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A boxing match of Biblical proportion

A few weeks ago, my Sunday morning men’s group began reading through the book of Galatians. Honestly for as short as it is, I haven’t spent a whole lot of time with it. I typically will be drawn to the other Epistles.  As we opened up, I realized I was missing a real treasure.

I have never been too much of a boxing fan, but when I came across Galatians 2:11-21, I couldn’t help myself. Images started flashing in my mind…The Title Round. In the Blue corner, weighing in at 165lbs, hailing from Rome…Paul!!! In the Red corner, weighing in at 190lbs, hailing from the Province of Galilee…Peter!

Can you see it? Just look at the 12 rounds that they go through.  Verse 11 says, Paul opposed him face to face, because he was clearly wrong! It’s a grudge match! Paul was calling Peter out. He didn’t leave anything back. In verse 14 Paul asks, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?”

Peter is feeling the heat. How will he last this beating? Paul continues in verse 15, almost mocking him, “We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.”

Can you believe that Peter is still trying to get away with teaching the law. Paul is outraged. He goes in for one final blow saying in verse 19, “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me…I do not set aside the grace of God, for is righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing.”

We have a clear winner. Paul has called out Peter. Paul takes the Title, clearly not for himself, but for Christ.

It’s passages like this that really do make me feel better about where the church is at today. It’s too easy to think that ministry is clean and everyone is happy and agreeable. This shows us it is clearly not. These two giant men of faith go head to head and battle. Not for themselves, but to show that Christ is Lord.

I think the most amazing thing about this is that they didn’t throw in the towel. They didn’t quit and decide this faith thing isn’t for them. It made them stronger and bolder. Both these men would be defined by their ministry, and would be remembered for a very long time for the impact they had on this world.

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