Monday, April 04, 2011

Out of Step with the Gospel

But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, "If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?" (Gal 2:14 ESV)

There is an “in step” with and an “out of step” with regard to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul was cognizant of the difference, and Peter at least for a season, had lost sight of the rhythm, the beat, the tempo of the Gospel. Many would have us believe that all we need to do to walk with God is to sign on the line, or come to church, or sing the right songs in the right way. Some even hold people to a theological or liturgical standard and say that is where the Gospel “step” is found.

All of this is tangential to the claims and call of the Gospel. The Gospel is not primarily interested in what people do, but it is interested in what people do based on who people know and how they know him. Of course Paul’s response to Peter was because of what he was doing, but what he was doing, condemning the Gentiles, was wrong not only because he was acting in a particular way, but because he was not loving the Gentiles in the way that God called him to love them.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ tells us of a wonderful gift given to us so that we might have eternal life with God. If we neglect that part about with God we miss the whole point. If we try to live the Gospel life without God we miss the whole point.

So what is the answer? The answer is to walk with God. Live with God. Love God. Stop letting the cares of this world get between you and God. Make getting to know God your life’s goal. Strive to become like God. In fact you should make becoming like God the focus of your life. Talk to God. Be aware that you spend every moment of every day in the presence of God. Read your Bible with the goal of knowing God better, in ever way, and in every circumstance. Study God in every historical, genre, context, story, book and verse with the goal of knowing the mind of God. Do it with him, in constant prayer and fellowship with him. You should make it your goal to tell people you know what God would say in “this situation” because you know him and he knows you.

Peter’s problem was that he didn’t have God’s goals in mind and consequently he fell out of step with God’s plan. In the process he caused his brothers and sisters great pain. Let God’s agenda be your agenda. Don’t get side tracked with what appears to be secular needs. Everything exists to please God. There is nothing neutral. Everything matters to God. And because you love him, it matters to you as well.

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