Galatians 2:11-14 ESV

“But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 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?’”

I am not going to go into the history behind this story but I am going to deal with the subject of hypocrisy, which is what this story is about. For this has to do with behaving one way with one group of people and then behaving a different way when you are with a different group of people. And it has to do with shifting beliefs and practices depending upon the group of people you are with and/or on their particular influence in your life and/or on your desire to be accepted by them or not. But this also has to do with denying the other people in order to be approved by those of greater influence.

Now, this is happening much here in America in today’s modern market-driven “churches” (businesses) because they want to attract the world to their gatherings, so they are compromising the truth of the gospel, and the whole meaning of “church,” and the character of Almighty God in order to make “church” and God/Jesus Christ and the gospel more acceptable to human flesh and to the ungodly of this world. Yet, they still call themselves “the church,” and they teach as though they are teaching the truth of the gospel, and as though they are doing the will of God.

Now what is happening much is that those who are living in sin are being approved and coddled (pampered, indulged) while those who are walking in holiness and in righteousness are being disapproved, spoken out against, falsely accused of wrongdoing, and characterized as judgmental, hyper-religious, fanatic, and/or legalistic. So everything is being turned upside down, for what is of God is being rejected while what is of the flesh of man is being embraced and accepted in the name of God. And lies are being spoken of as good while the truth is being spoken of as evil.

So, in order for “the church” to be acceptable to the people of the world they have compromised the Scriptures by removing many of them from their context and then making them say what the Scriptures do not teach in context. And from that they are teaching a false gospel of salvation which seems to be being approved by the majority of those professing faith in Jesus Christ. But in order to pull this off, they have also demonized the true gospel and its messengers so that people will reject them in favor of the lies. And that is working, for it is evidenced by what people are saying and doing.

For what most are teaching, it appears, is that we can profess faith in Jesus Christ, have all our sins forgiven, and now be guaranteed heaven as our eternal destiny, regardless of how we live. But that is not the message of the gospel that Jesus and his New Testament apostles taught us. For the truth of the gospel is that Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. And he died that we might live for him and no longer for ourselves (1 Peter 2:24; 2 Corinthians 5:15,21).

Also the Scriptures teach that the grace of God, which is bringing us salvation, trains (instructs) us to renounce (say “No!” to) ungodliness and fleshly (worldly) lusts (passions) and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return. So, the grace of God is not permission to keep living in sin habitually and deliberately, knowingly and consciously doing what is evil and against God and harmful to other humans. For Jesus Christ “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14; cf. Ephesians 2:10).

Now those who are doing wrong know that they are doing wrong, and yet many of them continue to do wrong even while professing faith in Jesus Christ and while confessing salvation from sin and eternal life with God. For God put within all of us the knowledge of him and his will and the knowledge of right and wrong, but many have chosen to do wrong and to not do right; to follow the ways of their flesh, and not the ways of God (Romans 1:18-32). And some of them will confess wrongdoing and will promise that tomorrow will be a better day, but then tomorrow comes and it is no different from yesterday, for they still continue in their sin while professing to be in relationship with Jesus Christ.

And the Scriptures call this kind of behavior being “double-minded,” which has to do with duplicity of character, pretending one thing while living another, promising one thing while delivering another, and willfully and deliberately deceiving people into believing what is a lie while they know the truth. But they tell them the lies in order to draw them in so that they can build their earthly kingdoms and while they knowingly promise them heaven as their eternal destiny while they know that they are sending them to hell. For many of these deceivers know what the Scriptures teach, in truth.

But Jesus said that if anyone would come after him he must deny self, take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self, we will lose them for eternity. But if for the sake of Jesus we die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, then we have the hope of eternal life with God. And he also said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven (see Luke 9:23-26; Matthew 7:21-23).

So, please study the Scriptures in their full context. Know what the Scriptures teach, in truth, and stop relying on other humans to tell you what the Scriptures say, for not everyone is telling the truth. Many wolves in sheep’s clothing are among us who are deceiving the masses into believing their lies. So test everything you read and hear against the Scriptures (in context), prayerfully, with a willing spirit to hear from God and to be taught the truth even if the truth contradicts what you were always taught.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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