Works and Faith

International Sunday School Lesson October 15, 2023 Fall Quarter #7

Galatians 2:11-21 (ESV) But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. [12] 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. [13] And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. [14] 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?” [15] We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; [16] yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. [17] But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! [18] For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. [19] For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. [20] I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. [21] I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

Galatians 2:11-21


This section of scripture deals with the contention between Peter and Paul regarding Peter refusing to eat with Gentiles. This is particularly troubling because Peter had already been taught by the Lord that eating with Gentiles was completely fine. However, visitors from Jerusalem came and Peter, out of pride, refused to eat with Gentiles after he had been doing it for some time.

Peter Inconsistent — Galatians 2:11-13

Peter had already been told by the Lord in a vision that refusing to eat with Gentiles was wrong (Acts 11:1-9). However, one of Peter’s flaws that is displayed in several places in the New Testament was his inconsistency. He was courageous and wise at times but would fail immediately afterwords. For example, he gave the great testimony that Jesus was the Son of God but then tried to talk him out of going to the cross (Matthew 16:16-23). He defended the Lord in the garden with his sword but within 24 hours denied the Lord three times (John 18:10, 18:15-17).

Peter Rebuked — Galatians 2:14

The necessity of rebuking Peter in public was because he was leading others astray. It was not to humiliate Peter. It was not to make Paul look more important. It was for the benefit of those falling into the trap of his bad example. This is why Paul told Timothy to publicly rebuke (1 Timothy 5:20).

Justified by Faith — Galatians 2:15-16

Salvation comes through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are not working for our salvation. Jews are not any better off in regard to salvation (Romans 3:9). We are clothed in righteousness that is not our own (Philippians 3:8-10).

Is Christ the servant of sin? — Galatians 2:17-18

It is important of us to understand that salvation by grace does not encourage folks to sin (1 John 3:3-6).

I Died to the Law — Galatians 2:19-20

We were crucified with Christ and have died to the law. Therefore, circumcision is not required for salvation (Galatians 6:14-15).

If Righteousness were through the law — Galatians 2:21

There would not be a need for for the cross if the Law would have been a path to heaven (Hebrews 7:11).


There are a couple of points from this lesson that we must remember:

  • Salvation is by grace through faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross
  • Salvation includes a change in our habits.


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