Today’s Reading: Galatians 2:1-16
Key Verse: When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? – Galatians 2:14
There is a Russian parable that goes like this… “A hunter raised his rifle and took careful aim at a large bear. When about to pull the trigger, the bear spoke in a soft, soothing voice, “Isn’t it better to talk than shoot? What do you want? Let us negotiate the matter.” Lowering his rifle, the hunter replied, “I want a fur coat.” “Good,” said the bear, “that is a negotiable question. I only want a full stomach, so let us negotiate a compromise.” They sat down to negotiate, and after a time the bear walked away alone. The negotiations had been successful. The bear had a full stomach, and the hunter had his fur coat.” I am sure that if you had been the hunter, you would not have ultimately been satisfied with the results of that compromise. It seems that compromises do not always give the satisfaction that they promise.
Compromise often calls for a sacrifice of truth and we need wisdom to discern when this is happening. We are never to give up on truth. This is exactly what is happening as Paul writes in Galatians 2. Paul is catching someone else compromising, and he refuses to let it continue. His refusal is all the more startling, be use the confrontation is with another apostle, Peter himself.
You see, Peter had a large circle of influence. So when Peter went one direction, a lot of people went with him. Paul was aware that Peter’s actions would do serious damage to the church and his behaviour was out of sync with the gospel and inconsistent with Peter’s own life commitments. Instead of staying true to truth, he began adding to it by giving in to the Judaizers.
Paul was not going to give in. Here is the warning for us. You cannot think that just because you had success in the past, or you had it right in the past, you are always going to be right in the future. Peter proves that past experiences are no guarantees of future obedience.
We must not be afraid of the consequences of applying the truth
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7