Gospel Meditation: Galatians 2:11-21
Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Recite the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
1. Cephas, known as Peter, when he arrived in Antioch where Paul was, withdrew from eating with Gentiles, that is, uncircumcised Christians, and even walked away from fellowship with these because he feared the circumcision party, those Jews who believed in Jesus but also taught one had to follow the Mosaic Law. Unhappily even Barnabas aligned with Peter.
2. Paul, when he saw this, challenged Peter and Barnabas, and argued that a Gentile did not have to obey the Jewish laws.
3. Paul then presents the fact that keeping the Laws of Moses, meaning being circumcised, observing the food laws, and celebrating the feasts of Israel (like Yom Kippur), will not justify, or save, a person.
4. Paul actually confronted his brother in Christ, Peter, with his hypocrisy, and proclaims that salvation is by faith and not by keeping of the works of the law. Indeed, despite how careful a person may keep all the Laws of Moses, still there is no justification.
5. Paul will not rebuild what he rejected, that is, to have salvation from God by keeping the Mosaic Law.
6. And then comes one of the most wonderful verses in all Scripture, Galatians 2:20, stating salvation is a gift from God and not the result of Law keeping.
7. Paul then points out that if salvation is achieved by law keeping, then Christ died in vain.