Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 2 Study # 4
July 3, 2011
Dayton, Texas
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<097> Thesis: The truth of the Gospel is that God loved us to the extent of an absolutely sufficient provision for our sins that can only be "believed"; it can not be "improved". Introduction: When Cephas withdrew and held himself aloof from his Gentile brethren, he was, in essence, requiring them to embrace "Jewishness" as a condition of justification. This is clear from the fact that Paul tied his behavior to a corruption of the truth of the Gospel and he called this corruption a "compelling of the Gentiles to live as do the Jews". In effect, he was saying, by his behavior, that one cannot be "justified" by "faith" in the death of Christ, but must "live" in a certain way. Because these issues are difficult, we are going to pursue the question of what "the truth of the Gospel" actually is. Can a person "refuse" to do what the Word of God commands and be justified before God? For example, can a person refuse to be baptized in water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and still be "justified" by "faith"? In our last study we noted that Peter knew the Gentiles had never been subject to the covenant of circumcision and the covenant of law so that his requirement of them to submit to both of those covenants in order to be justified was illegitimate. But, what if he had insisted that they be baptized in water and held himself aloof from them if they refused? What if his insistence was not that they live according to the Law of Moses, but that they live by the Law of Christ, and held himself aloof from them if they refused? What, actually, is the truth of the Gospel in the light of these questions?