Summary: A look at what it means to be crucified with Christ.
A heavily booked commercial flight out of Denver was canceled, and a single agent was rebooking a long line of inconvenienced travelers. Suddenly an angry passenger pushed his way to the front and slapped his ticket down on the counter. "I have to be on this flight and it has to be first class!" he insisted. "I’m sorry, sir," the agent replied. "I’ll be happy to help you, but I have to take care of these folks first." The passenger was unimpressed. "Do you have any idea who I am?" he demanded in a voice loud enough for the passengers behind him to hear. Without hesitating, the gate agent smiled and picked up her public-address microphone. "May I have your attention, please?" she broadcast throughout the terminal. "We have a passenger here at the gate who does not know who he is. If anyone can help him find his identity, please come to the gate." As the man retreated, the people in the terminal burst into applause. (Taken from sermoncentral.com Johnny Creasong)
I think that this is a great illustration for us as Christians. While it would be great if we never acted like the man in this story the fact is we sometimes do. Before we get into our text today we are going to look back a few verses and see that even the best, as we think of the best, Christians are subject to act in ways that are unbecoming of their namesake “Christ.” Take a look at Galatians chapter 20 verses 11-19.
11 tNow when 4Peter had come to Antioch, I 5withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12 for before certain men came from James, uhe would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing 6those who were of the circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.
14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about vthe truth of the gospel, I said to Peter wbefore them all, x“If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, 7why do you compel Gentiles to live as 8Jews? 15 yWe who are Jews by nature, and not zsinners of the Gentiles, 16 aknowing that a man is not 9justified by the works of the law but bby faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not cby the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
17 “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found dsinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 19 For I ethrough the law fdied to the law that I might glive to God.
In our illustration a man is being very rude to those around him in order to try and accommodate himself. Peter has also been rude to the gentiles at Galatia because he did not want to embarrass himself by associating with them while the Jewish Christians were around. Paul however is going to have no part of this and he corrects Peter out of love but in public. When Christian leaders in the church begin to act in a non-Christ-like manner they affect everyone around them just as Peter affected the Jews and even Barnabas. So it is sometimes necessary to correct the person who is leading people astray in public. Paul stresses to Peter that they have a new way of living because of the sacrifice that Christ has made. He points out that Peter has already stopped following the whole law so why is he trying to keep this part of the law that hurts the fellowship of the believers.