The Centrality of the Gospel – Gospel in Life

The Centrality of the Gospel

Tim Keller |  November 2, 1997

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  • Salvation
  • Understanding the Gospel
Galatians 2:6-14
RS 288-06


One of the great things about this passage from Galatians is that Paul is giving us some very meaty, very important theological teaching exposition, but he’s doing it in the form of a narrative because he’s telling us a story of two visits.

There were all these ceremonial rules in the Mosaic covenant in the Old Testament. There was an extremely influential pressure group of early Christians, and this group was saying that in order to be a Christian, you must not only believe in Jesus Christ, you also have to obey all the ceremonial clean laws. Of course, Paul’s point was, “No, you don’t.” If Paul says we have to honor parts of the Bible but we don’t have to honor another part of the Bible, who’s to say? How do we know?

Galatians 2:6–14

We see in Galatians that it’s important to share the good news of Jesus with everyone, not just Jewish people. This was agreed upon by James, Peter, and John. The book talks about a disagreement between Paul and Peter. Peter stopped eating with non-Jewish people because of a group who were focused on circumcision. We learn that the most important part of the gospel is Jesus Christ. The Jewish rules are respected, but they’re not required for non-Jewish people.

1. The gospel will keep you from being a persecutor

When Peter was in Antioch, he showed that the gospel can bring people from different cultures together. But when the circumcision group came, it showed that not understanding the gospel can cause disagreements. The gospel has the power to stop people from being mean to each other. It’s important to represent the gospel correctly to prevent people from using it the wrong way.

2. The gospel will make you a confronter

Barnabas’s story shows us that it can be hard to stand up for what we believe in, especially if we’re gentle people. We need to find a balance between accepting others without judgement and sticking to what we know is true. Like Paul, we may have to risk disagreements to avoid compromising our faith. The gospel gives us the courage to face our fears, treat people kindly, and work together, even when we’re different, like Barnabas and Paul. This helps us grow and become more like Christ.



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