1. Is Christ Truly God: The Doctrines That Divide By Erwin Lutzer (NKJV)
September 28, 2018
Galatians 2:11 “Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? 6 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.”
After doing a thorough search through the Book of Acts, I found nothing in regard to the above incident. Which simply means the writer could not record every incident. Just because Dr. Luke did not record it, does not mean it did not happen. I used this verse because it shows us what not to do. This could very easily have been left out of Galatians, I know that the Apostle Paul was not a man given to boasting. On the other hand, integrity was extremely important. He was much like our LORD in that sense. James, the brother of our LORD put it in like this:
James 3:13 “Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic.” (NASB)
What Paul said might have seemed harsh, but he did not confront Peter like that for the sake of being mean. I have witnessed many Christians today try to correct a brother or sister publicly. However, they do not seem to understand the concept of speaking the truth in love. I have seen it done simply because the one doing the so-called correcting just wanted to be seen and heard by others. This was not Paul’s motivation. I am speaking from experience; I have been on the other end of assaults like this.
Very often, we feel compelled to play the hypocrite and compromise what we know to be the truth. Nevertheless, one man’s actions, whether he be a pillar of the church or not, does not justify shunning one Believer or group of Believers in order to impress others. For example, when I was a teenager, my next-door neighbor who was probably four or five years older than me, chose to become a Muslim. At the time, I was heavy into drugs and alcohol abuse. However, my Muslim friend rose above such ghettoish type of behavior. He carried himself with a dignity that left an indelible impression upon the community, including me. At the time, I did not know anyone other than him and his Muslim brothers that commanded that kind of respect. They behaved the way I imagined Jesus would, they hung out at the pool room with us sinners, yet without participating in the sins we frolicked with. I truly held him in such high esteem and still do to this very day. He remained faithful to his chosen beliefs no matter how many times he saw us getting high and behaving like hooligans. We have been in touch with each other on Facebook over the past one or two years. He is still committed to what he believes. Recently, I posted something that must have went struck a nerve with him concerning the deity of Christ. However, no matter how much love and respect I still have for this man, I will not recant or compromise where I stand on the matter. I will not play the hypocrite to gain his favor, and neither will he. I am committed to this truth; Jesus Christ of Nazareth is my resurrected Savior, LORD, and the Son of God. He is also The Messenger of the New Covenant, the awaited for Christ. He is seated at the Right Hand of God the Father and I worship Him as God the Son. It would make me a stone cold hypocrite if I were to agree with him saying that Jesus was just a great messenger and prophet. This may sound offensive to some of you so try not to be our judge. When I was a young man the way that he seemed to rise above all of the things that tied me down left a seed in me, a seed of what true representation of what you believed looked like. More so than many Pastors, and some Christians that I have known in my lifetime.
In Galatians 2, Peter wavered in his faith. He was happily eating with Gentile believers, as long as certain Jewish brethren were absent. However, he feared what the circumcision would think, so he played the fool by putting on a different face for different folk. The Apostle Paul, who was younger in the faith confronted Peter before everyone, Peter must have been sweating bullets at that moment.
I said all of that to say this, if you are confused about the deity of Christ or any of the doctrines listed in a previous post hang in there. I will be using a lot of excerpts from this book, as well as some of my own personal experiences should the need arise. However, it would be better if you would purchase the book, and look back on how and why The Holy Spirit has led you to this point. Not for my sake nor for yours, but for the sake of The True Body of Christ. To be continued…