What Are You Saying by the Way you Live Your Life? (Galatians 1-3)

14 But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” Galatians 2:14

Have you ever been guilty of saying one thing but doing another? I know I have to admit that I have been guilty of negating the weight of what I said by the weight of how I lived.

During his lifetime, the Apostle Paul proclaimed the gospel for over 20 years. Not only did Paul proclaim the gospel, Paul lived out the gospel in his daily life. His message and his manner of life far exceeded him around the world. Here is what Paul writes in Galatians one:

21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God because of me.

Paul was a changed man. Day in and day out, Paul proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In Paul’s letter to the churches in Galatia he dealt with both doctrinal and practical errors that would rob the gospel of its power. First, he dealt with the doctrinal error. There were those who were turning away from the true gospel of salvation by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ (Gal. 1:6-7). Paul seeks to turn them back to the truth of the gospel. Here is this truth in summary statements:

  • The Gospel is given by revelation of God, 1:12. It is God who opens our hearts and minds.
  • The Gospel is received by faith alone, 2:16.
  • The Gospel is lived out by faith alone, 2:20.
  • The Gospel is power:
    • Power that brings us to life, 3:3.
    • Power to live out the Christian life, 3:3.
  • The gospel is for all people, 3:28.

These truths of the gospel dictated to Paul the correct way he was to live out the gospel which is the practical side of a life of faith.

Please come to understand the following: “Sometimes our conduct hinders the gospel because our actions are casting a shadow over the gospel.”

We see this even in Peter’s life:

11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.[g]13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 

Oh how heartbreaking it must have been for Paul to see this in Peter’s life. Question: How do we overcome such conduct?

I believe we must come to the place where the cross (Galatians 2:20) becomes the control-center of our lives. We must come to the place where our ways of living are directed by a Cross-Centered world view.

Peter knew better than to get caught up in prejudice living (Acts 10:34-43). But in the moment, his old life crept up. But praise be to God that Paul confronted Peter with the cross and Peter took it to the cross.

Brothers and sisters, if there is anything in your life that has not been nailed to the cross, it is time that you give it to God, Col. 2:13-15. The gospel demands a life that mirrors the cross.

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