Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Importance of Being Earnest (not about the play) (08/04/11)
TITLE: Rebuke and Restore
By PamFord Davis
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Should Christians hold each other accountable? What am I doing about that beam in my own eye? God, am I getting in over my head? Are the questions I pose politically correct? Someone has to deal with the issue; it is a cop out to shrug off sin as simply human nature.
The Apostle Paul confronted Apostle Peter about a very delicate situation in Antioch. He did not murmur behind Peter’s back; he squared off face to face. Peter had succumbed to peer pressure in the midst of Judaizers from the Jerusalem church, Jewish converts calling for strict adherence of Mosaic Law such as circumcision and keeping of the Sabbath. He distanced himself from Antioch Gentile believers. Barnabas, a man of integrity and encouragement even swerved off track. (Galatians 2:11-14)
“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 2:14b NIV)?” Paul’s cutting words exposed legalism as the archenemy of grace and surely hit the target. God had previously revealed to Peter the reality of salvation by faith alone, to Jew and Gentile alike, through a vision and encounter with Cornelius, a Gentile seeker of truth. (Acts 10:1-48)
Paul’s rebuke restored a brother and protected a growing fellowship. The Holy Spirit convicts me of the error of my own ways. Am I unflinching in regards to fundamental truth or do I desire the approval of man more than pleasing God? Paul did not condemn his Christian coworker; he judged his behavior as inconsistent with what he preached.
PRAYER: “Lord, I thank you that eternity rests in your salvation by grace through faith. I desire to express agape love to all your children. Forgive me when I falter. Enable me with strength and courage to stand firm. In Jesus name, Amen.”
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