Fool’s Gold – Galatians 2. RBT Notes, 19th December

What fool could take the inestimable riches and beauty of the Gospel and trade it in for something cheap, fake, powerless and totally worthless? I could, and probably so could you. There is something about our hearts which is so foolish that we could take God’s best and give it away in order to take something else. Those in the Galatia were doing just that. Paul writes this chapter, and this letter, to get our hearts valuing what is God’s precious truth for us. And that is the Gospel.

And so, he carries on with the story of his own Gospel journey. This is a crucially important part of that journey: Paul goes to meet with the other leaders of the church, and his concern is about whether they have compromised on the Gospel, and given to the pressures of a merely cultural religion (vv.1-5). To his relief, the meeting is a happy one, and the brothers recognise that Paul is a bona fide apostle to the Gentiles (v.7). They endorse his ministry, and all is well (vv.8–10). Why is he telling the Galatians this? Because he wants them to reflect on the fact the the Apostles themselves have recognised that he is as a minister of the true gospel.
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That means, therefore, that he will fight for the true gospel, even if the most surprising and influential people go soft on it. Look at Peter’s hypocrisy (vv.11-13). Peter’s Gospel seems to be only for the Jews, something Paul cannot countenance. This is obviously no Gospel at all, and it’s having a damaging influence (v.13). Paul bravely challenges Peter, that he is not “acting in line with the truth of the Gospel”(v.14). And Paul is right: no amount of law-keeping saves anyone. The Jews are as much in need of the Gospel of Jesus as the Gentiles, and the Gospel is exactly the same for both. We are justified alone by faith in Christ (v.16). Even if Peter should lose sight of that, Paul has the integrity to challenge him, and thereby to try to stop the rot in the church.
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Here is the heart of the gospel, then: we die to the law because Jesus has kept the law in our place. He gives us a brand new life through our faith. We live out that life every moment through faith in Him. He is our good news, our confidence, our life. There is literally nothing God is asking for from us except faith in Jesus and faith-driven living for him (vv.17-21).
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This is the glorious Gospel, powerful, free and true. A fool would swap it for a squalid, effort-based message and life. The Good News is that God offer his Gospel to those who are fools. Have you taken it? Are you holding onto it? If you are, never, ever let it go. By God’s grace you won’t.
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A Prayer to Pray
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Father, what an amazing Gospel. What an incredible plan You have revealed through Your Son, to give forgiveness and new life in Him. Thankyou for such a Saviour. Teach me to know and love Him more, and to fear ever disowning Him. Amen.

Lewis Allen

Pastor, Hope Church Huddersfield, Director of Gospel Yorkshire, husband, father of five, football follower and dreaming fly-fisherman, Daily Reading the Bible Together blogger.

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