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Believers Supporting One Another, Grounded in the Word

Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also. 2 I went up according to a revelation and presented to them the gospel I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those recognized as leaders. I wanted to be sure I was not running, and had not been running, in vain. 3 But not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. 4 This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus in order to enslave us. 5 But we did not give up and submit to these people for even a moment, so that the truth of the gospel would be preserved for you. (Galatians 2:1-5)

 

Throughout this chapter, Paul will continue to defend himself against the Judaizers. We learn from this chapter that not only did they attack the credibility of the gospel message, but they also claimed that Paul was a rogue, rebelling against the other apostles in Jerusalem. So, Paul opens in verse 1, stating that after fourteen years of ministry, he went up to Jerusalem with Barnabas and Titus. Titius’ presence is important because Titus was a Gentile, and, according to Kenneth O. Gangel, “was a test case to see if the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem would require him to be circumcised.

 

In verse 2, we learn that Paul came to Jerusalem under direct revelation from God to bring unity amongst the church, as we will see in verse 4 that there were “false brothers [who] had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus in order to enslave us.” As a reminder, the Judaizers claimed that in order to be truly saved, one had to abide by the law of Moses with all of its traditions and rituals, focusing on circumcision, in addition to believing in Jesus Christ as Savior, i.e. saved by grace and works combined; which is false, only are we saved by grace alone.

 

Paul met with the leaders, as in, the apostles, to make sure “I was not running, and had not been running, in vain.” In the end, the apostles came together in a council in Acts 15 and came to the conclusion that salvation is through grace alone and that the Gentiles would not be required to be circumcised, which is reiterated in verse 3, “But not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek.”

 

Paul went through all this effort to have evidence so that there would be no shadow of a doubt that he was in unity with the apostles about the truth of the gospel, as seen in verse 5, “But we did not give up and submit to these people for even a moment, so that the truth of the gospel would be preserved for you.”

 

The apostles convened together, studied the Scriptures, and came to the same conclusion with Paul about salvation by faith and not by works. The apostles would then support Paul against the false claims and slander of the Judaizers. As believers, we must study the Scriptures to see what God wants us to know and be unified together in the truth, supporting one another, especially against opposition of false doctrine that could easily cause division.

 

Blessings,

Isaac De Guzman

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