Galatians 2:20 – I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.
The goal of my life is to live it according to this verse. When Paul said this to Peter, he said a mouthful and I have been impacted by it in such a way that I want it said of me, Galatians 2:20 encapsulates her life.
Paul and Peter were fellowshipping with the Gentiles when some Jewish brethren from James arrived. Peter, a leader in the church, removed himself from the mix fearing criticism, causing other Jews, including Barnabas, to do the same. Paul was so outdone that he felt a need to address the situation. So he called Peter out in front of everybody.
Paul begins by reminding the Jewish believers of the truth that when they became believers, the law and its code of separation from others went out the door and was no longer the way they should live. The Bible actually refers to this type of behavior in the New Testament as hypocrisy.
Let me just stop and say that I believe that God told the Jewish nation to stay separate from the other nations because they didn’t have the power to live for Him yet, while being amongst them. In other words, it wasn’t until they accepted Jesus as Savior and were filled with the Holy Spirit that the power to intermingle with unbelievers were made available to them. You can see throughout scriptures that they acclimated to every culture they lived near. So God was trying to keep them from straying from Him, while at the same time teaching them that the law was insufficient in helping them to do so! Now Paul is reminding Peter and the other Jewish believers that in light of this truth, what they had done was hypocritical.
Paul then comes to this life changing statement of faith! He says “I have been crucified with Christ!” This is powerful! Don’t miss it! Paul is saying, I have laid all of that stuff on the cross with Jesus. All of my elitist attitudes have died. All of my old ways of thinking have died. My old ways of living have died. All of my allegiance to separatism of the law has died! All of it!
There is so much in this verse! As I was meditating on it I had to really think about my life. Have I truly died to everything associated with the “old man” and its nature? Yes, I have! It is written, “old things have passed away, behold all things are new!” But it is up to me and up to you to live accordingly! As it was up to Peter and to Barnabas! They too had died to their old man, but when placed in certain situations, the old man was resurrected.
Peter knew this better than Paul did. Or he should have. After all, it was Peter whom God placed in a trance and commanded that he eat the unclean beasts. Peter then told God that he wasn’t going to and he never had eaten anything unclean or uncommon. Then God responded to him, “Don’t call common what I have cleaned!” (Acts 10). I thought it interesting that Peter had just raised Dorcas from the dead and seen a mighty move of God and now he was telling the Lord what he wasn’t going to do! Just a note to remind you that even when He uses us powerfully, we can still do and say some dumb things!!
I’m not going to go where you I know I can go with this. Suffice it to say, there is no place for this type of attitude in the body of Christ. It was not acceptable then and it isn’t acceptable now. Paul reminded Peter, and I will remind myself and you, hypocrisy is harmful to the body! Especially from leadership! Leaders are leaders because others follow them. Right or wrong! You don’t want to be responsible for leading others into the ditch!
If you are a leader in your church and you have felt above others, or selectively have fellowship with others in the faith, or have totally not embraced others because they are different, you are a hypocrite! If you, as a member of the Body of Christ, have ever been guilty of similar behavior like Peter’s or Barnabas, you are a hypocrite! Stop it!
Might I remind you that Jesus died for us all! He cleansed us all! He doesn’t have one cleansing for the Jew and one for the Gentile. He doens’t have one cleansing for the blacks and one for everybody else. He doesn’t have one cleansing for men and one for women. He doesn’t have one cleansing for Baptists and one for Pentecostals. No!!!!!! If you are born of the Spirit of the Living God, then you have had the same Blood washing that all the rest of the believers have had. And that’s the gospel truth!!
I told you that there is a lot packed in this verse! I didn’t realize that I would only be able to address this first part. If you want to know what else I have to say on the rest of this verse you will just have to return to my blog to view it. Until then, don’t be a hypocrite! Wonderful Jesus!!