Skoliosis and Walking Upright

This is interesting…Paul was confronting Peter about how he was being inconsistent with what he was telling both Jews and gentiles. “Peter, when Jews from Jerusalem showed up in the city, began to vacillate in his convictions. In weak compliance with their prejudices, he “withdrew and separated himself” from those whom he had treated as brethren and equals in Christ (Galatians 2:12)…Peter was acting under the influence of a contemptible and sinful motive which feared man. His behavior was giving a strong sanction to the very heresy which was threatening the existence of the Church.”

This was told to Paul by the followers of James in Antioch, who felt the need to respond. Paul wrote this letter to the Galatians in the mid 53-56AD. Paul confronted Peter and 49-53AD. Basically, Peter was acting one way with one group and another way when another group showed up. I want you to see that in the Greek, Paul says Peter did not “walk uprightly (orthopodeō) in the truth”.

Galatians 2:14 But when I saw that they did not act rightly (orthopodeō) with respect to the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in Gentile fashion and not in Jewish fashion, why do you compel the Gentiles to live as Jews?

Now read what Peter said almost 20 years before that.

Acts 2:40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this crooked (skolios) generation.”

Paul used orthopodeō (to walk upright) when talking about this event with Peter. Ironically, Peter told the new believers in Acts to repent and save themselves from the “crooked” generation probably insinuating that they should walk upright as God always suggests. Jesus used the same wording in Matthew 17:17 to the people after He healed a demoniac boy.

Peter used the Greek word skolios where we get our word scoliosis from. Most of us know what scoliosis is and it doesn’t allow you to walk upright. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying scoliosis is a punishment from God. What I am saying is that God told us to walk upright and a symbolic physical view of not walking upright would be scoliosis which in turn spiritually would be crooked.

Here’s my point. As Peter was filled with the spirit of God on Pentecost and burning for the LORD, he was telling the people to save themselves from the crooked generation that they were previously committed to. 20 years later Peter has a conflict with Paul because he suddenly became in fear of that crooked generation of man again. The same people that he railed against in Acts 2. Peter wasn’t perfect. Neither are we.

I believe this is why we are told to work out our salvation on a daily basis. If anyone has ever had a garden, growing good fruit is a lot of work. You need good tilled ground, good seeds, need plenty of water and the Sun. The parable of the tiller applies to us all. Getting grace and mercy from Jesus isn’t hard work, this is a gift through the work of the cross. Some of us (including myself) could be Peter for years before we finally get it. Faith without works is dead.


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