving given the consequences of allowing a person to remain in their ignorance or foolish behavior. As Proverbs 27:6 states, "faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy". Would you rather be rebuked by a friend or judged by God? Would you rather painfully get to heaven, or delightfully go to hell in a hand basket (Luke 16:25).


We are living in an age today where it's all about validating the heart (the participation trophy era I call it), so much so, that if you don't affirm someone else's "truth" you can face persecution from the law. In our efforts to validate we've put feelings into a place of absolute authority and thereby robbed people of the ability to endure sound criticism when it may hurt their feelings. People have at large associated their entire identity in these things. To call out the wrongful actions is now equated to destroying who they are. This is why people end up on American Idol who make fools out of themselves. They haven't one friend willing to do the hard thing and tell them they can't sing. They have surrounded themselves with people who tickle their ears and cultivated an unsafe place for those who would dare speak the truth, until suddenly the consequence transitions from being embarrassed in front of few, to being embarrassed in front of everyone.


Question: Have you cultivated a safe place for others to be able to speak into your life? How would others say you handle criticism? Would you remain friends with those that wound you with their words (cf. Prov. 27:6)? If you've been close with someone for a long time and there's been no "wounds" as Proverbs puts it (Prov. 27:6), then either you're perfect or close to it or they aren't as close as you thought, lack wisdom to see what's wrong, or you're too hostile for them to chance it. Cultivating a safe place for them to speak into your life is for your benefit and makes it easier on them. If you know someone close who's kept quiet all this time, you might go to them, and ask them, give them an open door to share what they see that you've been blind too and be ready to hear, not defend. The quicker you can do this, the sooner someone can help you out before things get worse.


Had Paul not dealt with Peter now, things may have been much worse for Peter later and for those caught up in the same hypocrisy (and ultimately for us the benefactors of the preservation of the true gospel brought to us by God through these guys). In 2021 an HBO docuseries came out regarding the Remnant Fellowship church founded by Gwendolyn Shamblin, whose leaders were participating in a similar hypocrisy and imposing legalistic methods on their followers. On May 29th, 2021, her and the leaders of that church died in the same plane crash (a private plane, owned and piloted by one of the leaders) and they were the only occupants of that plane. Interestingly, the young daughter of that pilot, who would usually accompany them on these flights, did not for this particular flight. Now I don't presume to know for sure what God's plan was with all of this, but I wonder if Gwendolyn could have used a friend like Paul early on. I wonder if these leaders simply had put God to the test for too long (Acts 15:10).


For prior to the coming of some men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and separate himself, fearing those from the circumcision. - Galatians 2:12

Eating together meant so much more to them than it does to us now. According to Jewish custom it was unlawful to associate or even go into the house of a gentile (Acts 10:28), let alone eat with them. Eating from the same food was considered more intimate then. To eat from the same bread of another was seen as a bonding thing where the same bread would become a part of both people who partook of it. To dip the morsel, likely into the same wine or other type of meat based juice, and give it to another was a sign of high-respect, as you allowed that which they touched to also be that which you eat and vice versa. Today it would be like two friends going to a theater and getting an expensive drink with two straws for them to share. For Peter to withdraw spoke just the opposite. Consequently, this was also the how Jesus identified His betrayer, "He who has dipped his hand in the dish with Me will betray Me" (Mat. 26:23).


Question: Do you think this withdraw from eating with the Gentiles was a sudden and announced, or was it subtle, and low-key? Had it been an obvious change perhaps it would have been obviously wrong. It's been my experience that Satan rarely makes abrupt changes. It's the age old analogy of how do you boil a slowly turning up the heat or else it jumps out. The enemy is pro in waiting for you to get acclimated before turning up the heat more. Slowly removing freedoms, slowly heaping on burdens, and does so just like what is happening here, by starting with seemingly small things like who you eat with, and had God not intervened through Paul, taking it to the next level thereafter.


Can you imagine being a gentile, scattered, judged, and regarded by the religious leaders and unclean and the filth of society, unworthy to be associated with, suddenly not only have comradery with those who previously regarded you unworthy, but by the Jewish leaders of the church themselves, those whom clearly God was working through as attested to by signs and miracles, and then to suddenly have these leaders and those of their circles remove their right hand of fellowship? Those who were God's chosen people bring to you the message that God wants to include you too, only to have those same people return to regarding you as a reprobate. To be counted as worthy, and then have that revoked, to be included in the blessings of Israel as shown by fellowship, and then be excluded by the removal of that fellowship. How would that make them feel? How does that make you feel?


The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. - Galatians 2:13

Peter believed God that the gentiles were fully accepted by God's grace through faith in Christ as he already made known (Acts 15:11), but here he didn't want to get caught acting like that was true which is the definition of hypocrisy. Hypocrisy at it's root definition literally means "actor". This hypocrisy likewise was the sin of Ananias and his wife Sapphira who like many were doing in those days, sold their property to give the proceeds to the church. Only they gave a portion of the proceeds, which was fine, (it would have been fine if they gave none), but then they lied and said they were giving all of it, and because of this they were found lying to the Holy Spirit and both breathed there last breath right then and there (Acts 5:1-11). God takes hypocrisy very seriously. To the religious hypocrite God expresses his frustration when He says "The Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of you." (Rom. 2:24).


Question: Understanding that hypocrisy is "acting" what are modern day examples of hypocrisy today? Working only when the boss is looking? Vigorously brushing teeth before going to the dentist? Cleaning a house only before guests come over? Smiling for photos? What are ways that we act one thing, when reality is another thing? Is the church today guilty of hypocrisy? It is unfortunately. Our church actually did a study that was sent out to many both inside and outside our church asking them why they don't come to church and the number one reason they gave was hypocrisy. One of the biggest and reoccurring examples I witness of hypocrisy within the church is confession, or rather the lack thereof. Men falling into sin happens daily, people's lives are jacked up by sin, but people in the church walk around, as my dad put, like there poop don't stink. Sometimes they will confess about sins in the past because they feel safe to do so; people are ok with you seeing who they were just not who they are, rarely does anyone confess present day sins and struggles, especially those that would expose their wickedness, even though we're commanded to (Jam. 5:16). In fact, it's what ushers in the fix (1 John 1:9). We confess safe things like "I'm addicted to chocolate" or we give blanket statements that reveal nothing such as "I'm just as bad as everyone else" thus allowing us to still hide. We put up a Facebook facade at church that says we have it altogether making others feel judged, worse off, like failures whom God has rejected, and when they see through our facade, they question if everything is fake including the truth of the gospel and the victories of Jesus Christ.


Question: Barnabas and the rest of the Jews joined Peter in their hypocrisy but out did their reasons for doing so differ from that of Peter's? There were probably some of the same reasons such as fear of the party of the circumcision, but the verse says here that the Jews joined Peter. Peter did so because of his fear, but the Jews and even Barnabas had the added reason of doing so because Peter did so. Sheep follow shepherds. These men followed Peter in joining with the Gentiles, and they followed Peter in extracting from them too. It's no wonder leaders are held to a higher accountability (Jam. 3:1).


"Even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy" Peter may have been prone to it, but Barnabas was Paul's right-hand man in Antioch (Acts 11:22-30), this came as a surprise to Paul, at least to some degree. Though all these Jews had been trained in this way of thinking for years so it's no surprise that they so easily fell back into that rut. Sheep go with the flow, but leaders set the flow. When leadership sets the tone, those under them will be drawn into the same mindset, and filter their thoughts and decisions through that same way of thinking. Their minds will be calibrated, even contrary to their normal way of thinking, and suddenly what is the focus of the leadership becomes the focus of the crew. For example, if as a mechanic I say, "man listen to how nice that truck sounds" suddenly everyone in my peer groups pay attention to how all trucks sound. If as an IT tech I say, "look at how fast that computer boots up" suddenly everyone measures the speed of a computer by how fast it turns on. If as a truck driver I say "man, look at how good of a driver that guy is who shifts down instead of using his brakes", you then, possibly for the rest of your life, appreciate truck drivers whom you notice hardly hit their brakes. If I say as a pastor "man, there are some people who catch me after my sermons who won't stop talking", suddenly everyone not only becomes self-conscious of talking to the pastor after church, but they are tempted to judge everyone else that does. Lastly, if me as your bible study host, notices someone who starts to eat before we've prayed, perhaps I clear my throat as if to get your attention, would not you, and everyone else at the table be on the watch for this for every meal hereafter, even at other Christian gatherings? If you know it's wrong, speak up, if you can't speak up, get out. You're not as strong to resist the flow as you might think. If Barnabas can be carried away, so can you. If someone else issues such a rebuke at my table today, I will gently correct the one rebuking for the sake of all there. As a host and a leader I regularly take a few bites myself before prayers just to cultivate the freedom from condemnation for anyone else that may have too.


But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews? - Galatians 2:14

 Question: Why did Paul confront Peter in the presence of all instead of in private? (cf. Mat. 18:15). The same reason a radiologist gives chemo to a patient with cancerous cells found throughout their body, in order to increase the chance of success and stop further spreading. This hypocrisy was already spreading rapidly throughout the believers that even Barnabas was carried away by it. Therefore this needed to be a whole body procedure (church body in this case). Just dealing with Peter would be like curing one clump of bad cells while cancer cells were in other areas of the body still wreaking havoc. Scripture actually instructs in these situations to do so in the presence of all that all would benefit (1 Tim. 5:20). Had Paul handled this individually, the hypocrisy would have spread faster than it could be rectified, and given that Peter was easily susceptible to this failure (Mark 14:66-72, Mat. 14:30, Gal. 2:12), if not dealt with as a whole, there's a good chance he would have been subject to reinfection. Jesus had warned to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy (Luke 12:1), and as Paul writes later, a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough (Gal. 5:9).


Question: How did Peter "compel the Gentiles to live like Jews"? There is no record of Peter preaching any sort of message, how then did he compel the Gentiles? By his actions. Though we don't see Peter verbally compelling them, we do see that he and those that followed him "were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, or as the NLT puts it, "they were not following the truth of the gospel message". It was not in word, but in deed, by example, in the message that their actions preached that compelled the Gentiles to live like Jews. Can a church be guilty of the same? Can a church verbally affirm one message while through action affirm a completely different message? Yes. This is hypocrisy and is the unfortunate reality in many churches today. Many are able to preach the gospel but they don't follow it and that is what people see, and that is the hypocrisy that keeps people from wanting to come. Peter had previously preached a good message of grace and until these men came he was living it. This was a church where Gentiles could come and not feel condemnation and Peter was changing that. You've heard it said that some people are so poor all they have is money. Likewise one could say some churches are so poor all they have is good theology.


Next week we'll continue with the remaining verses in this chapter but note the quotation mark at the beginning of verse 14 through the end of the chapter in some translations. It'ss unclear in the original manuscripts if the remainder of this chapter is a continuation of Paul addressing Peter, or if he transitioned to addressing the reader, given the context I would lean toward the earlier as many scholars believe. Either way the message is clear. We'll cover the remaining part next week.


Parting Question: What does hypocrisy look like in the church today, what are some modern day examples of hypocrisy in the church? If some come to mind, what has been your response to them?


[Good spot to break and resume next week]


“We are Jews by nature and not sinners from the Gentiles; - Galatians 2:15

In other words, he's saying nobody knows better than us that a person won't be justified by works of the law. We by nature are Jews and not even sinners from the Gentiles and we don't have a hope of the law justifying us, let alone Gentiles.


nevertheless, knowing that a person is not justified by works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the Law; since by works of the Law no flesh will be justified. - Galatians 2:16


Question: What does justified mean? Why is it impossible for the flesh to be justified by works of the law? Justified in it's simplest definition could be defined as "Justified, just as if I'd never done it". The reason it's impossible for the flesh to be justified by the law is because the law doesn't vindicate us, it condemns us. Flesh is unjustifiable by the law, because the law makes known it's transgression. The law offers no room for error (Jam. 2:10).


"Works of the law". Jesus and Paul both said the law is summed up in this, loving God, and loving your neighbor as yourself (I'm paraphrasing, see, Mat. 22:40, Gal. 5:14). This idea of works then isn't limited to just the letter of the law of Moses which contained 613 commands, but the spirit of the law which was given to promote love. This is important to realize because legalism isn't just a trap set for those who seek favor by obeying the Mosiac laws, but Paul is speaking here to anyone who wishes to find favor through works of any kind, even if they are done in the spirit of the law, i.e. through love. No such works, even those done for the right reason, will earn you any favor from God.


Question: What are works? Give some examples. If one can not earn favor from God by their works, can they lose favor from God by lack thereof?


"Justified...through faith in Christ Jesus". This is a stark contrast to a works based justification. Faith and works do not complement each other. Faith ushers in grace (Rom. 4:16), works shun it (Gal. 5:4). Faith seeks to be justified by grace, works seeks to be justified by the law. I saw a shirt for sale on Facebook that said "In God we trust, but I carry a gun as backup". The latter undermines the former. Essentially this shirt is saying "God I trust you, but in case you don't come through, I've got my own plan ready". One must ask then, do they really trust in Him in the first place? I believe many have a similar view in the church today regarding works. They say the right answers, their theology is correct, but works is their backup plan. Their shirt may read "I believe in Jesus, but I do works in case I'm wrong". Or "I trust in Jesus finished work on the cross, but I do works in case it wasn't enough". Hebrews defines faith as "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (Heb. 11:1). Can we say those with these shirts on have faith?


Now that's not to say that we don't struggle with doubt. Peter had faith when he stepped out on the boat, but he doubted when he considered the wind (Mat. 14:31). Struggling with doubt doesn't mean you lost your salvation any more than Peter drown that day. Scripture even speaks of those who are stronger and weaker of faith and those who are weak in faith may show it by their works. That, however doesn't mean they aren't saved (Rom. 14:4). It only takes a mustard seed of faith (Mat. 17:20). Why? Because faith frees up grace, and it is in grace where 100% of the saving happens (Eph. 2:8-9). Faith is the means in which justification is received, not it's basis.


"Even we have believed" In the middle of this rebuke, Paul reminds Peter of their mutual salvation. Possibly a provocation to the joy that Peter is fully saved already in hopes that such recollection will give courage to Peter to once again be bold about the gospel, even in front of his fellow Jews (Acts 2:23, 5:40-41, John 21:18-19). While sanctification is an on-going process, salvation happens all at once the moment you first believe. When you believe you pass from death to eternal life now and are sealed (John 5:24). You cannot have eternal life, which means life everlasting...and lose it. Otherwise it was never eternal life, or life everlasting in the first place. God does not give the Holy Spirit as a promise and then renege on His promise (Eph. 1:13).


Side Note: If you struggle with assurance of salvation, do not chase that assurance but rather seek to know Jesus more, focusing on Him, His heart, His finished work (Heb. 12:2) and as you do, assurance will be the side effect. The cure for a faltering faith is not to try and have more of it, but to become more acquainted with it's object. That is what Paul is doing for Peter in this moment, and the rest who are present.


But if, while seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have also been found sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Far from it! - Galatians 2:17

Paul is asking that if we, who seek to be justified in Christ, live as not under rules, laws, and regulations, and because of that we're found to be transgressing it, then is Christ actually serving sin by giving us such freedom?


There is this notion amongst those who lack faith that if you remove the law and self control through rules and regulation, that such freedom will result in sin running rampant. These people would rather be in a jail cell in bondage to the law, than risk being free where they may violate it. They conflate freedom with licentiousness. The fact is, as crazy as this sounds, as Christians we have a license to do anything (and yes this includes sin) without fear of condemnation (Rom. 8:1, 1 Cor. 6:12, 10:23). Legalists are squirming because of that statement. The same way they do at what Paul spoke in Romans 5:20 "where sin increased, grace abounded all the more". But Paul continued, "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?" (Rom. 6:1-2).


You cannot both be dead to sin and still live in it. Those who are truly in Jesus Christ have been baptized into His death and therefore are dead to sin. Furthermore they now have the Holy Spirit "who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure". Those that stay in the jail cell marginalize the work of the Holy Spirit and forget the love of God poured out in the believer (Rom. 5:5) that results in good works (1 John 4:19). One indwelled with Him is made anew (2 Cor. 5:17), the old life is dead and gone, we now walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4). To remain in the jail cell for fear of doing bad, inhibits the opportunities to do good, a desire put in you by the Holy Spirit, and a desire that is evident by your worrying about abusing your freedom. A desire He's given you (Rom. 7:22), but by your lack of faith, not one you're enjoying. It's interesting how in one breath we'll speak of freedom from fear, while in that same breath emphasizing the importance of that fear to maintain control.


For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a wrongdoer. - Galatians 2:18


The moment a person brings law and rule-following back into the equation, they instantly bring back in their condemnation through that system as well. You're not a transgressor of the law when you're not under the law, but when you put yourself back under the law you are once again a transgressor of it. The moment works enters the equation of salvation, so does condemnation (Gal. 5:4), even if only a little (Jam. 2:10).


For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live for God. - Galatians 2:19


Question: Why did Paul need to die to the law in order that he may live for God? Why was one needed that the other may happen? Paul explains this very well in Romans 7:1-6. Every person is born under the law, joined to it like a marriage. Only when one dies are the released from their obligations in the marriage. Should a person try and join Christ while still joined to the law, in keeping with our analogy, that would be adultery (Rom. 7:3). You can't marry Jesus unless you are no longer wed to the Law. Marriage, and the law, have this in common, "'til death do you part". One must die before they can be legally bound to another. "Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God" (Rom. 7:4). We have died to our responsibility to the law, therefore we are free to belong to Christ.


I have been crucified with Christ; and 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 up for me. - Galatians 2:20

"I have been crucified with Christ". Since believers aren't physically crucified with Christ (well maybe the thief on the cross) we know the phrase is symbolic for a spiritual truth. God counts us as being so closely identified with Christ that His physical death on the cross amounts to the death of our old selves (Rom. 6:6). Christ paid the penalty of the law on our behalf, when Christ was crucified, it was as if we were crucified with Him. The penalty was fully paid, just as if we had been crucified for our own sins. One who's debt has been paid in full need never worry about owing again. Not as though we paid it, but knowing full well the bridegroom did.


If I was convicted for a nasty crime and sentenced to 20 years in prison, but on the way there the bus I'm in gets hit by a train and I'm killed, will they still carry my carcass off to the penitentiary to serve out my 20 years? Of course not. Death ends the sentence. When death occurs, all penalties imposed are satisfied. Death is the end of all matter, end of discussion, and it's not debatable, and nobody can undo it. The old life we are indeed guilty, but now that we are in Christ we share in His death and therefore all penalties have been satisfied. The law looks at us and is content, happy, fulfilled, and convinced justice has been served.


"it is no longer I who live", The change Jesus produces in our hearts is so complete it's like we're not ourselves anymore. There will be people in your life that likely attest to this, perhaps fellow believers excited about the change, or perhaps old friends who are frustrated and feel like they no longer know who you are. The fact is, we now have a new identify that is not our own but is Christ!


"Christ lives in me", our bodies are not our own, they have been purchased by the blood of Jesus and it is now Him who dwells in our body through the Holy Spirit.


"The life which I now live..." In the past we were crucified with Christ, in the future we will be presented blameless before the throne in Christ (Col. 1:22, Jude 1:24), but the present time is not excluded from the provisions of Christ, but this current life is to be lived in the Spirit which people often conflate with legalism, or walking in the flesh with great efforts. This is largely addressed at the beginning of the next chapter so we'll save it for then. Now some people worry when this is said that they don't show evidence, first, many times you won't see it from your own perspective (Mat. 25:37-39). But the temptation is to go out and work (under the guise of bear fruit) in order to prove salvation. This is grossly out of order. Fruit only ever comes from God (John 15:4). At best you're only fooling yourself, at worst, you're going about it all wrong. If one lacks fruit, they must ask for the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13) and abide in Christ. The fact is, if one lacks fruit, a person has no solution in anything they can do, you'll never bear fruit for Christ by your own efforts (John 15:5).


"I live by faith in the Son of God", Romans 1:17 says "but the righteous one will live by faith". So what does that mean? This is very simple, we live trusting in Jesus and everything that is Jesus. It's very freeing when you realize you can trust in God for every aspect of the Christian life. Not only for salvation, but for every aspect of our sanctification as well (1 Thes. 5:23). To often, "I have been crucified with Christ, and it is Christ who lives in me" becomes "I need to crucify my sinful desires and try harder to live for God". Such a mindset indicates we have reverted from living by faith back into legalism, and doing so once again minimizes the power of Christ's death for us. We rely less on Jesus and more on ourselves...and as Paul is stressing to Peter here, that doesn't work, it never did. To live by faith is to actually have a life that is pleasing to God, but that differs from a legalistic life that is trying to impress God.


I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.” - Galatians 2:21

Christ cried out in the garden, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me..." (Mat. 26:39). If righteousness could come through the law, then Christ didn't need to go to the cross. But the fact is without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (Heb. 9:22). When Christ gave up His Spirit on the cross His last words were "It is finished".


"I do not nullify the grace of God..." Paul now uses the argument for Peter, Barnabas, and the rest of the Jews to consider that if Paul was wrong, and works could bring about righteousness (though the law only ever points out sin), then why did Christ die? (Which they all witnessed). What would be the point? If righteousness comes through the law, we could all just stay married to the law and be saved by it. But as Paul has been arguing this chapter, it cannot and to seek to be justified by it nullifies the grace of God (Gal. 5:4). To mingle legalism with grace distorts grace and makes a mockery of the cross.

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