Monday, October 09, 2006

Lifestyle is a matter of justification

I have some more developed thoughts on this which I may blog shortly... but, here's the thing: It's Paul vs. Peter at The Curious Incident of the Bacon Sandwich in Antioch (known to us as Galatians 2:11-21), retold for the benefit of the foolish Galatian Christians (3:1). And its told to confront the Galatians for falling into Peter's error.

What was Peter's error: he implicitly declared that non-Jewish believers should keep the Jewish food laws (something he no longer did, having been set free in Christ). And Paul confronts him not for being cruel or mean, but for standing condemned - out of step with the gospel. Essentially he says - your lifestyle is a matter of justification.

We're often keep to say that lifestyle is sanctification, because we don't want people to think that they have to perform to be justified. But this incident takes it from a slightly different angle... and says, if you start imposing law then it is very much a matter of justification: of denying the only way to be justified...

Why? Because, Paul concludes (for the Galatians benefit) in 2v21, if you impose a lifestyle of law then you deny that the Cross of Christ has any meaning to get you right standing with God. That is to say, your lifestyle sinks the one way you could be justified.

We're not told how Peter toook this (though the existence of the later letters by Peter would suggest he repented) because we don't need to know. The story is left hanging because the Galatians are hanging... hanging over the edge like Peter was. Why? Because they're submitting to law and so denying the Cross, just like Peter did.

Like Peter they really should know better - why? Because Paul preached the full meaning of the Cross to them when they we'ren't Christians - and hearing that with faith they became Christians! Paul wasn't talking nonsense and meaningless words to them - it was the solid true meat of the meaning of the Cross.

Lifestyle is a matter of justification. If you're justified by faith then you don't need to add to your justification. It is complete because of the Cross of Christ. So don't live by law... be free! Neither should we be re-enslaved to sin... Instead: enjoy the freedom of living by and in the Holy Spirit. Don't add rules - look to the Cross of Christ and boast in its meaning.

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1 comment:

  1. and its meaning is simply, 'freedom through Christ - alone'. Thanks for sharing that Dave; am hoping you get around to blogging more thoughts on it.