August 31st Galatians, 2
1: Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. 2: And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain. 3: But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: 4: And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: 5: To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. 6: But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me: 7: But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; 8: (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) 9: And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. 10: Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do. 11: But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12: For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 13: And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. 14: But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? 15: We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16: Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. 17: But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. 18: For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 19: For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. 20: I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. 21: I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
Paul continues his testimony regarding his ministry, showing that it was not based on men or even based on the teaching of those who were apostles before him. He says, fourteen years later I went to Jerusalem with Barnabas and Titus. This visit was because of a revelation that he had received from the Lord. And while he was there he explained to the Apostles the gospel he was preaching among the Gentiles. The Judean Apostles had focused primarily on the Jews with a small work among the Gentiles, but Paul’s ministry was almost completely focused on the Jews living among the Gentiles. When Paul outlined his theology he did it in private to those of high standing in the church. He did this to check his ministry with theirs to be sure that they were in unanimity. Paul brings out the point that Titus who was a Gentile was not forced to be circumcised because he was a Greek. And that this conference was due to Judaisers who came in, without raising any suspicions, among the Churches. Their aim was to try to compel the Gentile Christians to convert to Judaism. They came to spy out the freedom which they enjoyed in Christ Jesus and to try and bring them into the bondage of the Mosaic Law. Paul says, we did not give in to them for a second, so that the truth of the Gospel might continue with you. Paul is saying in effect we dare not concede any of their heresy, because if we did it would destroy the Gospel. Those who seemed to be prominent among them (Whoever they are, means nothing to me – God gives no respect to status men have among themselves) Those who seemed to be important when we talked seemed to be nothing special to me. On the contrary when they saw that the Gospel to the Gentiles was my God given ministry (just as the Gospel to the Jews was committed to Peter. The same God who effectively ministered through Peter to the Jews, ministered powerfully through me among the Gentiles.) And when James, Peter and John, who were rock solid apostles, when they saw that the gracious ministry of God was also given to me. They gave me and Barnabas their right hands in fellowship so that we should go and preach to the Gentiles of the Roman Empire while they continue with the Jews of Judea. They did ask, for a special request says Paul, that we remember to the poor in our ministry which we had already remembered to do. Much latter than this, when Peter came to Antioch I stood up to him, face to face, because he was at fault. There were certain men that came from James and they ate with Gentiles. (which was no problem) However when the Judaisers came Peter withdrew from the Gentiles because he was afraid of the Jews. Other believers were carried away with this hypocrisy, including Barnabas. Paul when he saw what they were doing was not righteous according to the truth of the Gospel he rebuked them sharply. He said to Peter publically, ‘If you who are a Jew, live like a Gentile, then why do you compel the Gentiles to live as Jews?’ Paul continues, we who are Jews in the flesh and not Gentiles know that a man is not declared righteous before God by keeping the Mosaic Law, but by Faith in Jesus Christ. And we have believed in Jesus Christ that we might be declared righteous and not by the keeping of the Law, because by the keeping of the Mosaic Law no human being will be declared righteous. Now if while we say that we are forgiven we are still found to be sinners, Is Christ in the process of making us sinners? God forbid the thought. If I continue to build the things which I destroyed then I have become a sinner. In other words if I teach law keeping to those who are saved then I am a sinner. My law-keeping only separated me – in death from the Lord. So the law killed me that I might live a new life unto God. I am crucified with Christ. (When Christ died I died in him) nevertheless I live. Yet it is not me living my life but Christ who lives in me. And the human life I now live I live by trusting in the Son of God – who loved me and gave himself for me. I will not abuse the grace of God (by going back to Law-keeping) because if a man were able to be made right with God by law-keeping, then Christ what did Christ die for? This passage is the end for all believers who teach law-keeping for the Christian. It is completely out of place in the believers life. The believer is ‘In Christ’. He is dead in Christ – crucified with Christ and now alive in a totally new resurrection life. The Mosaic law could not save him and now that he is saved he should not return to the Mosaic law.