11 But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. 12 When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile Christians, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. 13 As a result, other Jewish Christians followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.
14 When I saw that they were not following the truth of the gospel message, I said to Peter in front of all the others, “Since you, a Jew by birth, have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile, why are you now trying to make these Gentiles follow the Jewish traditions?
15 “You and I are Jews by birth, not ‘sinners’ like the Gentiles. 16 Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.”
17 But suppose we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then we are found guilty because we have abandoned the law. Would that mean Christ has led us into sin? Absolutely not! 18 Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down. 19 For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. 20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.
When Paul confronted Peter over his confusing behavior towards the Gentiles when there were Jewish Christians present, Paul highlights “the truth of the Gospel message.” First, he tells us what the Gospel message isn’t; then he tells us what it is.
What it isn’t:
1. We have discarded the demands of the Law as a means of salvation.
2. In fact, we have abandoned the Law.
3. We do this because keeping the Law hasn’t ever, and it doesn’t make us right with God.
So? What does Paul say the truth of the Gospel is:
1. Christ lives in me and through me.
2. I now live according to the Law of Love. Which means I love God, I love myself, and I love others.
3. The consequence is that I have found freedom by living according to the Law of Love.
It’s also interesting to me that in this passage, Paul seems to link together humility with obedience. When I am walking with Christ in obedience, I will experience humility