1 Then after an interval of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also. 2 It was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain. 3 But not even Titus, who was with me, though he was a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. 4 But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. 5 But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you. 6 But from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me. 7 But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised 8 (for He who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the Gentiles), 9 and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10 They only asked us to remember the poor—the very thing I also was eager to do.
Examine / Explain
Paul is continuing the validity of his apostleship by describing to the church at Galatia the events that happened at the “Council of Jerusalem.” The Galatian church appears to be falling into legalism. In chapter one, the point was made about following the gospel of Jesus and not diverting from it. A point is being made about the gospel among the Jews and Gentiles. That there is one gospel. We are all saved by grace through faith in Jesus. There is no requirement to become a jew first. Jesus tore down these divisions. There is no partiality in His kingdom. It is simple: do you believe or not?
How do I apply this in my life?
Do I hold the gospel of Jesus Christ to be true? Do I walk the walk that is laid out in plain view? Do my actions demonstrate what I believe? Does my tongue praise Him? Does it sing a song of joy? Does it spew out legalistic thoughts that don’t even align with Judaizers? We are all human and have our human nature handed down to us from Adam and Eve. A propensity to sin. We all have our own agendas and how we think we are right. Especially when it comes to religion. We think we are all martyrs. Our way is the only right way. Again I fall back to journals before. What measuring stick do we use for our morality? How do we know what is right from wrong? God is our measuring stick. We fall short because we will always need to meet the measurement of holiness and righteousness set by God. That is why we must receive that free gift from believing in Jesus. We are imparted holiness and righteousness. So when God looks at us, He sees us covered by Jesus. The Gospel is fallen perfection, redeemed by perfection. Who was and is perfect love? He is perfectly just in all His actions. Not just because He is the creator and can dictate what is good, but because He is the perfect creator. He has orchestrated human life and displayed His glory through us. As with the bride and bridegroom, we display His plans. We are to love and sacrifice. We are to think of the other person more highly than ourselves but to do so in our confidence in Christ. I have freedom in Christianity being a Gentile because it was offered to me. I must live in that position. I am not weak! I must not be passive! I must walk in a way worthy of the calling placed on me. I want to share the good news through my gifts and talents with those who would give me an ear to hear—those who would relate to my past, present, trials, and tribulations. I know I can only reach some. I know I don’t have abilities or talents that make me an evangelist. However, I must be ready and willing to give an account of the joy that is in me. I must look different to cause curiosity in others. I must speak in an edifying and encouraging way, which is counter to the world right now. I must be intentional in my being sent.
What is my response?
Father, what kind of Christ follower am I? Do I walk confidently in Christ? Do I watch the world go by and not share what was given to me? Am I riding the fence, trying to live in the world and live for you? If I am like this, you will reject me. I would have been playing a part for years of my life. Am I fully committed to You? What area of my life do I not believe You? Where do I put my faith and trust in myself so that only I can handle this area of my life? Am I brave enough to ask You to reveal it to me? Am I weak enough to ask You to reveal it to me? I must! How can I be a follower and not listen to your corrections? Expose it! Circumcise my heart. Cut away the areas that do not reflect You. Help me be willing to allow these changes in me. My flesh always wants to be in control. But I must kill it. I must kill my pride and my will. I must lay it on the altar and live in my new self. I am not picking up the old life and trying to squeeze it into this new one. My problem is that I am human, and I love sin. I want to be the god of my life. I rebel and reject being told what to do. I submit to Lord. I must place my guidance and live one hundred percent under Your direction. Help me do that. Amen.