Daily Devotion, 4-23-2020

Pastor: Connie Belmore

Christian Accountability Done Right
Reading: Galatians 2:11-20

Christian accountability is the linchpin of discipleship if it is rendered within the context of relationship.  Often Christians try to provide accountability without first establishing a relationship with the person they are counseling (or in some cases scolding).  In today's passage, Paul shows us an approach to counseling a fellow Christian as he counsels Peter (Cephas).

The first step Paul took with Peter was to approach him to his face.  Peter was "not acting in line with the gospel".  He was holding Gentiles to a different set of standards than he was living himself.  In other words, he was being a hypocrite. He was not practicing what he was preaching.  Other church leaders were being led astray by Peter's action and Paul approached Peter before further damage was done to the church.

Paul uses a teaching approach with Peter to explain the difference between living in Christ and living under the law.  He explained that the law will never make us acceptable before God.  By the Holy Spirit, the law does guard us against sin, convict us and, move us to rely on Christ's sufficiency.  In other words by the Holy Spirit, the law can guide us to live a godly life but is not sufficient for salvation.  This is the clear message Paul conveys to Peter and to us today.

Paul also leverages the established relationship he already had with Peter.  Both men came from Jewish backgrounds and so he used that common ground to show he understood Peter's circumstance.  In verse 15, he begins with "We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles..." to remind Peter of their bond and then reminded him that justification comes from God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ and not through the works of the law. Paul remained curious with Peter and asked him questions to guide Peter towards a clear understanding of what it means to be justified.

Finally, Paul gave Peter guidance for daily living as a person who has been justified by Christ.  Paul challenges Peter to die to his sins every day and to be raised to new life.  Paul said, "the life I now live in the body, I live for God by faith in Jesus Christ" and indicates that if we as Christians do not embrace this one aspect of being a Christian, then Christ "died for nothing."  In other words, Paul advised Peter to "practice resurrection" on a daily basis.

One of the most important aspects of discipleship is learning and growing together in our relationship with Christ through accountability.  In today's Scripture reading,  Paul demonstrates key aspects of holding one another accountable: using a direct approach (with love), teaching versing lecturing, leveraging an already established relationship and, sending forward with a plan for daily living.  Let's commit to following the example of Paul as he counsels a key leader in the church by holding one another accountable in Christian love.

Dear God, thank you for fellow Christians who have held us accountable through the years and for those who continue to hold us accountable.  Help us to hold one another accountable so that we live a life that is in line with the truth of the gospel but to do so through loving teaching, established relationships and providing guidance for daily living. We ask this in the name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.


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