Galatians 2:1-14 (ESV)
Paul Accepted by the Apostles
Warren Wiersbe introduces Galatians 2:1-10 with a quote – “This will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.” So wrote veteran news analyst Elmer Davis in his book But We Were Born Free, and his convictions would certainly be echoed by the Apostle Paul. To Paul, his spiritual liberty in Christ was worth far more than popularity or even security. He was willing to fight for that liberty.
–The Bible Exposition Commentary
1Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas,
In Galatians 1:18-19, Paul described a trip he made to Jerusalem three years after Jesus met him on the road to Damascus. Now, he describes a second trip to Jerusalem, fourteen years later. Remember Paul’s point from Galatians 1. He demonstrated that his gospel came by a revelation from Jesus, not from man, not even from the apostles in Jerusalem. Two visits to Jerusalem over 14 years shows that Paul did not sit at the feet of the disciples of Jesus to learn the gospel.
taking Titus along with me.
In Titus 1:4, Paul calls Titus “a true son in our common faith.” It is clear that Paul loved and trusted Titus, and regarded him as a valuable co-worker in the faith.
2I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain. 3But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek.
Paul’s point is that the leadership in Jerusalem accepted Titus, a Gentile convert, even though he was not circumcised in accord with the Mosaic law. This shows that the Jerusalem leadership accepted Paul’s gospel of grace.
Why would anyone compel someone like Titus to be circumcised? Why was it even an issue? Because circumcision–the cutting away of the male foreskin–was the sign of initiation into the Jewish faith and the Mosaic covenant. If a Gentile man wanted to become a Jew, he would have to be circumcised as an adult. Jewish men were circumcised as babies. Since all Jewish men were circumcised, and most all Gentile men were not, it was an easy way to refer to “those part of the covenant” and to “those outside of the covenant of Moses.”
4 Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery— 5to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.
No doubt the “false brothers” thought of themselves as true brothers, upholding what was right and good! Oh, Lord, give us eyes to see Your truth!
6And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. 7On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised 8(for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), 9and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.
Mark 10:21 (NLT)
Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Paul Opposes Peter
11But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.
12For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. 13And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.
Does no one remember that Jesus ate with publicans and sinners? He broke the law! So why is Peter afraid to eat with Gentile believers?
14But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
HERE is “I Am Free!”
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.