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A boxing match of Biblical proportion

February 9, 2011 Leave a comment

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.

I just had another growth spurt!

Let me just put your minds at rest…I am no taller than I was yesterday. As I was listening to the radio yesterday, I heard someone talk about spiritual growth spurts. I thought the idea was really fantastic and wanted to write on it. Anyways, I’ve been challenged with the idea because sometimes I can go for months and months without any noticeable growth spurts. It’s a long road and when I am not actively growing, what am I doing?

How bout you? When was your last growth spurt?

As I read through scripture, I see a lot of people experience this. I see people making realizations or coming to an understanding of how God is working in their life. One of my favorites is the crowd at Pentecost in which Peter is addressing. It says of the crowd, “they were cut to the heart”. This was not some outward growth, but it was inward. It was a spurt. They understood something about their condition that was unknown minutes before.

Later on, Paul gives us insight into the work that is happening inside him. He says, “But whatevver was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more., I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for who sake I have lost all things.”(Phil. 3:7,8) Again, there is something happening within these people that is drawing them closer and closer to the Lord Jesus Christ.

What is God teaching you? Are you on the verge of a growth spurt? How will that change things for you?

Think about how God is working inside you. He’s in the midst of a glorious upgrade. He is drawing you and I toward Him, and whether you knew it or not, you can’t get closer to Him without change. It’s time to grow!