Iron Sharpens Iron

Galatians 2: 14. “But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?”

14

Paul did not call a secret meeting to gather together to decide what to do about Peter.  He did not make Peter wait out in the hall while he and the other leaders decided what to do.  He didn’t circulate a petition, or gather up enough votes against Peter to know he had the winning hand before he confronted Peter.

Not Paul. Direct, to the point, and public.  Why?  Well, because Peter’s fault was public, and his behavior had influenced others who followed his example.

When we commit public sin that affects the lives of others, it needs to be dealt with on the same basis. Not unkindly, not harshly, not with dire head-shakings and hand-wringings.  No threats of a lynch mob here, or an unfriendly takeover in which Peter would be unseated from his position as a true apostle who had been mightily used of God.

I think one of the most important lessons for u s to learn here is that no one, not even Peter, not even Paul, is above reproach.  No one is immune from correction. Pastors are answerable to their people.  The people are answerable to elders and deacons, and believers are answerable to one another; we are all answerable to God.   If we would spend more time being honest with one another when we feel there is fault, and less time talking about it to people who can’t fix it, our churches might not be so likely to fracture and split, reforming and splitting again and again.

Paul simply said to Peter, “You know, you’re a Jew who is learning to live under grace, as the new Gentile believers do. Then why, my friend, would you require the Gentiles to live under the Law, as the Judaizers do?”

It’s a good question. And he’s not done yet.

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2 thoughts on “Iron Sharpens Iron

  1. Anne

    “I think one of the most important lessons for us to learn here is that no one, not even Peter, not even Paul, is above reproach. No one is immune from correction. Pastors are answerable to their people.”

    LOL! This reminds me of one whose favorite most repeated verse was Hebrews 13:17, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you” but he sure did not like the references that even Paul welcomed questioning 🙂

    1. Something went askew in the last 40-60 years in our attitudes toward our pastors. We put them up on a pedestal that they didn’t ask for at first; but after a while it started to look pretty good to them. I think the mega-church movement has contributed to the personality cults that can arise around strong leadership, and before you know it we have men in the pulpits who feel they are above reproach, even claiming “executive immunity” from having to obey the same rules as everyone esle does. My dad was a pastor. I love pastors. I know how heavy a burden that can be. But my dad never claimed that he was never to be questioned or disobeyed. I’m sure there were times he would have liked to 🙂

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