Paul, Barnabus, and Titus didn’t compromise on the truths in God’s word – being our salvation through grace and grace alone. Titus confirmed the freedom from the old law since he wasn’t compelled into the legalistic tradition of circumcision. There are things that I grew up believing as biblical truth that I need to go back and re-assess through the only legitimate filter of God’s word. I have learned so much in this study so far, as I have realized that I have shackles holding me that do not belong! Ways of behaving, worshipping, even dressing that I had ‘learnt’ were things a Christian had to do. I am saved through God’s grace, not because I wear a dress to church instead of pants, or sing the ‘old’ hymns, etc. I need to spend time reflecting on the Lord’s influence in my life, not man’s interpretation of it.
We can see that God has set aside Paul to minister to the Galatians (the uncircumsised) in the same way Peter has been set aside for ministering to the Jews (the circumsised). Their ministry therefore should be two sides of the same coin, a consistent message of the gospel. God has worked to preserve the one true message of the gospel: our salvation through Jesus Christ alone. I can be set free in this knowledge that nothing I could ever do would save me, only what Jesus has done can. Therefore, nothing I can do will “unsave” me either. I am free by the love of God! Everything I now do should be in love, praise, and thanks to Him.
Verses 12-13 made me think back to public/high school where those fickle friendships happen, one friend wont sit with another because he knows the cool kid considers the person a ‘loser’ or something. Peter was given a message to preach by God, but his own actions here make him a hypocrite. Peter knows better though by his own revelation of God that Jews were free to live as Gentiles, and Gentile believers didn’t need to follow ceremonial law. I need to remember that despite fear of persecution for my beliefs I should trust in the Lord, and with Him on my side can be free of the fear of men, for what is a person against the power of our almighty God? (Heb 13:6). I need to constantly remember to stay true to the principles of the Bible and not give in to what is popular and unbiblical.
From my study bible “Justified: Declared righteous in God’s sight and vindicated of any charge of sin in connection with failure to keep God’s law.”
In v. 16 Paul uses the words “knowing” and “believed” talking about the both of them, showing that it is not Peter’s theology that is flawed but his actions, which keeps them aligned in God’s word, and shows there are not multiple gospels (backing up 1:6-9). Paul also brings “Gentile sinners” into the discussion. They were called sinners by the Jews for not keeping to the law. Paul then goes on to again discredit that commonly held viewpoint: only through Jesus Christ comes justification, not the law. I see the importance here of knowing God’s word, which means that I must continue in independant study, and through church attendance, and keep increasing my knowledge and understanding of the word of God. “Arming” myself with it as it were (Eph 6:10-20), for the many tests and hurdles life and the enemy will throw at me.
The last few verses really seemed to reveal something to me in areas of faith I’ve been struggling with in my life. Crucifixion with Christ (from my study Bible): “Death to or separation from the reigning power of the old sinful life and freedom to experience the power of the resurrection life of Christ by faith”
Meaning it is no longer us who live, but Christ in us (Rom 6:6, and Col 1:27)
The entire idea of living through laws/rules makes our pride and trust in self our priorty. A Christian is not a person who believes in their head the teachings of the bible…Satan believes in his head the teachings! and it was his pride that was his downfall. When we are truly saved we admit our own inability and begin to rely solely on Jesus and our faith turns into a relationship with God. Faith by works instead drives God from us. That old proud self must die so that the new self who is reliant on the Lord may live.
A concept I had struggled with after re-dedicating myself to God a couple of years ago is “Was I actually saved” prior? Reading these passages makes me think about that again. My head was in one space in asking the Lord into my life, but my actions since then will have shown that my heart wasn’t likely there as well. I struggled with the feeling that I was tricked by the devil into a false sense of salvation.
I was freed from the power of sin, but simply moved into another manner of bondage due to my spiritual immaturity and reliance on all the rules I needed to follow to be worthy to God, which truly did just push me further from Him.
Fun resource: The Bible project has a great infographic for Galatians
Galatians 2: 1-21
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.