Living by Grace

Dedicated to providing guidance in daily living through the power of God's grace as experienced in our union with Christ.

Fear Not the Legalists


… for before certain men came from James, he (Peter) would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision.  Galatians 2:12

At Antioch, Peter, the person God used to open the gospel to the Gentiles, (Acts 10) now fears eating with Gentiles. He is afraid of the Jewish brethren from Jerusalem who would not eat with a Gentile. Certainly, he was not afraid of physical harm. He evidently was afraid of his reputation with the Jewish legalists.


Paul points out the sad influence of Peter’s fearful actions in Galatians 2:13.


And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.


We evangelicals are so accustomed to serving God in our own strength and wisdom, which is legalism, that the thought of living by grace sounds like heresy to some. Others may fear the loss of reputation with Christian friends if they accept the life of grace.


One pastor who began living the life of grace was afraid to tell his closest friend in the ministry about it. He believed that his friend would think he had turned from the truth. He was shocked when his friend joyfully accepted him testimony. However, when he shared the message with another pastor, the message was rejected.


The New Testament message of living by grace has been rejected repeatedly by those who believe that we are to serve God out of our own wisdom and strength. Perhaps some fearing it would cause others to think they have turned from the word of God also reject it.


All who have found the abundant life through grace have a message that all legalists desperately need. That message is so liberating it burns in the hearts of those who have found it. Thank God that the possibility of rejection will not keep many of them from sharing it.