Galatians 2 tells us how Paul stood in the presence of many people and rebuked Peter to his face. Read the chapter for the details, but for now I want to ask, why did he do that? The answer is simple. Verse 14 reads, “When I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel [then I rebuked Peter]” When Peter started acting in a way that said, “In order to be saved you must do something on top of placing your faith in Jesus. “ This type of behavior Paul could not tolerate and he had to rebuke him.
Rebuking someone is not fun. You run the risk of having them misunderstand and sever their friendship with you. Why would Paul do such a thing and take such a risk then? Quite simply, the gospel was at stake. We, as the body of Christ, need each other. We don’t, however, just need each other to lean on in times of trouble. We need others to rebuke us when we start acting or talking or thinking in any way that is out of step with the gospel and we need to rebuke others doing so as well. There are many, many ways we can find ourselves out of step with the gospel. We can easily fall into a rigid legalism (like Peter) that says “unless you do it my way then your not a Christian.” Or we can fall in to a cheap grace mindset that says, “It is not big deal if I live a loose life, God is love and He will forgive me no matter how much I fail Him.” Both extremes, and many other positions in between, need to be rebuked in love. The gospel is at stake in how we live! Let us help each other by encouraging when we need to encourage and rebuking when we need to rebuke.