Remain Firm Amongst Peer Pressure - Galatians 2:7-14

I can remember countless times throughout my life when I stumbled and crumbled under peer pressure. Some of those have been counter to my walk with Jesus. Every time, I feel regret and shame, because the Holy Spirit convicts my heart.

How are we going to be a witness of Jesus Christ if we aren’t consistently walking according to His Gospel and His truth?

Galatians 2:7-14
7 On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), 9 and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10 Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do. 11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. 13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
Paul continues discussing that He is bringing the Gospel to the Gentiles, the uncircumcised. He felt called by God to focus on this group because God’s grace is open for all comers. Paul is pointing out that he by no means is preaching an inferior Gospel to the Gentiles while Peter is preaching to the Jews. Paul emphasizes that the ‘pillars’, the apostles, preaching to the Jewish people regarding the Gospel of Jesus matched and agreed with the gospel they were teaching. This signifies that there are different ethnicities, cultures, etc, but there is only one truth, and that truth is Jesus Christ. The only request for Paul from the ‘pillars’ was to bring the Gospel of Jesus to the poor, and Paul states that he was eager for this task.

When we are looking for justification to do something, and are seeking God’s calling, just remember the ‘pillars’ of our faith in Christ. The pillars of the Gospel that we seek to learn from are directly from the Word of God. The more we seek His will through His words, the more our hearts and desires will be aligned with Him. It is through prayer and reading that we grow closer. By doing this, the Gospel that we spread through our words and our lives will align with the Gospel of Christ. There must be unity among all Christians when spreading the message of the Gospel.

When we are steadfast in our devotion to Christ, we can defend ourselves according to God’s grace and His redemption by faith alone. Additionally, we can recognize when we ourselves are in the wrong. Paul brings up his confrontation with Peter in Antioch. He does this to demonstrate that we are to be inclusive in Christ. We are to be consistent in our demonstration of grace to others. Paul states that when Peter came to Antioch, he initially dined with the Gentiles, but Peter started to withdraw and not associate with the Gentile Christians once other Jewish Christians were present. There was peer pressure to conform, and Peter may not have wanted to be looked down upon, despite knowing the truth. Paul confronted Peter in front of everyone because this was a serious matter. This was about the truth of the Gospel. Peter is one of the ‘pillars’ that acknowledged the Gospel that Paul was preaching to be accurate and correct. There was so much peer pressure that even Barnabas crumbled. He points out the hypocrisy that was demonstrated by all.  Feelings will get hurt, but it is the truth of Jesus Christ that matters, and we can’t tiptoe around that.

How can we expect people to follow Christ if we are not committed to following Christ? As Christians, we are going to experience peer pressure. We need to be rooted in the firm foundation of truth about Christ and the grace bestowed on us. If we waiver and blur the lines, people will notice. People will notice when we slip. Christ died and rose again for ALL the world's sins, not just mine or yours, but for everyone. The best of all is that we cannot earn it. It is a gift, and it just needs to be opened. So, strengthen your walk with God by spending time in prayer and spending time in His Word. 

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