Galatians 2

Galatians 2:1-21

1  Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me.

2  And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain.

3  Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised.

4  And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage),

5  to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

6  But from those who seemed to be something—whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man—for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me.

7  But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter

8  (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles),

9  and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

10  They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.

11  Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed;

12  for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision.

13  And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.

14  But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as 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 faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

17  “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not!

18  For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.

19  For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.

20  I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

21  I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

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10 months ago

It’s interesting that this is the same man who presented himself in different ways to adapt to his audience, and he is referring to Peter, the one who had a personal vision that led him to meet Cornelius, the gentile, and impart the Holy Ghost. There are apparently specific anointings and revelation that equip for different destinations and groups of ministry. They seemed to have accepted that their focus would understandably be on different people groups, the circumcised vs. the uncircumcised. While this was working to some extent, certain behaviors were indicating to Paul that a fundamental truth was being lost to a desire to please men. The strength of verse 20 was fueled by this observance that outward conforming was still seen as a qualification for how some could be treated, as if there were varying levels of righteousness based upon these actions. This is coming after a recent encouragement of self-examination to ensure qualification. There surely must be evidence that follows the life of the one who has truly been crucified with Christ. What Paul seems to have an issue with is the assumption that any religious requirements are necessary in the righteousness bought by Jesus’ blood. Peter’s preferential treatment based on who was in the room gave Paul reason to believe that this was yet an issue in need of further revelation, that there could no longer be any consideration of outward religious requirements for something that is ours only by faith. Again, though, this is the same man who commanded that the incestuous man in 1 Cor 5 be ostracised. There is a difference then between conforming preceding stipulations vs following actions that are validating fruit of an authentic transfer of life occupant. Someone who is no longer living will be dead to the actions of that former flesh, while the movements of the new resident are evidence of this reality. Their only participation was welcoming the new.

What an amazing and essential revelation this is, not only for how we see ourselves, but also for how we look and act toward others. Even in the separation from worldly conforming, there can still be a reflection of the Father’s heart in treating all as if Jesus’ blood is just as accessible to them quite apart from any requisites. What is encouraging in the transparency of these early leaders is that living this reality out in real life was a process for them just as it surely is for us. Differentiating fruit from segregating profiling will take a work of the Spirit in hearts that are ever open to His guidance of all, and not just some Truth. Death to the law will not include death to the needed and excluded actions of Christ’s life, and that same power that delivers from the old will necessarily enable the new.

10 months ago

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