Heavenly Father, open our spiritual eyes in the reading of Your word. Reveal, unlock, speak, teach, train, correct, convict, and instruct us in righteousness, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Galatian 2: 1-10, the Jerusalem council
V 1, Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me.
Paul preached, taught, and ministered in his home town Tarsus in Cilicia for 14 years before Barnabas called him to minister in Antioch of Syria. Because the Christians in Jerusalem under persecution, they were scattered all over the place as far as Antioch of Syria. The Christian leaders in Jerusalem sent Barnabas to Antioch to check out the situation. When Barnabas arrived and saw the revival of the Antioch church, he went to Tarsus and brought Paul to Antioch. Paul and Barnabas preached, taught, and discipled the Christians in Antioch for one whole year, Acts 11.
Judaizers from Jerusalem came to Antioch and taught the Gentile Christians to undergo circumcised and observe the Mosaic law as a prerequisite for salvation in addition to faith in Christ. Over this issue, Paul and Barnabas went up to Jerusalem to present their arguments at the Jerusalem Council, taking Titus with them, Acts 15:1-2.
Acts 11: 26, “Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch”.
Acts 15:1-2, “Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question”.
VV 2-3, V 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.
Paul presented his case privately to Christian leaders of reputation at the Jerusalem council. Paul emphasized that the Christian leaders in Jerusalem did not compel Titus, who was a Greek to undergo circumcision.
VV 4-6, 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.
All this occurred because of the Judaizers, who came in secretly to spy on the freedom of Gentile Christians. They wanted to impose the yoke of Judaism on the Gentiles Christians. Paul was not afraid of these arrogant Judaizers who thought they were special even though they were not.
VV 7-10, 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.
James, Peter, John, and other Christian leaders in Jerusalem realized that Barnabas and Paul were committed to evangelization to the Gentiles, just as Peter was committed to the Jews. They gave them their blessings and right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and Paul, insisting only that they remember to help the poor.
Salvation is by grace alone, by faith alone, and by Christ alone. Nothing more is required and nothing less will suffice. Christ alone is sufficient. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God”, Ephesians 2:8.
Heavenly Father, thank You for salvation by grace alone, by faith alone, and by Christ alone. Help us to apply this truth into our life, in Jesus’ name, Amen.