Public Sin, Public Rebuke (Gal 2:11-14)
Speaker: Rev Dr Quek SY
Date: 20 Mar 2022

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Sermon notes taken by:

Tina Wong

No one is above the law; and no believer is beyond church discipline, rebuke or admonishment. When God said, “Touch not mine anointed” in 1 Chronicles 16:22, it was God’s way of protecting His servants in the Old Testament time from their enemies. Today, when a believer (especially a church leader) commits a public sin, church discipline will have to be meted out in order to promote public sanctification. The church is not a perfect church, but it is to be a holy church. A public sin requires public rebuke.

In the encounter between Apostle Paul and Apostle Peter in Galatians 2:11-14, we can learn the following 3 points:

  1. No respecter of faces (Gal 2:11): Paul said in Galatians 2:11, “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.” Although Peter was a well-regarded senior church leader and had done many good deeds and miracles, he had committed a public transgression, and thus Paul had to deal with Peter’s sin. Sin is sin. God is no respecter of persons. Good deeds cannot be used to mitigate one’s sins. God wants us to look at sin the way He looks at sin. Although it embarrassed Peter publicly, Paul still had to publicly rebuke Peter. Thank God that Paul was not a respecter of faces.
  1. Effect of public transgression (Gal 2:12-13): Peter’s public transgression was that he separated himself from having a meal with the Gentile believers when he saw certain important Jewish believers approaching. As a result, other Jewish believers followed suit. And Barnabas “also was carried away with their dissimulation” (Gal 2:13). (Note: The word “dissimulation” is where we get the English word hypocrisy.) At the same time, the Gentile believers could wrongly conclude that there was something wrong with them or their food.
  1. Public rebuke, public restoration (Gal 2:14): Public rebuke is always for the purpose of the restoration of all concerned. With Paul’s public rebuke (“before them all”) of Peter, the Jewish believers and Barnabas were rebuked at the same time, and thus had the opportunity to learn and to repent. Moreover, the Gentile believers would know that they were not second-class believers but that they were as much the children of God as the Jewish believers. And their food too was not a problem. The Jewish dietary laws no longer applied to the Jewish believers. Peter’s transgression implied that Gentile believers had to live like the Jews. This was double standard and hypocrisy. Believers are permitted by God to still practise their culture as long as it is in the Lord, and does not transgress God’s law. There is only one gospel of salvation for all.
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