Legalistic Hypocrites

Today we will be discussing Galatians 2: 11-14

Dirty Laundry

Have we seen the TV papers this week?  Stand in line at the supermarket and you would have noticed all the magazines and papers with peoples sinful dirty laundry aired for all to see.  Even in the comfort of our home we can watch news stations discussing people’s sin.  People everywhere are living as if God doesn’t exist.  It’s all over the place, the thieving, lying, and adultery.  Aren’t we glad that we live better than they do?  Don’t we wish those papers would write articles on us?  Wouldn’t we rather be the ones getting interviewed on the evening news?  After all shouldn’t we be showing the world how great Christians are?  Hypocrites!  You are no better than those covered in the news.  We all sin.  If it were us in the news it would be our sin exposed.  Can we see the headlines now?

“Pastor Gets Angry at Neighbors Barking Dog”

“Church Secretary Races Through Yellow Light”

“Church Elder Drank a Beer”

These are silly headlines especially the last one.  Scripture does warn against drunkenness however drinking responsibly is not a sin.  The point is that a legalistic person might condemn regardless of the amount.  In our text, Paul rebukes Peter for his hypocritical/legalistic conduct.  Peter separated from the Gentiles and would not eat with them.  His actions also lead others to do the same.  This was all based on the fact that they were uncircumcised.  If they were uncircumcised then they must not be true followers of Christ and therefore are unclean.

Who Are You Labeling Unclean?

Who are you pointing at in the very body of Christ and dare say “You wretched sinner you are too unclean to be here”?  Take a look in the mirror.  You are just as wretched and sinful as those you point your finger at. This is a perfect example of “Legalistic Christianity”.  The idea that Christ’s work upon the cross wasn’t enough, that Gods love and eternal life is something to be earned through a set of impossible rules.  However, we must not lean too far to the other side either.  That would be “Lawless Christianity”, and it’s more popular than you might think.  The “Lawless Christians”, forget they have a sinful nature and are led by their “feelings”.  They focus on God’s love and forget His other attributes.  These people do away with God’s commands especially those they don’t like and make an idol out of God.

What is the Correct View?

The correct view is in the middle of the two.  Through Jesus’ death on the cross God gives us forgiveness of sins and eternal life.  That is ours through faith that comes by the power of the Holy Spirit through God’s Word.  Through the Spirit we grow in faith and start to live a holy life.  So, Just like Peter, we too need to be reminded of Christ’s atoning work on the cross and that it is by faith alone that we are saved and not through extra works or climbing the ladder to perfection.  Get off the ladder that you’re on and let the Holy Spirit sanctify you.  No amount of “steps and principles ” will do it for you.  Having a happy, empowering attitude won’t do it for you either.  Only the Holy Spirit will sanctify you, through Christ’s work that has been finished.  So, if Christ’s work is finished nothing can be added to it.  Christ died for you and every other sinner in the world.  We would do well to remember that next time we are lead to judge others so quickly.

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