Galatians Chapter 2

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      Galatians Chapter 2

      By Marti PA



      “Then 14 years after, I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.  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.”     (vs. 1-2)


      Paul was given a revelation to go to Jerusalem to confront the leaders of the little flock which is the believing remnant of Israel that expected to see God’s kingdom come to Earth.  Jesus called this believing audience His “little flock” (see Luke 12:32).  The leader of the little flock was Peter.

      He states he communicated to them that gospel that he was preaching among the Gentiles.   Which gospel is that?   The Gospel of the Grace of God which says we are now saved by grace through faith and not works (Ephesians 2:8-9)  … that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again from the dead for our justification.  Now why did he do that?   Keep reading.


      “But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:  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:  to whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.”     (vs. 3-5)


      There were men from Judaea (see Acts 15:1-20) coming into the Gentile churches and teaching that the men there needed to be circumcised.  Paul went to Jerusalem to confront the leaders there about this.  While Paul and his co-workers were there, some believing Pharisees (meaning that they did believe that Jesus was the Messiah) told him that it was necessary to be circumcised AND to obey the law of Moses.  However, after much disputing, Peter rose up and said this, “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?”    (Acts 15:10)   Even Peter understood at this point that the Law was bondage (a yoke) and a burden.


      Further down in Acts 15:19-20 James concludes, “Wherefore my sentence [judgement] is, that we trouble not them which from among the Gentiles are turned to God; but that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and fornication, and things strangled, and blood.”    Paul and those with him leave Jerusalem along with Judas and Silas to relay to those in the Gentile churches what the Jerusalem council has said through a letter.


      Continuing on in Galatians, Paul reveals more information to us regarding what happened at that council in Jerusalem …


      “But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it makes no matter to me: God accepted no man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:  But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision [the Gentiles] was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision [the Jews] was unto Peter; (For He that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision [Jews], the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles):  And when James, Cephas [Peter], and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen [Gentiles], and they unto the circumcision [Jews].   Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.   (vs. 6-10)


      Gospel of the uncircumcision.  Gospel of the circumcision.  I will try to explain in a nutshell, but starting with a question to you.  What was it that Israel was to believe for salvation during the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry?  NOT that He died for their sins, was buried, and rose again, because that hadn’t happened yet!


      In addition to keeping the law of Moses and being water baptized, they had to have faith that this man Jesus of Nazareth was in fact the Son of the living God, and their Messiah.  However, most of Israel did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah; not only that, none of the twelve apostles understood that He must die and be resurrected – to that end, check out these scriptures ….


      “Then Jesus took unto Him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.  But He shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on:  And they shall scourge Him, and put Him to death; and the third day He shall rise again.  And they [the twelve] understood none of these things:  and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.    (Luke 18:31-34)


      At the end of Luke’s gospel, it is written ….


      “And He said unto them [the eleven], These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning Me.  Then opened He their [the eleven] understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures …”      (Luke 24:44-45)


      Moving on with Galatians …


      The Gospel of the Uncircumcision:   Uncircumcised people could be blessed by God without Israel

      The Gospel of the Circumcision:   Israel would be God’s blessing to Gentiles


      Galatians 2:1-10 is Paul’s account of what happened in Acts 15:1-21.  Peter, James, and John (leaders of the little flock believers) were operating under the instructions of the dispensation God gave them, but since Acts 9, God had given a new dispensation to the Apostle Paul with different instructions.  There was confusion about how they should operate with each other and in the world around them.

      In order to avoid this confusion, the Holy Spirit, through this meeting of the Apostles, changes God’s instructions to Israel’s little flock.  They were now to confine their ministry only to those Jews who already believed and were a part of the remnant of Israel (Peter’s group).  This is because in the dispensation of grace, God is offering salvation freely to all sinners, apart from Israel and their covenants.  From that point forward, Paul was to lead the ministry to unbelieving Jews and Gentiles alike with his message of grace.

      It bears repeating … Paul is our Apostle!


      “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.  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 [Jews].  And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.  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, live after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compel thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?”   (vs. 11-14)


      Paul is now recalling a time in Antioch when Peter came for a visit.  Peter would eat with the Gentiles as long as the Jews weren’t around to see it, but as soon as the Jews show up, he separates himself from the Gentiles and Paul was “in his face” about that!   Dissimulation means hypocrisy.  Peter was so afraid of what the Jews might think of him eating with the Gentiles — and possibly whatever they were eating.

      Not only that, the other Jews, including Barnabas, were influenced to do the same!  What’s the “truth of the gospel ?”  It’s the good news of GRACE … the freedom we have in Christ.  In Christ, we are set free from dietary rules/restrictions, set free to dine with whomever we please!


      “We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 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.”     (vs. 15-16)  


      Everyone is justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the law!  Why?   Because the works of the law (law-keeping) can justify no one.  Remember what Romans 3:20 says, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin”.

      Justified:  being declared righteous in the sight of God, giving us a right standing before Him


      “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.  For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.”       (vs. 17-18) 


      Once Paul learned that the death, burial and resurrection of Christ abolished Law-keeping … Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross”  Colossians 2:14 … he could not consciously go back  again to that which he had preached against  … “Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”   2 Corinthians 5:17 ...  if he did go back to the old, he would be transgressing against Christ and the message given by Christ to him.



       “For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.  I am crucified with Christ:  nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives 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.”    (vs. 19-20) 


      I am crucified with Christ — when Christ died, Paul says he died with Him.  Romans 6:3-8 gives more insight …

      “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?   Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into deaththat like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrectionKnowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.   For he that is dead is freed from sin.    Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him ….” 


      Paul goes on to say that the life he lives now is not his “old life,” but Christ living in him.  However, the life he lives day to day, he lives by the faith of the Son of God.  In other words, he knows what keeps him saved is what Christ accomplished on the Cross and His resurrection, not anything he does by way of law-keeping.  It is the same for us.


      “I do not frustrate the grace of God:  for if righteousness comes by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”    (vs. 21) 


      Paul says, if you think your righteousness (your right standing before God) can come by keeping the law, then Christ died for nothing … “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”   (2 Corinthians 5:21)


      If you haven’t guessed it by now – this epistle to believers is Paul’s treatise on Law vs. Grace, and he isn’t done teaching us yet!




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