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Galatians 2 - BIBLE STUDY WITH ME



Welcome back to this Bible study with me series through Galatians! Last time, we dove into the first chapter of Galatians, and I learned so much. The Lord has especially been pressing into my heart the importance of keeping Him the foundation of all things as I live for an audience of 1, and how He wants to partner with me to accomplish His kingdom work. But before you continue onto this post, I would most definitely encourage you to read that post before this one!


Chapter two of Galatians is majorly a continuation of Paul's testimony as he begins his missionary work. In the first half, he describes how he met the rest of the apostles, and in the second half, he explains how he called out Cephas (aka Peter) on some hypocritical behavior.


When Paul meets the other apostles, he mentions in verses 2 that he "wanted to be sure that [he] was not running and had not been running the race in vain". He was describing the Gospel that he was preaching to the Gentiles and the work that he was doing to the apostles, and he wanted their wisdom and discernment to make sure that he was staying on the right track. Paul wanted to be intentional and purposeful with his time and ministry, not being lazy or participating in worthless tasks, but using what he had to the very best of his ability to spread Jesus to everyone who didn't know Him.


Paul had a mission on his life, and he didn't want it to pass right by him. He wanted to run his race purposefully and embrace the journey, and he reached out to other strong believers to hold him accountable.


If I'm being honest, sometimes it feels like life is passing right by me. Sometimes I feel like I'm moving with no direction, and I have no clue what I'm doing. But Paul's commitment and maturity challenges me to seek counsel, to recenter on what I'm actually living for (Jesus), and keep moving in that direction. Sometimes we have to readjust ourselves and the trajectory of our life so that we aren't running around uselessly and unproductively. And sometimes that means inviting wise people into our lives to keep us in check, and that's exactly what Paul did.


When Paul invited the apostles in, they recognized the calling that Paul had on his life to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. They all saw that God was doing something big in his life, and that he was moving with purpose. I am so sure that that encouraged Paul so much in his ministry.


They supported what he was doing, and left him with one request: that he would continue to remember the poor, which was "the very thing [he] was eager to do all along" (verse 10).


That's it. No quotas he had to meet, no big goal he had to accomplish. Just that he would remember the poor, which he was so excited to do anyways.


When this sat on my heart for a minute, I realized that the mission God has put on our lives is NOT complicated at all. God instructs us to love Him and love people - period. If we live every single day looking for ways to love on someone else out of our love for the Father, and that's all we accomplish, I think that God is absolutely so proud of us. I know that I've been getting overwhelmed trying to figure out what I'm supposed to do with my life, and this doesn't give me answers about college or a job, but it reminds me at the core of it all, I'm put on this earth to love God and love people. That's my mission. Period.


And Paul was so excited about it. He was eager to pour into those who had less than him. He wanted to give and serve. Friends, it is my prayer that I would have the same enthusiasm for ministry as Paul does. I desire to be so excited to go out into my every day life and love on people as God has called me to. I just imagine Paul's giddiness at being instructed to do the very thing he was passionate about in the beginning, and it makes me giddy to do the same. Doing the Lord's work is not meant to be a burden or a drag, but exciting and fulfilling. It's a blessing to live on a mission!


Then Paul describes a conflict with Peter (who, in my version, is called Cephas). Paul noticed that Peter had been acting pretty hypocritically, because when in crowds of Jews, he stopped investing in and spending time with the Gentiles for fear of what the circumcised would say. And, other Jews began following in his behavior, acting friendly with the Gentiles when the Jews weren't around but not when they were. Paul recognized that this was "not in line with the truth of the Gospel" and had a conversation with Peter about it.


Paul's discernment here amazes me. He was so aligned with Scripture, so in tune with the Holy Spirit's voice, that he was able to identify actions that didn't honor God. As I studied this chapter for myself, it became my prayer that the Lord would give me eyes to see what gives Him the glory and what doesn't, and the courage to keep both myself and my people accountable. I want others to look at my life and see that I'm living in a way that is totally and completely in line with the truth of the Gospel.


As chapter 2 wraps up, Paul talks about being justified by faith versus being justified by works. He reminds the Galatian churches that a person is not justified by works, but by faith alone. We have to be justified by Christ, because we cannot live up to the law flawlessly enough to be saved by our own works.


Then, he tells us that he has died to the law so that he can live for the Lord. We no longer live under power of the law but we live by Christ because He lives in us. And we cling to grace, because if we didn't need grace, Christ died for nothing.


This is the through-line of Paul's message. We receive salvation and life through grace alone, not through anything that we can do for ourselves. Our life was bought for us by Christ's blood, because without Him, we were hopelessly and completely lost. Grace cannot be attained, but only received, and so I humbly accept it from my Savior, and then I live my life through His strength and for His glory, not my own.

 

This was such a powerful chapter, and as I study it on my own and write for you, my heart is continually changed. I love being able to keep turning the Scripture over and over again in my heart and in my mind, thinking about it from different angles and perspectives. But through every angle, grace shines through. I'm reminded of the Father's love for us and how that love motivates me to live more completely for Him. I'm encouraged that I don't have to earn grace but only accept it, only choose it, because He's bought it for me already. And He's bought it for you too.


What have you learned from this series so far? Let me know down in the comments below; I love to hear from you and I'd love to learn together!

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