Summary: Sermon 6 in Galatians series.
Last week – Conflict in Antioch
Paul’s public rebuke of Peter, who had stopped eating with the Gentiles because of pressure from Legalistic Jews who were treating Jewish Christians in Jerusalem harshly because of Peters association with Gentiles in Antioch.
Paul’s basic argument with Peter was Look Peter,
You are a Jew, but you live like a Gentile (eating with them, free from yoke of Law)
But now, you would force the Gentiles to become Jews in order to be acceptable Christians, and you are denying them the very freedom that you enjoy in Christ.
In verses 15- 18, Paul is Reinforcing that same argument.
We know that Paul likes to use reason in his arguments and explanations
In Acts 17 the bible tells that Paul reasoned with the Jews in the Synagogues on the Sabbath as was his custom as he witnessed to them.
Here in Galatians, Paul is using reason as he outlines for the Galatians why Peter was so wrong to stop eating with the Gentiles
The Christians in Galatia are facing the same theological dilemma. Legalistic Jews are telling the Gentiles they must become Jews (get circumcised) in order to truly be Christians. So this is important for the Gentile believers in Galatia
Lets look at 15-18: Passage in 2 sections today. First one is 15-18, a review of Paul’s reasoned argument in Antioch, then we’ll look at 19-21
Gal 2: 15-21 (NIV) 15 "We who are Jews by birth and not ’Gentile sinners’ 16 know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified. 17 "If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker.
15 – Paul makes distinction between Jews and Gentiles here.
Jews thought of themselves as “covenant people”
They had been entrusted with the Law of Moses.
They had lived under that Law for Many Centuries.
Unlike the Gentiles, who had not been under the law. Before coming to know Christ, Jews like Paul and Peter saw the Gentiles as “Sinner” because they did not follow the law of Moses, or even try to.
But when Christ came, everything changed. The law God had given to the people through Moses found fulfillment in Jesus
All of the OT types and shadows were now flesh and blood.
No more blood sacrifices of animals. Jesus had poured out his blood as the ultimate sacrifice, the last one that would ever be needed.
No more did they have to fear the presence of God in the Holiest of Holies
The vale had been torn in two – they had a new high Priest in Jesus Christ
A mediator who was eternally in the presence of God, intervening for them
Standing in the gap between man and God
Through Jesus Christ, Peter and Paul had found freedom from the law
16 know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.
Not justified by the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ
Ps 143 2 Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you
Next, in v 17, Paul exposes the fatal flaw in what the Judiasers are doing.
He takes their premise, that the Jewish laws of Purity are still binding on Jewish Christians and he carries it out to its own logical conclusion.
17 "If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not!
If we are justified by Christ, and in following his teaching we fellowship with Gentiles and bring ourselves under judgment of the Jewish law, If that law is still binding then that must mean that being a follower of Christ results in sin!
Can that be true? Paul answers emphatically – Absolutely NOT!
Paul brings the matter to a breaking point. Something here has to give.
There are 2 things here that can’t both be true at the same time.
We cannot be a follower of Christ, justified by Christ apart from the law,
And still have the Jewish laws regarding purity and circumcision be binding
The purity laws are set aside, the truth of the gospel reigns supreme. In Christ there is no Jew or Gentile, we are all the same.