Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Fight for Faith. A Journey through Galatians (Chapter 2 a)

Galatians 2

Paul in Jerusalem

In chapter two the main theme is the oneness of the gospel. Today there seems to be different teachings when it comes to the gospel. One church will preach one gospel with one way to Christ, and the church down the street will preach another gospel with another way to Christ. The trouble with this is that there can only be one gospel, and there is only one way to Christ. Someone must be right and someone must be wrong.

This controversy is something that Paul had to deal with in this early church. Was Paul’s gospel right or was these legalistic Jews gospel right? We will see in this chapter that the gospel Paul preached was right, and he was willing to confront those that opposed it.

Beginning in verse one Paul retells the story of Acts chapter 15. In Acts 15 we see a council taking place in Jerusalem. At this council the apostles meet together with one topic on their mind. They wanted to determine if all of them were preaching the same message, and if God was saving in other area by faith in Christ.

Paul tells us that when he attended this council he took Titus with him. The reason this is so important is because Titus was a Greek. At this council Titus was “exhibit A” and became an example of a person saved apart from keeping the Law.

From the way this chapter progresses it would seem that there were some false believers coming into the churches where Paul preached and spying on him. They had noticed that this young man Titus had professed Christ, but Paul at no time after his conversion compelled him to be circumcised. This was a topic these false believers brought up over and over trying to discredit Paul.

Circumcision was a rite of passage under the Mosaic system. Circumcision actually began with Abraham in Genesis 17. For a person to submit to circumcision meant that they were submitting to the entire Jewish law. What the Jews forgot was the circumcision was an outward expression of an inward experience. The same is true today with baptism.

Paul states that when he took Titus to the apostles in Jerusalem they did not compel Titus to be circumcised. They did not listen to these false believers. Under the leadership of the Holy Spirit these men rightly decided that they had no right to place someone under the bondage of the Law. In Jesus Christ there was liberty and they were not going to take that away from Titus.

If a person had to be circumcised to be saved then that meant Titus was lost. The fact is however that Titus had been saved by the grace of God, and by grace alone. There was no need to impose on him, or any other believer for that matter, something that Christ had delivered him from.

You may not see the importance of all of this. Let me bring it out in this light. These men were living in the very early days of the church. They did not have a complete copy of the New Testament. They were preaching things that were not only new to the congregation, but new to them as well. God was revealing new things to his men, and those men in turn were revealing these new things to the people. The reason that these men got together was to confirm that what they were being revealed to was the same as what everyone else had been revealed.

Today we don’t need a revelation from God. We have a bible that teaches us completely the will of God. If we want to know the mind, will, or plans of God we simply have to read His word. These men did not have this luxury.

No doubt it was a time of great rejoicing when they compared notes and saw that they were preaching the exact same thing and that God was blessing their works.

In the end of chapter three we see this principal put into action through an experience in Antioch. In our next blog we will look at an experience that took place between Peter and Paul. 

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