January 23, 2016
READ: Galatians 2:8-21
The same God who worked through Peter as the apostle to the Jews also worked through me as the apostle to the Gentiles (v.8).
The sound of her name made me recoil. I knew the strong testimony of the well-known speaker and had no justifiable reason to avoid her podcasts. My disgust had nothing to do with her or the worthy cause she represented. I’d been hurt by someone who idolized her, so my prejudice came because of her association with that individual.
Paul confronted some misguided Jewish believers who were looking down on Gentile believers. In his instruction, he highlighted a reality of the Christian faith: Following laws or traditions will not make us right with God—salvation is a free gift of God’s grace that we receive by faith (Ephesians 2:8-15).
Human frailty drives us to divisions, groupings, and looking down on one another. Quick to identify with those who are like-minded, we categorize others and spiritualize our splits. Scripture, however, declares, “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
Prejudice often rears its ugly head when people strive for power, and it proliferates in the opinions of others. Even the apostle Peter let fear lead him to disassociate from others based on externals (Galatians 2:12). Although wrongful exclusivity often reveals itself in gender, racial, socioeconomic, and ethnic lines, sometimes prejudices are more personal. Trying to protect ourselves, we allow relational wounds to bias us against others—sometimes even those we’ve never met.
Only true faith can reveal God’s heart for all people (Ephesians 3:10-11). When we remember it’s no longer we who live but Jesus who lives in us (Galatians 2:20), prejudice disappears and God’s grace is seen.
365-day-plan: Genesis 40:1-23
Read Colossians 3:1- 17 and consider our responsibility to tear down walls of division within the church.
Do your relationships with others reflect the diversity of believers that will be found in heaven? How can you reach out to those within the church who are different from you or with whom you disagree?