Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Peter's Second Denial

I was reading in the Book of Acts today. In Acts 10:28 Peter tells a non-Jew named Cornelius that God has taught him (Peter) that he (Peter) should not ever call a person common or unclean because the Gospel is open to all nations. He sounds convinced! He's not...not really. We learn in Galatians 2:11ff that when Peter (Cephas) came to Antioch, Paul publicly got in his face. Peter initially WAS eating with non-Jews in keeping with the grace and freshness of the Gospel. But when other Jews who did NOT understand the freedom of the Gospel came to town, Peter withdrew from eating with Gentiles. Enter Denial #2! Denial #1 occurred when Peter denied he knew Jesus. Denial #2 occurred when Peter denied the grace of the Gospel. How often do we hear of people being rebuked for not living in grace?! We have plenty of rebukes, and rightly so, when people commit any of the "dirty dozen, the nasty nine, the awful eight, the sinful seven, the sinister six, the filthy five" etc. But when is the last time you heard of someone being rebuked for living in legalism; or when does today's church rebuke people for not living in the freedom of grace? Peter's Second Denial makes Acts 10:34 tragically comical: "Truly I understand that God shows no partiality!" How do we deny grace by how we relate to others? Maybe we're living in denial as well!!

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