Galatians 2 Amplified
1 THEN AFTER [an interval] of fourteen years I again went up to Jerusalem. [This time I went] with Barnabas, taking Titus along with [me] also. 2 I went because it was specially and divinely revealed to me that I should go, and I put before them the Gospel [declaring to them that] which I preach among the Gentiles. However, [I presented the matter] privately before those of repute, [for I wanted to make certain, by thus at first confining my communication to this private conference] that I was not running or had not run in vain [guarding against being discredited either in what I was planning to do or had already done].
After 15 years of preaching Paul is led by the SPIRIT to go again to Jerusalem.
Note it was by revelation, not presumption. He presents the gospel as he has been preaching it to the gentiles to them so as to demonstrate the truth he spoke, and wanting to be one with them, in unity.
3But [all went well!] even Titus, who was with me, was not compelled [as some had anticipated] to be circumcised, although he was a Greek.
This shows that compelling people to the jots and tittles of the law is not of God, but brings you under a curse as Paul says. No one forced Titus to circumcision though a Greek. Yet in the history of Christianity we have done similar things in an opposite spirit as forcing people to dress a certain way or not allowing them to enter in to the church because they smoked, or still had bad habits we considered breaking the law.
4[My precaution was] because of false brethren who had been secretly smuggled in [to the Christian brotherhood]; they had slipped in to spy on our liberty and the freedom which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might again bring us into bondage [under the Law of Moses].
This has been happening for years in the Christian church. The canker worm, and all kinds of locusts have crept into the church stealing and robbing the purity of the freedom of the gospel. I’ve heard some say, if you follow one part of the law, then you have to follow it all. If we go backwards into trying to follow the law, then we fall under a curse like Paul said. If we don’t walk in grace, then we are open to major attacks of the enemy and he has a RIGHT to afflict us.
5 To them we did not yield submission even for a moment, that the truth of the
Gospel might continue to be [preserved] for you [in its purity].
YOU DO NOT BOW DOWN TO FALSE AUTHORITIES. Because when you do you are bowing to demons. Then that spirit has an inroad into YOUR LIFE. When people are telling you the “shoulds”, you can say, “So YOU think I should do_____?” BUT, follow ONLY what Jesus says, not what man says.
Prov 29:25-27 NKJV The fear of man brings a snare,But whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe. 26 Many seek the ruler's favor,But justice for man comes from the LORD. 27 An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous,And he who is upright in the way is an abomination to the wicked.
The Holy Spirit was given to you for a reason…to guide in you into all TRUTH the word says.
John 16:13-15 NKJV
13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.
Paul goes on to say:
5Moreover, [no new requirements were made] by those who were reputed to be something--though what was their individual position and whether they really were of importance or not makes no difference to me; God is not impressed with the positions that men hold and He is not partial and recognizes no external distinctions--those [I say] who were of repute imposed no new requirements upon me [had nothing to add to my Gospel, and from them I received no new suggestions]. [Deut 10:17.]
We tend to treat men or women in position as idols. We honor them sometimes above what the word of God says. We put special titles on them like “First lady___” We seem not to understand the concept that leaders are servants. Yes we should honor them, but no more than a homeless man who needs our love. God DOES NOT SHOW SUCH PARTIALITY. To HIM we are ALL JEWELS IN THE KINGDOM. WE are His treasured possession. None of us is above another. We need to respect each other.
James comments on this:
James 2:1-4 NKJV
Beware of Personal Favoritism
1 My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. 2 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, 3 and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, "You sit here in a good place," and say to the poor man, "You stand there," or, "Sit here at my footstool," 4 have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
The exclusivity and oligarchy in the church has become a stench in the nostrils of God. God is the GREAT EQUALIZER ! He loves each one of his children unconditionally. He is NOT like us. He is not easily provoked or irritated. He is forebearing and patient above anyone I’ve ever known. He is forgiving to all of us, no matter how many times we fail. The life of Peter in Christ shows us this. David shows us this, and he was called a man after God’s own heart. Yet he was a murderer.
Moses was a reformed murderer. Paul was that. You would think after 2000 years we would finally “get it”, but instead we are still seeing all the different assaults on the church the early church endured and what is outlined in Rev 2-3.
7 But on the contrary, when they [really] saw that I had been entrusted [to carry] the Gospel to the uncircumcised [Gentiles, just as definitely] as Peter had been entrusted [to proclaim] the Gospel to the circumcised [Jews, they were agreeable];
8 For He Who motivated and fitted Peter and worked effectively through him for the mission to the circumcised, motivated and fitted me and worked through me also for [the mission to] the Gentiles.
Paul is saying it is GOD WHO COMMISSIONED HIM. The other apostles only recognized what God had done.
9 And when they knew (perceived, recognized, understood, and acknowledged) the grace (God's unmerited favor and spiritual blessing) that had been bestowed upon me, James and Cephas (Peter) and John, who were reputed to be pillars of the Jerusalem church, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, with the understanding that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised (Jews).
God will affirm you to men if they have the right heart to seek His face.
10 They only [made one stipulation], that we were to remember the poor, which very thing I was also eager to do.
Praise the Lord for this verse. The one thing that the apostles stipulated to Paul of all Things they could have said was to REMEMBER THE POOR. The Lord wants us to be like HIM. He does not forget the poor.
Ps 9:18 NKJV For the needy shall not always be forgotten; The expectation of the poor shall not perish forever.
Ps 10:2 NKJV The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor ;Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised.
Ps 12:5 NKJV "For the oppression of the poor , for the sighing of the needy,Now I will arise," says the LORD;"I will set him in the safety for which he yearns."
Ps 35:10 All my bones shall say, "LORD, who is like You, Delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, Yes, the poor and the needy from him who plunders him?"
11 But when Cephas (Peter) came to Antioch, I protested and opposed him to his face [concerning his conduct there], for he was blameable and stood condemned.
12 For up to the time that certain persons came from James, he ate his meals with the Gentile [converts]; but when the men [from Jerusalem] arrived, he withdrew and held himself aloof from the Gentiles and [ate] separately for fear of those of the circumcision [party].
13 And the rest of the Jews along with him also concealed their true convictions and acted insincerely, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy (their example of insincerity and pretense).
Here Peter has failed again. He has bowed to the fear of man, to judaizers, and falls to prejudice and a religious spirit. Paul confronts him though Peter is the “ROCK”.
Peter was in high regard among the apostles, yet he failed again and again. Thank God for his example that shows us the true GRACE of GOD towards us. We fail to discern and marry the wrong persons, we walk in bondages and bad habits. WE fail to seek His face when making decisions , then need Him to clean up our messes. We fail in intimacy with Him due to getting too busy or striving, then get in desperation and call on Him to clean up the mess. And like good fathers, He does do it, He does help us out of our messes. But he wants us to DEPEND ON HIM MORE in our decision making daily, so that we don’t have to learn the hard way. Don’t we as parents feel that way for our children also ? We want them to listen to us, seek us so they would avoid problems.
14 But as soon as I saw that they were not straightforward and were not living up to the truth of the Gospel, I said to Cephas (Peter) before everybody present, If you, though born a Jew, can live [as you have been living] like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how do you dare now to urge and practically force the Gentiles to [comply with the ritual of Judaism and] live like Jews?
15[I went on to say] Although we ourselves (you and I) are Jews by birth and not Gentile (heathen) sinners, 16 Yet we know that a man is justified or reckoned righteous and in right standing with God not by works of the Law, but [only] through faith and [absolute] reliance on and adherence to and trust in Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one).
Faith = absolute reliance on God. Otherwise we are relying on ourselves.
[Therefore] even we [ourselves] have believed on Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the Law [for we cannot be justified by any observance of the ritual of the Law given by Moses], because by keeping legal rituals and by works no human being can ever be justified (declared righteous and put in right standing with God). [Ps 143:2.]
We cannot STRIVE to please God by works of the law, rituals,& trying hard. Just doesn’t work. If it’s working for you, you’re a liar. No one gets anywhere by striving to keep the law. Holy Spirit has to lead us. We have to be avid seekers and followers. If we can just relax in His love, do our best to worship Him and love on Him by the Spirit…He will come and His presence will change us. Reading the Word will convict us. Just practicing the presence of God daily - being aware of His presence with us is a major accomplishment. Then we will walk in the Spirit instead of our flesh.
Isa 26:3 NKJV You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
Trusting – putting ALL of our trust in Him is not easy for the one who is so bruised and beaten down in life. But as we practice the daily disciplines, seeking His face, experiencing His presence, speaking His words, gradually trust is built. Just like in a friendship or marriage, trust is built through experiences with the other person.
17 But if, in our desire and endeavor to be justified in Christ [to be declared righteous and put in right standing with God wholly and solely through Christ], we have shown ourselves sinners also and convicted of sin, does that make Christ a minister (a party and contributor) to our sin? Banish the thought! [Of course not!]
18 For if I [or any others who have taught that the observance of the Law of Moses is not essential to being justified by God should now by word or practice teach or intimate that it is essential to] build up again what I tore down, I prove myself a transgressor.
This is a sure sign Paul says of a sinner, a hypocrite, a transgressor, trying to be justified by works of the law.
19 For I through the Law [under the operation of the curse of the Law] have [in Christ's death for me] myself died to the Law and all the Law's demands upon me, so that I may [Henceforth] live to and for God.
20 I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
Christ lives in us, so we can put all our trust in HIM to guide us by the Spirit. We may hear another’s voice once in a while through lack of full knowledge of the truth, listen to other voices, but HE will expose all that is in our hearts, and continue to sanctify us with the TRUTH. None of us is MATURE immediately. As we grow in maturity, there should be a growth in clarity of what we hear, and depth of wisdom in what we hear. We learn gradually to discern His voice from our own heart, and the voices of “imposters”.
21 [Therefore, I do not treat God's gracious gift as something of minor importance and defeat its very purpose]; I do not set aside and invalidate and frustrate and nullify the grace (unmerited favor) of God. For if justification (righteousness, acquittal from guilt) comes through [observing the ritual of] the Law, then Christ (the Messiah) died groundlessly and to no purpose and in vain. [His death was then wholly superfluous.]
Indeed, if we could do it by striving on our own to work hard, then we wouldn’t need a Savior. We seem as humans to find it hard to believe God is that good.
He really has a rest for us.
He really wants us to GET IT !
It is only in and through HIM that we are saved, healed and delivered.
When we think we are something we are nothing.
He alone deserves ALL THE GLORY.
We are nothing apart from HIM, and His work in us.
And if you think somehow you are something, and it is you doing it, then HE will withdraw Holy Spirit a bit and allow you to feel what a desert it is without His GRACE.