Guilt Trips (O Freedom! 2), 2016-0710

. 5 min read

Call to
worship, Psalm 32
Children, Luke
7.36-50 (woman washing Jesus’ feet)
Message, Galatians 2.1-21
Opening remarks
My intent in the message today
was to focus on broadly applying our freedom from guilt to all human
relationships, rather than the specific focus in the passage on whether or not
Jewish Christians and Gentile (non-Jewish) Christians could eat together and
share in the Lord’s Table together. For many Jews of Paul’s time, the law was
not only a moral guide and a path to righteousness but also a boundary marker
for inclusion in the covenant people of God. To be a Gentile was, by default,
to be a sinner. For a Jew to live like a Gentile, that is, to socialize with
Gentiles, was for a Jew to become sinful, guilty by association and more. The
Law, while not technically mandating such a separation, was used as the basis
for such separation. In some circles, then, Gentile Christians were required to
become Jewish – by circumcision and eating habits – in order to associate with
Jewish Christians.
we struggle with other kinds of racial separation. We’ve had “separate but
equal” as the law of our land. Separate rest rooms and water fountains
prevented white folk from being contaminated by black folk. While that
particular question – bathrooms and water fountains segregated by race – is
behind us historically, we still are surrounded by multiple ways in which we
separate ourselves from one another on the basis of race, nation, political
party, gender, sex, religion. Violence against any of us is violence against
all. Bias, even implicit bias, against any one of us is bias against all of us.
sniper in Dallas reportedly said that he wanted to kill white people,
especially cops. Just over a year ago another man walked into a church in
Charleston and killed our brothers and sisters because he wanted to kill black
people and start a race war. Both killers are on the same side – the side of
separation, the side of hatred, the side of violence, the side of bias. (See
Saletan, William).
people of God are on the side of the gospel. Like Paul, we recognize that the
most important truth that sets us apart is not race, nation, party, gender,
sex, religion. It is grace. The grace
of God shows no partiality. The grace of God makes us all equal – as both
sinners and saints. “Christ died for us while we were still sinners, and
demonstrates God’s love for us” (Romans 5.8). “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whosoever believes in him might have
eternal life” (John 3.16). That “world” includes a lot of people who are not
like me. Amen! That “whosoever” includes lots of folks with whom I would rather
not associate. Praise the Lord! Those “sinners” for whom Christ died includes
me. Thank you Jesus!

word, “freedom”
situation, “astonished” at abandonment of gospel
between Jewish & Gentile Christians
and frustration in the letter
sentences strewn throughout the letter
We can virtually hear him
spluttering with anger as he writes; his butchered syntax reflects the strong
passions that still swirl around the controversy (221).
Last week: People pleasing
from people pleasing
to please One who has chosen to be pleased with us
This week: Guilt
as a fact – guilt or innocence of an action
as an emotion – when caught in the act
symptom: BLAME
you ever booked a guilt trip for someone?
The original couple (Genesis 3)
Our family: Plenty of guilt to go
a lot of money for that
Galatians 2:11  But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him
to his face, because he stood condemned.
gets up in Peter’s business!
to eat with Gentiles (uncircumcised and non-kosher)
of the freedom of the gospel
a Jew, lived like a Gentile
you do not give Gentiles the freedom to be Gentiles
Enough condemnation to go around
is condemning his prior practice – and himself
is condemning Gentiles disciples for being Gentiles
new practice is condemned by his old practice
Paul’s point is that Peter is under God’s condemnation
because he is rejecting the gospel
Galatians 2:15-16  We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile
sinners;  16 yet we know that
a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus
10, three fold vision to Peter:
Acts 10:15  What God has made clean, you must not call unclean.
This is where the gospel gift of freedom
from guilt, on a personal level, crosses over into the entire social fabric:
(like the original one)
(like mine)
Jews and Gentiles in the ancient world
race, sex, and gender in America
What God has made clean, you must
not call unclean.
“There is no condemnation for
those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8.1).
good news of the gospel
from guilt, whether as fact or emotion
from condemning others
from condemning ourselves
to live joyfully
to embrace radically
This is, of course, much easier
to say than to live. The theological truth is that we die in Christ and rise to
a new life, that we die to slavery and rise to freedom. Paul describes it this
Galatians 2:19-20  For through the law I died to the law, so that
I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ;  20 and it is no longer I who live,
but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live
by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Jesus associated with us and
became guilty by association. Jesus died for us so that we could become
innocent by association. That’s why we abandon a life of condemnation and guilt
– the innocence is not our own, but his.
William. 2016 July 8. “There Is a War
over Race in America.” Retrieved from
on 2016 July 9.
Hansen, G.
Walter. 1994. Galatians. IVP New
Testament Commentary Series. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Richard B. 2000. Galatians in The New Interpreter’s Bible, Vol XI.
Nashville, TN: Abingdon.