Expel It Entirely

11 But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. 12 When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile believers, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. 13 As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 When I saw that they were not following the truth of the gospel message, I said to Peter in front of all the others, “Since you, a Jew by birth, have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile, why are you now trying to make these Gentiles follow the Jewish traditions?” ~ Galatians 2:11-14NLT

Peter, like all of us, was human. He wasn’t perfect. There was only ever one perfect person, and that was Jesus. Peter was like us. He had flaws, hiccups, and he made mistakes. He even had to be corrected by someone who had received salvation long after he had. Peter had been saved for years before Paul, yet it wasn’t the number of years that counted but what they did in those years.

See, Peter was only saved from his sinful nature; he never persecuted the Church. Yes, he denied Christ three times, but Christ forgave him physically on earth after the resurrection. Paul, on the other hand, wasn’t just saved from a sinful nature; he was saved from persecuting and executing the Church. He was there from the stoning of Stephen onward until that day on the road to Damascus. Paul was, arguably, saved from a much greater sin and, as Jesus put it, therefore, loved more. The more you love, the less you fear. Peter feared the reaction of those in the Church. He was afraid of being criticized and rejected by those he was comfortable around, and in doing so, he sinned.

The same spirit of Fear that made him flee in the garden when Jesus was arrested and made him deny Jesus in the courts of the High Priest caused him to fall into sin once again. See, Fear isn’t an easy spirit to overcome. Fear doesn’t just leave because you preach the Gospel or you’ve been saved a long time. Fear is something you have to completely remove from its roots and entirely expel out of your life. And when it comes knocking at your door again, you can’t answer it. You can’t give it any kind of foothold into your life again. Why? Because it’s a controlling spirit. It’s a dominating spirit that demands you to bow to it.

But if you do, LORD forbid, fall into the grasp of Fear again and sin, God will always send you help, just as He sent to Peter. Peter, as stated earlier, was saved long before Paul, but it took a man that had no fear to confront Peter in person and correct, with Scripture, his faults. Peter wasn’t above correction because he walked and talked with the LORD. He wasn’t above correction because he was given the keys of the kingdom. Why? Because Peter was human, just as we all are. So, when someone shows you the inaccuracies of your beliefs, actions, or statements in Scripture, don’t be angry. Don’t become defensive. Accept that correction so that the LORD might redeem you from the place you have fallen and might continue to use you.

Peace. Love. Go Forth and Expel It Entirely.

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