Friday, July 20, 2012

Thoughts on Galatians 2

Peter apparently succumbed to Jewish peer pressure in Antioch.  This is a pattern in his life.  Perhaps he felt, as a nonmember of the elite, inferior to the learned Jewish intelligentsia.  I can relate.  I always feel inferior to the people with doctorates with whom I work, although I am not sure why and am often amazed by their lack of perspective, background, self-knowledge, and curiosity.

The end of the Galatians 2 is not written to the Galatians directly is the record of a conversation with Peter.  The conundrum, the paradox:  “For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.”  The law crucified Christ; we were crucified with him, to the purpose of living go God.  This is deep.  The gospel is a system, and open one, in a way, in that we enter into it, but closed in the sense that one piece cannot be taken out. 

I don’t think we can fully understand the drama, the consequences, here.  Paul states there were spies from the Jewish leadership trying to subvert the gospel.  These were not scholastic debates.  It was the core of the Christian faith.

People who come from legalistic backgrounds often do not realize that legalism is not just “out there.”  It is within us.  We love it; it is something we must repent of, not just leave, as if it were a place.  It is a condition, a sinful one. 

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