Confrontation

David Bast

READ : Galatians 2:11-14

I opposed him to his face . . . when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel. (vv. 11, 14)

Moral courage, said Napoleon, is rarer than physical courage. That’s why we so often
avoid confrontations. I tend to look the other way when I see a Christian brother or
sister who is doing wrong. After all, my interfering with them probably wouldn’t do any
good, and it would just make them angry with me.

I’m glad that Paul had more moral courage than I do. Galatians 2 describes a
face-to-face showdown he had with Peter in the city of Antioch. Peter’s withdrawal from
table fellowship with gentile believers under pressure from the Judaizers implied that
faith in Christ alone was not enough to gain acceptance into the church (and, by
extension, acceptance with God). Paul confronted Peter publicly, saying to him, “You have
been saved by grace and set free from the law; why would you impose it upon others?”

Peter knew better, but he was afraid of what others thought and said about him. His problem wasn’t doctrinal; Peter knew the doctrine of justification by faith alone, because the Lord had taught it to him at the house of Cornelius (see Acts 10). His problem was that fear made him fail to live out the implications of the doctrine he believed.

It takes courage to live consistently with the gospel of grace. Maybe we can help each other do that.

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, show where my life is not in step with the truth of the gospel.