Day 5

Freedom from the Law

from the Galatians reading plan


Galatians 2:11-21, Deuteronomy 10:12-17, Acts 10:9-48, 1 Corinthians 7:17-19

BY Melanie Rainer

I once took a conflict assessment (like a personality test, but for workplace conflict styles) that revealed to me that I have a “collaborative” conflict style. This means when conflict arises, I try to identify solutions that work for everyone. This is often a recipe for disaster.

I like to present a lot of options and then back slowly out of the room (metaphorically) and not make any decision that will make other people upset. I am a problem solver, but in the “here are a bunch of ways to solve it, you decide!” kind of way.

Paul is not like that, and especially not in his conflict with Peter.

The latter half of Galatians 2 is one of the strongest rebukes of an apostle in the Bible. Paul calls Peter a hypocrite who deviated from the true gospel. Peter had been eating non-Jewish-law-approved meals with Gentile Christians. But when a group of radical Jewish leaders called the circumcision party disapproved, Peter stopped eating with Gentiles. The Judaizers believed that to be a true Christian, a Gentile had to become Jewish first and follow Jewish law.

In his book, Galatians for You, Tim Keller writes, “Paul did not simply say: You’re breaking the rules (even though Peter was), but: You’ve forgotten the gospel: your own gracious welcome in Christ. Paul did not focus so much on the sinful behavior as on the sinful attitude of self-righteousness that lay beneath it.”

Living out the gospel often rubs against cultural best practices, be they ancient or modern. More often than I wish, I capitulate like Peter. I wonder, how can I live out my faith but in a way that doesn’t make other people angry or uncomfortable? I live in the irreconcilable tension of seeking the approval of both God and man (directly antithetical to what we read a few days ago in Galatians 1:10).

After rebuking Peter, Paul goes on to make one of the most impassioned, beautiful expositions of the true gospel. He says, “a person is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ… I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing” (vv.16,21).

Paul spends the rest of Galatians building on this truth: the traditional Jewish law does not save or purify people, only faith in Christ who died and rose again. The approval of other people doesn’t save you either, and you only need acceptance by God the Father, gained by the righteousness of Christ given to us when we believe. All we need is in Christ. All we have is Christ. Christ did not die for nothing; He died for you and me.

Post Comments (25)

25 thoughts on "Freedom from the Law"

  1. NanaK says:

    Crucified With Christ
    Phillips, Craig and Dean, Craig Phillips

    As I look back on what I thought was living
    I’m amazed at the price I choose to pay
    And to think I ignored what really mattered
    Cause I thought the sacrifice would be too great
    But when I finally reached the point of giving in
    I found the cross was calling even then
    And even though it took dying to survive
    I’ve never felt so much alive

    For I am crucified with Christ and yet I live
    Not I but Christ that lives within me
    His Cross will never ask for more than I can give
    For its not my strength but His
    There’s no greater sacrifice
    For I am crucified with Christ and yet I live

    As I hear the Savior call for daily dying
    I will bow beneath the weight of Calvary
    Let my hands surrender to His piercing purpose
    That holds be to the cross but sets me free
    I will glory in the power of the cross
    The things I thought were gain I count as loss
    And with His suffering I identify
    And by His resurrection power I am alive

    For I am crucified with Christ and yet I live
    Not I but Christ that lives within me
    His Cross will never ask for more than I can give
    For its not my strength but His
    There’s no greater sacrifice

    For I am crucified with Christ and yet I live
    And I will offer all I have
    So that His cross is not in vain
    For I found to live is Christ
    And to die is truly gain

    For I am crucified with Christ and yet I live
    Not I but Christ that lives within me
    His Cross will never ask for more than I can give
    For its not my strength but His
    There’s no greater sacrifice
    For I am crucified with Christ and yet I live

  2. Gema Muniz says:

    Amen! Our God is so perfect he accepts us all for who we are. Jews or gentiles he calls us all his children. He loves us and cares for us. If only the world could be more like Christ, we wouldn’t have to deal with racism and hate. We are all loved, my sisters let’s be the light of the world everywhere we go. God bless you all.

    1. Jennifer Anapol says:

      Amen!!

    2. Sue Dunlap says:

      Amen!

  3. Kelly Chataine says:

    I Corinthians 7:19
    Circumcision does not matter and uncircumcision does not matter. Keeping God’s commands is what matters.

    Deuteronomy 10:12-17
    And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you except to fear the Lord your God by walking in all his ways, to love him, and to worship the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul? 13 Keep the Lord’s commands and statutes I am giving you today, for your own good. 14 The heavens, indeed the highest heavens, belong to the Lord your God, as does the earth and everything in it. 15 Yet the Lord had his heart set on your fathers and loved them. He chose their descendants after them—he chose you out of all the peoples, as it is today. 16 Therefore, circumcise your hearts and don’t be stiff-necked any longer. 17 For the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, mighty, and awe-inspiring God, showing no partiality and taking no bribe.

  4. Churchmouse says:

    Peter seems like the stereotypical politician here. When he meets with one group of people, he seeks to be acceptable to them. When he meets with another group of people, he seeks to be acceptable to them. All this morphing reveals Peter’s lack of conviction to the Truth. It reveals his unwillingness to stand firm for Christ. Rather, he capitulates to the crowd. Paul rightfully calls him out on it. There’s no place for two – faced faith. Paul knew that rejection and persecution came with a bold stand for Christ. Paul had first hand experience. But denying, minimizing or misrepresenting the Gospel was unconscionable in light of what Jesus had done to procure their freedom from the Law and the curse of sin. We are not called to be chameleons. We are called to be Christ followers and cross bearers. We are to proclaim the full Gospel. We are to bear any suffering with confidence that we are sharing in the suffering of Christ. It is a holy suffering, not a shameful one. We are to be willing to bear scorn rather than be silent. Let us pray for holy boldness. Let us pray that we speak the Truth in love. Let us encourage one another to hold the line, to stand firm. There is only one face we are to reflect and that face is Jesus.

  5. Angie says:

    Thoughts: Dallas Willard’s “Grace is not opposed to effort, only to earning.”… and still the little things matter – Galatans 2:11-21 is a call-out by Paul to Peter because he was falling back into ways of legalism and separatism.
    Lesson: Open hands, open heart, open mind, and actions before you Lord – if those who walked beside you can fall back, deviating from the truth of the gospel, how much more could I? The gift of grace, and remembering 1 Corinthians 7, keeping God’s commands matters.
    ——-
    Paul’s proclamation that it is not by works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ we are justified, is made even more beautiful and powerful when I consider the way Paul was raised, his persecution of followers of The Way before Jesus – he passionately believed it was all about works of the law. His whole being was “crucified with Christ” and he was made totally new by his declared faith walk for Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. His passion for grace became profound. What an example of a changed life.
    ——-
    Old Testament foundations remain New Testament Truth in Jesus.
    Fear God
    Walk in His way
    Love Him
    Worship Him
    with all your heart and soul
    Keep His commands
    Circumcise your hearts
    He chose you.
    ——-
    When the Spirit leads – go with no doubts at all.
    ——
    The message of Christ:
    LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT, JESUS:
    Annointed by God,
    Empowered by the Holy Spirit,
    Did only good
    Healed
    Witnessed
    Died on the cross
    Rose again
    He called us to preach
    He forgives sins
    Public declaration and baptism.

    Today’s reading felt like a torrential rain shower, pelting me with truths, flooding my soul, cleansing and powerful and yet everywhere all at the same time.

    1. Ashley P. says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts this morning! ❤️
      That quote about grace is giving me something to chew on as well.

  6. Shawn Parks says:

    Christ died for everything. Every sin. Every soul. Every mess. Every tear. Every fear. Every hurt. Everyone.
    Christ rose from the dead for everything. Every hope. Every truth. Every triumph. Every joy. Every chain. Every death.
    “He’s everything to me.
    Till by faith I met Him face to face,
    And felt the wonder of His grace….
    Now I walk beside day by day,
    Ever watching o’er me lest I stray
    Helping me to find that narrow way.
    He’s everything to me!”

    1. Melissa Graves says:

      Shawn Parks, thanks for sharing those song lyrics…it was a sweet blast from the past for me, all the way back to my baby Christian days when I was involved with Cru on my college campus, thirty something years ago. And He still walks beside me today, ever watching oer me lest I stray. Yes, He’s still EVERYTHING to me as well!

  7. Emily Wang says:

    Don’t let fear of losing man’s approval let you shrink away from standing up for your faith.

    We are free from the death that law alone brings! Thanks to our saving grace. He has set us free, so let’s not put ourselves back in shackles by trying to save ourselves by the law. It’s not possible.

  8. Kristen says:

    Melanie mentions Tim Keller’s quote from his book. I heard about him through Christine Chapell on Instagram. She does a podcast called, The Hope and Help project. (It’s good.). I started listening on the podcast app to Tim Keller. Wow, he is a good teacher of the Word. I recently listened to a series about upside down and inside out living. I actually want to listen again to glean more. He also did one called, Haughty Eyes (episode 274, I believe) about pride. I’ve shared it with others on the First 5 app that learned from it, and some passed it on too. Pride is a dangerous thing, and needs to end. I’ll put a link to it, but you can check out the podcast for the other episodes. The podcast is called: Gospel in Life or go to http://www.gospelinlife.org. You could also search Tim Keller sermons. Here is the link: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/timothy-keller-sermons-podcast-by-gospel-in-life/id352660924?i=1000445092561

    Thank you Jesus for all you’ve done. Please forgive me when I’m not in awe of all that You did. I also heard in one of Tim’s teachings that Jesus had everything, yet He left Heaven. Our salvation was His joy. (I’m paraphrasing ). The point is that, we are blessed to be able to read His Word or hear His Word everyday. I wonder how often we forget just what a sacrifice He made and the love that He had to endure such pain. I need to repent and want to live in amazement of my Savior.

    1. Kristin V says:

      Thanks for sharing!!

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