Love in the Word Church

Galatians 2:1-16

Let’s see what Galatians 2:1-16 reveals. After Paul’s conversion, he spent 14 to 15 years preaching to the Gentiles with Barnabas and Titus the Greek (1st missionary journey) before ever going to Jerusalem to meet the Apostle James, the step brother of Jesus as 1 tradition claims, the head of the Church in Jerusalem. So Paul preached a Gospel revealed to him by Jesus, unverified by the Apostles entrusted with leadership authority. This is yet another instance where legal proof is offered. Circumstantial evidence, though it might be, dictates something miraculous HAD to have happened to Saul of Tarsus; otherwise why would he stop persecuting to become the very persecuted he had previously ravaged? Notice legal proof only requires circumstantial evidence and eye witness accounts to establish truth! Paul then uses the fact that Titus was a Gentile, who did not feel compelled to follow the Jewish commandment of circumcision, to show that there was no expectation by God to require Jewish law to validate the Gospel. However notice that only Paul and Barnabas received the right hand of fellowship from Cephas (Peter) and James and accepted. So the controversy of the Judaizers had already begun. Notice that Paul does get his Gospel authorized as the same as what the Apostles taught. Having been tested Cephas, James, and John offer to evangelize the Jews while Paul et al evangelize the Gentiles. So here we have legal proof that Paul was NOT a self-appointed apostle! Paul states that remembering the poor was the only mentioned addendum from the pillars of the faith. Notice also that Peter is still indecisive and somewhat weak when Paul calls Peter to repentance for hypocrisy because he shunned the Gentile in the presence of James’ representatives even though he had fully embraced the eating and living customs of Gentile converts before these men came! You can feel the tension created by the Judaizers even among the high leadership of the church. Clearly James was of the mindset at first that Gentiles must be circumcised. Remember authority must be given from God and/or Those to whom He has given authority for unity to be maintained. So even Paul follows authority and speaks Truth to power when required. These principles are still valid today. Paul proved that Jesus can commission and give His authority without sanction from human authority, but notice that Paul still establishes unity in the faith to show the bifurcated authority in the church - to those circumcised and those uncircumcised while unity still exists. This includes all humanity on the elevated spectrum from Jews versus Gentiles to Believer vs Unbelievable ( OT to NT elevation performed by Jesus). God’s intention was clearly to combine cultures rather than one culture being subsumed by the other. What is requisite is Christ and Christ crucified. There will be some differences allowable among unity without destroying unity. This is why Jesus has no problem with denominations as long as it does not destroy unity! My belief is that He would not be very pleased with much of what is still happening among our faithful today. Let us live all mankind, live and let live! Share our good news and seek to include rather than exclude. This is the Way of Jesus. Amen.