But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel…
(Galatians 2:14 – ESV)
(Galatians 2:14 – ESV)
How often do we hear it said that the Gospel applies to all of life? If we are around solid Christians or are in a good church then it would be quite often, no doubt. Because we realize the Bible teaches this truth, when we hear it we are quick to say a hearty “amen!”
But let’s get real now. Do you really believe this to be true? I mean, you may say it, but do you live it? Can you explain to yourself and to others, can you teach them why this is so, with real examples, or are you just a parrot? Now we do need to repeat this assertion to ourselves and become convinced of it, but it needs to start playing out in our everyday lives, in our everyday situations, and in every situation. The Gospel applies, but in our sanctification we must apply it. If it doesn’t, many times it is because we don’t do it, we don’t apply it. In whatever situations we don’t apply it the Gospel really isn’t having that effectual power in that part of our lives yet.
Really, it doesn’t yet because we don’t believe it yet. But it can, really. Now stop telling me you really believe it, or trying hard to make yourself believe it. Get into the Word and see for yourself, ask yourself and the text you are reading some questions. How are the situations that are presented in the Bible and the teachings that are given in the Bible affected by the Gospel?
You see, it isn’t always so easy, is it? Do you still believe, or are you silently thinking to yourself, “well, I know the Gospel is all important, but it really doesn’t apply to this or that situation?” Come on now, be honest, and maybe we can show you something today.
What if I told you that the Gospel applies to eating lunch? If you could see that the Gospel applied to something as mundane, regular, and “neutral” as that, wouldn’t that help you to see that we should be looking for ways to apply the Gospel?
Well, the Gospel does indeed apply to eating lunch. In Galatians chapter two, we see Paul confront Peter. Why? Because Peter usually ate with the Gentiles, but he shied away from eating with the Gentiles once the Judaizers arrived. The Judaizers, or “circumcision party”, were those who said you had to become a Jew, and that you had to be circumcised to be saved, or at least to become an advanced Christian. Peter knew this wasn’t true, but he was trying to avoid confrontation, or trying not to look bad in their eyes. Paul calls it fear. It wasn’t that he changed his beliefs, but his convictions were not strong enough and he was avoiding trouble for himself. He wasn’t going to tell the Gentiles they had to be circumcised, he just wanted to avoid having to deal with the Judaizers, and he wanted to stay with the cool crowd, as it were.
This conduct was not in accordance with the truth of the Gospel however, and Paul marched right over to that other table and told Peter off! The Gospel applied to lunch.
Let’s apply the Gospel lesson learned in the lunchroom standoff to our lives today. Do you avoid other Christians when you see them out while you are with your “cool” friends? Do you believe the Gospel truth that there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28 – ESV)? Or do you still separate from those who don’t dress the way you do, look the way you do, have the same social status as you, aren’t as smart as you, or aren’t the same color as you? We could go on and on, but you get the point. The Gospel means we don’t set the boundaries, God does.
Now that you have learned an elementary lesson, you may ask, “How do we learn to bring the Gospel to bear on all of our life?” Keep reading the Bible and asking questions. Pray for God to show you. As you read and pray for this, God will show you in your life experience just how central the Gospel is. It is as necessary as eating your daily bread.