When Cephas (Peter) came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, "You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? Gal. 2:11-14
Heavenly Father, what a painfully beautiful confrontation. What a great picture of friendship, faithfulness and freedom---one apostle holding another apostle accountable for applying and demonstrating the gospel in a very concrete situation. Multiply these kinds of stories in our churches and friendships. For you haven't just called us to tell, but also to show the gospel by everything we do. Indeed, the gospel is the most important "show and tell" we'll every be involved in---one we'll never outgrow.
By the gospel you've set us free from legalism, moralism and pragmatism---from every notion that we can earn a relationship with you or that you are a god we must manipulate into action. You've set us free from the tyranny and arrogance of performance based acceptability, for which we offer you eternal praise. But you haven't just freed us from stuff; you've also freed us for stuff, and the main "stuff" you call us to be about is living in line with the truth of the gospel.
Father, show us what this looks like in our marriages. We're not to live by rigid rules but by radical grace. At times the gospel feels a lot more demanding than legalism, for you've changing our hearts, not just assigning us roles. What but grace can enable us to think of each other more highly than ourselves? What but grace and enable a husband (like me) to find more joy in serving than in being served?
Father, show us what the "gospel line" is for our parenting. Help us parents, and grandparents, not to get seduced by the values of our culture, more so than we're shaped by the treasures of your kingdom. What but the gospel can enable us to want more than virginity-till-marriage, high paying jobs and "success" for our kids?
Father, show us how by live by the truth of the gospel in our friendships. What does a real "gospel posse" look like? Show us how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, and not just free each other from a guilty conscience about our failures. Show us how to be iron sharpening iron, and not just butter knives polishing butter knives.
Father, enable our elder boards and deacon boards to live by the truth of the gospel. Bring so much grace to bear into their meetings that non-believers would find the gospel attractive, as they see your servants doing hard work to your glory. Forgive us when we contradict the gospel by our attitudes, conversations and deliberations. Bring revival and wisdom, boldness and kindness to your servant leaders, we ask.
Increasingly, Father, may our passion be to do all things in line with the truth of the gospel. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus' exalted and loving name.