Galatians 2:11-21
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But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. 13 The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. 14 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 2:11-14

 

"condemned" Not necessarily condemned in the sense that Peter was separated from everlasting life but possibly he stood as one condemned meaning he was not acting as one walking according to the truth but that he was acting as one who walked according to a lie. Peter was not acting as the light he should be but rather he was acting as the judaizers mentioned earlier in Galatians. The greek word used for condemned here is "kataginosko" meaning "1.) to find fault with, blame, 2.) to accuse, condemn. This greek word is used in the new testement only in one other book in conjoining verses 1 John 3:20-21. Here the word is used to describe someone's incorrect judgement of themselves, that is the Christians heart who condemns them when God is greater than their heart. In this instance the word is used for the Christian who finds fault or blames themselves. This verse continues to state that God is greater than our self condemning judgement and uses the greek word once more in verse 21 stating if our heart does not condemn (kataginosko) us, we have confidence before God. In this use of the verb you must ask yourself which definition of the word fits. True condemnation, that is eternal separation from God, or rather to accuse, find fault, blame. I would suggest the latter as the first definition doesn't make since if we insert that definition into 1 John 3:20-21 like this. "in whatever our heart eternally separates us from God; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not eternally separate us from God, we have confidence before God;" More accurately it seems would be the second definition. "in whatever our heart finds fault with, accuses, and blames us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not find fault with, accuse, and blame us, we have confidence before God;"

 

Apart from the word study, the idea that Peter some how momentarily losing his salvation here doesn't make since. This is after Christ's ascention and after Peter had the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which seals us in Christ and is "given as a pledge of our inheritance" (Eph. 1:13-14).

 

"opposed him to his face" Abrupt, direct, and to the point. (See vs 14).

 

Question: Why do you suppose Paul confronted Peter in a group instead of in private?

 

Not necessarily that Paul was going out of the normal order of accountability (Matt. 18:15-17) but as a demonstration to Peter and the others who joined in hypocrisy (v. 13) of what is actually important. Peter became aloof because of their fear of "the party of the circumcision" (v. 12) and other Jews followed him (v.13). This rebuke demonstrated not only that the truth was more important than one's comfort but that it's paramount to fear God more than you fear man (Matt. 10:28, Prov 29:25) In addition there was a group of people following this hypocrisy and in this way Paul addressed the group (v. 14). Addressing the group may have put a faster stop to the spreading of the leaven (Gal. 5:9) by which "even Barnabas was carried away" (v. 13).

 

"the rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy" Jewish Christians not associated with the part of circumcision but whom through Peter's behavior had been led astray. "even Barnabas was carried away". This hypocrisy was poison and was spreading quickly. Paul and Titus were unsuccessfully tempted to this same poison just prior in Galatians 2:1-5 but as Paul put it they "did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour". This poison is a great example of what Paul describes as leaven.

 

A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. - Gal. 5:9

 

A similar warning spoken by Jesus can be found in Mark 8:15

 

And He was giving orders to them, saying, “Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” - Mark 8:15

 

The poison started in Peter as a result of his "fearing the party of the circumcision". It quickly spread to the rest of the Jews as well as Barnabas. This poison or leaven is legalism. Bringing legal bondage (Gal. 2:4) to those who are made free by God's grace on the basis of faith, not by works.

 

Question: What could have been the result if Paul had not won over his brother Peter at this time? Galatians 2:5 given an account of Paul and Titus not yeilding to this poison "...so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you".

 

...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?" (v. 14) Peter understood he was free. Peter understood he was not under the legal requirements of the law but under grace (Acts 15:10-11), therefore Peter lived like this...until others were looking.

 

Question: What are some possibilities of why Peter feared the "party of the circumcision"?

 

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

 

Some close the quotation after verse 14, some continue it through. It would appear by this statement that Paul is still addressing Peter and the crowd since the Galatian letter itself appears to be written to his converts in Galatia, the gentiles he was entrusted to go to (Gal 2:7,9).

 

16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the 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 the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified. - Galatians 2:16

 

"nevertheless" Regardless of your background the point that follows is applicable.

 

Question: What is the law? Do the gentiles have a law? (See Rom. 2:12-16 & Galatians 3:21-23)

 

Three times in Gal. 2:16 Paul states nobody is justified by observing the law and three times it underscores the indispensable requirement of placing one's faith in Christ.

 

"justified by faith" Faith is the means by which justification is received, not it's basis or a starting point. Christ didn't just die for past since at our conversion and therefore our past sins are forgiven and in some sick perversion of the gospel we now have a new set of rules to follow to continually earn our justification.

 

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. 9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; 11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. - Colossians 2:8-15

 

"He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross." There is nothing left to condemn. Christ died for all our transgressions, and the law which was hostile to us has been taken out of the way and nailed to the cross.

 

Question: Regarding Colossians 2:8, What are the elementary principles of the world? See Galatians 4:9 for the answer in that it relates to the earlier verses in Galatians where Paul is battling those who wish to add legal requirements to salvation and sanctification.

 

"you have been made complete". 2 Cor. 5:17 states that we who are in Christ are already a "new creature". In these verses in colossians paul describes some of those attributes. "removal of the body of the flesh v.11) Our actual chracter, that is who we truely are thanks to Christ, is free from our sinful flesh. This is why, in Romans 7:17 Paul is able to state in regard to sin "So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me". "raised up v12", "made you alive together with Him v.13", This includes Ressurection from spiritual death even now. Adam and even spiritually died immediately after eating of the forbidden fruit. As God said in Genesis 2:17 "but from the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die." We know they did not die immediately in the flesh as they didn't drop dead that day. This spiritual rebirth is what it means to be "born again" (John 3:3). "forgiven us all our transgressions" v13). Yep, all of them. "canceled out the certificate of debt...having nailed it to the cross" (v14) deliverance from legalistic requirements. "disarmed the rulers and authorities" (v15), Christ disarmed those using the law to condemn both spiritual and worldly rulers and authorities.

 

But if, while seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have also been found sinners, is Christ then a minister of sin? May it never be! - Galatians 2:17

 

If while seeking to be justified (righteous, blameless, seen as without sin [2 Cor 5:21]) in Christ we ourselves have also been made evident by (the Judiazers) added legal requirements to the gospel (Gal. 1:6-7, 2:4) and therefore not justified, not complete (Col. 2:10), not righteous in the sight of God, would that then make Christ a minister of sin since those in Him would be found with blame before God? May it never be!

 

The judiazers who imposed legal requirements to the gospel would then be giving reason for follows of Christ to be found as sinners and therefore incomplete. That would then make Christ a minister of sin since those in Him would be found not justified and therefore not saved.

 

"May it never be!" This thought is not to be tolerated (see also Gal. 3:21, Luke 20:16). Other translations say "God forbid" which means "Perish the thought or don't even thin about it."

 

Paul had showed them how they are wrong according to scripture now he is showing them how they are wrong according to their own logic and reasoning.

 

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 1:7, 9:10, Psalm 111:10) because when people fear the Lord they seek the truth.

 

God is the authority in all things and what He says goes without any justification needed. If scripture is all the authority you have on a matter than you have all authority that you need. However God invites us to reason as well, to think out the logic of things. Since God is truth sound reasoning will come back to Him. Paul has done the same for his audience who wished to impose legal requirements to the gospel showing them according to their own logic how they are in error.

 

Question: How often have you seen the world defeated by it's own logic? Where the world's own ideas are made null by simple logic and reasoning.

 

Sometimes a person who has understanding can expose a person's ideals for their foolishness through simple logic. However, because God's word is the authority on matters we do not need to meet people on their ground or on their terms. Doing so can be dangerous to those who aren't grounded firmly in the truth since this would entail paying attention to doctrines of demons (1 Tm. 4:1). An anonymous saying once read, "Never argue with a fool, he will bring you down to his level and beat you with experience".

 

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

 

"For if I rebuild" Paul puts himself in the hotseat rather than Peter or the others in error. In this way Paul is being very gentle to correct them and very loving since his motivation is not to condemn but rather to correct for not only their benefit but for all the Galatians (and thereby all Christians)(Gal. 2:5). Paul exposes their false reasonings by putting himself as the "transgressor" allowing the audience to see the error of their ways through understanding and thereby receive correction and repent.

 

In this verse Paul continues to point out that if we rebuild the old system of trying to be justified by the law which was torn down by Christ's work on the cross (Col. 2:14) than we would be found not justified "since by the works of the law no flesh will be justified." (Gal. 2:16).

 

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

 

"so that"- meaning the first part is needed so the second part can take place. See Romans 7:4:

 

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. - Romans 7:4

 

To those that would see grace as a license to sin I would challenge them to examine themselves to see if they were ever actually joined to Christ in the first place. This challenge comes from Paul's written in Romans 6:1-2

 

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? - Romans 6:1-2

 

Dying to sin is a result of those whom have been crucified with 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

 

"crucified with Christ" So that our body of sin might be done away with.

 

knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; - Romans 6:6

 

Our old body of sin has been done away with and since we are a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17) separated from our body of sin we are no longer slaves to sin.

 

"the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God" Paul who has battled the judiazers that seeked to add legal requirements to the gospel and who just rebuked Peter and the others who were led astray by this party is now showing a very stark and liberating contrast. The judiazers seeked to live in the flesh by the works of the law, Paul leading by example is living in the flesh by faith in the Son of God.

 

Question: What does it mean to live in the flesh by faith in the Son of God?

 

One aspect of living in the flesh by faith in the Son of God is to trust Him for everything. Not just salvation but also sanctification which Paul elaborates on next in chapter three. The judiazers felt there were still some legalistic requirements, they felt they (and others) had fleshly obligations to fulfill. In contrast Paul here is giving his example of taking up the easy and light yoke Christ spoke of (Matt. 11:30), trusting in Him for everything.

 

"who loved me and gave Himself up for me." - Paul's motivation for living by faith in the Son of God. Contrast of living in obdience because of some perverted legalistic additions to the gospel required it, Paul shows his motivation for living in obedience in the flesh is because of what Christ has done for him.

 

Question: What work does God require of us? And this is a trick question.

 

Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” - John 6:28-29

 

Legalism snuck into the church then as it does today and goes hand-in-hand with a lack of trust. A person subconciously feels that Christ isn't sufficient to bring about the desired result and therefore, in some futile way, begins to add to the work of Christ in us. At the preaching of true grace in Jesus these same people will be made upset because you aren't also adding to the requirements that they themselves determined are necessary to complete the work "required of the church". These brothers (if they are actually brothers) are the ones spoken of when Paul refers to the Christian that is "weak in faith" (Rom. 14:1). Much of what these Christians aim for with legalism can and is being accomplished by Christ in us.

 

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. - Phillipians 1:6

 

for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. - Phillipians 2:13

 

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. - 1 Corinthians 15:10

 

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. - 1 Corinthians 12:4-6

 

Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21 equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. - Hebrews 13:20-21

 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. - John 10:10

 

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:19

 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, - Ephesians 1:3

 

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, - Titus 2:11-12

 

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. - Hebrews 12:2

 

Even faith is God initiated and God perfected. You can truely trust Christ for everything. Infact, that's our only option.

 

I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. - John 15:5

 

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. - 2 Corinthians 12:9

 

Looking at them, Jesus *said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” - Mark 10:27

 

I ask again, is there anything you can't trust Christ for?

 

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

 

"then Christ died needlessly" Paul wasn't being lazy when he chose to trust in Christ in the flesh as if there were some way to achieve this throught the law, Paul was choosing to be transformed by the only successful method.

 

If you look around and see a lacking in the church in what they should be doing, I would challenge you that it's not a lack of works but rather a lack in trust. A person/church that focuses on works as a requirement does so exhaustingly but a person/church that trust in God produces fruit of every kind.

 

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the
Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.
29 He gives strength to the weary,
And to
him who lacks might He increases power.
30 Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
31 Yet those who wait for the
Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up
with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary. -
Isaiah 40:28-31

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