Read: Galatians 2:1-21
Centering Verse: I have been crucified with Christ; 20 and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:19b-20)
- What does it mean to be justified? How have you experienced justification?
- How was Peter/Cephas more concerned with pleasing people than pleasing God? Why did this upset Paul?
- Why do you think Paul stood up to Peter/Cephas? Why is Paul’s outrage over the way the Jews treated the Gentiles important for us today?
- How do we let sin creep back in to our lives after experiencing God’s grace? How might we combat this temptation to sin?
- What does it mean to be crucified with Christ? How might Christ live in you?
Paul sets before us a choice: live fully committed to the way of Christ or live committed to sinful actions, thoughts, and attitudes. There is no middle ground. We cannot act one way in order to please God and then act in another way in order to please others or ourselves. We must confront hypocrisy within ourselves. Those sinful actions, thoughts, and attitudes must die within us and Christ and his ways, love, and perspective must be born within us and allowed to thrive. But it is only an act of the will that can offer the self over for crucifixion. Yet if we choose the death of self, we will experience the resurrection life of Christ.
Father, God of our salvation, cleanse us from our hypocrisy and our tendency to turn back passionately to sin. May we instead open ourselves up to your life, holiness, and love.