Explore God's Word Daily

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Justified by faith (Galatians 2 v 11-16)

Paul and Peter didn't always see eye to eye. Here we read of a really serious disagreement. But it prompts Paul to sum up his gospel as “justification by faith”; and to remind us that all of life must be thought out and lived out by Christians in line with this wonderful truth.

The food issue
Read Galatians 2:11

• What caused Paul to oppose Peter (v 11)?

Gospel truth is no respecter of reputations!

Previously, Peter had been eating with Gentiles (v 12), showing that he considered them equals, fellow members of God's people through faith, with no need for them to keep the Jewish food laws.

• What led him to stop eating with them (v 12)?
• What do you think Paul meant when he said that Peter was not “acting in line with the gospel” (v 14)?
• Why was Peter being particularly hypocritical in his attitudes toward Gentile Christians (v 14)?
• What was the effect of Peter's actions (v 13)?

Read Acts 11:1
Why had Peter originally begun “eating with Gentiles” in the first place?

The gospel answer
Read Galatians 2:15

Notice Paul doesn't simply say that what Peter is doing is wrong. He’s focusing on whether Peter's actions are “in line with the truth of the gospel” (v 14).

• How does Paul say someone is “justified” (v 16)? What does Paul rule out as a way to be justified?

Peter and Paul were both circumcised Jews who had spent their lives seeking to obey God’s law.

• Why is it significant that they still needed to “be justified by faith in Christ” (v 16)?

The actual word “justification” is a legal term. The opposite of “justified” is “condemned”. In Christ, although we are sinners, we are not under condemnation. God accepts us despite our sin.

So, justification refers to God's unmerited favour in putting a sinner right with Him. He not only pardons us of our guilt, but He treats us as righteous, as one of His pure and blameless people. And anyone can have all this, simply through faith in Christ!

• Why is justification by faith so exciting?
• What “laws” is it easy to think will justify us before God, so that we stop relying only on the Lord Jesus?


This devotional is taken from Explore—a daily Bible-reading devotional from the good book company which enables you to engage with Scripture and which will encourage, equip and inspire you to live for Christ. Explore features contributions from pastors such as Dr Timothy Keller, Mike McKinley and Tim Chester.

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About Explore God's Word Daily

Explore God's Word Daily helps you open up the Bible to be refreshed and encouraged in your walk with God. "Explore" is the daily Bible-reading devotional from The Good Book Company (www.thegoodbook.com). Contributors include: Dr Timothy Keller, Senior Pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York; Mike McKinley, Senior pastor of Guilford Baptist Church; Tim Chester, author and pastor of Crowded House, Sheffield, UK; Mark Meynell, Senior Associate Minister at All Soul’s Langham Place, London, UK. Editors: Tim Thornborough and Carl Laferton.

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