The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom
Galatians 2:1-16 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Then after an interval of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also. 2 It was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that somehow I might be running, or had run, in vain. 3 But not even Titus, who was with me, though he was a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. 4 Yet it was a concern because of the false brothers secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy on our freedom which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to enslave us. 5 But we did not yield in subjection to them, even for an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you. 6 But from those who were of considerable repute (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no favoritism)—well, those who were of repute contributed nothing to me. 7 But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised 8 (for He who was at work for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised was at work for me also to the Gentiles), 9 and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised. 10 They only asked us to remember the poor—the very thing I also was eager to do.
11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For prior to the coming of some men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and separate himself, fearing those from the circumcision. 13 The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?
15 “We are Jews by nature and not sinners from the Gentiles; 16 nevertheless, knowing that a person is not justified by works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the Law; since by works of the Law no flesh will be justified.
Proverbs 9:10 says: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. In today’s text it says: When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For prior to the coming of some men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and separate himself, fearing those from the circumcision. The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews? Fearing and knowing God brings about wisdom and understanding. The fear of man is often the beginning of foolishness, bondage and confusion. Galatians 5:1 says: It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. The fear of man and both human and religious tradition often brings about a yoke of slavery. In Matthew 11:28-29 Jesus says: “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Being free in Christ does not mean that we are free to continue in sin. It is the bondage of sin that we are freed from. In John 14:15 Jesus says: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” We are freed from the bondage of sin, by loving Jesus and keeping His commandments. Psalm 37:4 says: Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. If we love the Lord, how could we desire and continue to do the very things that He suffered and died to free us from? 1 John 1:5-9 says: God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Walking in darkness is restrictive and causes us to stumble. Things that are not real and only shadows may cause us to be fearful. Walking in the light is freeing and allows us to see and know what is true. Psalm 23:4 says: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Even death is nothing to fear. It is merely a shadow between this life and eternal life with God. The rod and staff of the Lord bring us comfort, not only because He will defend us, but also because He will guide us and discipline us, keeping us with Him.
The Lord bless you, and keep you; The Lord cause His face to shine on you,
And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His face to you, And give you peace. Amen.