Last week, in Galatians 1, we saw that there was another gospel that was being taught to the Galatians, even though there is only one true gospel. The true gospel is about a relationship. The false gospel is about rules. In chapter 2, we will see the effects of the true gospel and freedom in Christ.
Paul begins chapter 2 explaining how he met privately with the leaders of the church to be sure he had not been running in vain (v. 3). He explains, “false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in ChristJesus in order to enslave us” (v. 5). Wherever Paul went, false teachers followed, trying to create unrest in the church and discredit his message and ministry. Paul had a private meeting with church leaders. He wanted a united front before he went to the whole assembly. Paul said we are all running a race and we need to be sure we are on the right track, headed in the right direction.
It was clear to the leaders that Titus was saved but had never been circumcised. Circumcision had lost its spiritual meaning. It was something external their parents did for them. Baptism today is an outward expression of an inward conversion. It loses meaning if it is only something outward that your parents did for you as a baby. It has to be personal. In the New Testament people believed and were baptized, in that order. Verse 6 is clear that “God does not show favoritism.” There is no Jew or Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised. God is looking for faithful servants. Every member in God’s family is important, accepted, loved, and called to minister to different people. “Remember the poor” (v. 10) is the practical application.
In verses 11-14 Paul explains that he confronted Peter over his hypocrisy. Peter was eating pork with Gentiles until Jews came from Jerusalem. He gave in to peer pressure.At every age there is the pressure to give in, compromise, and go along. Do you have any hypocrisy in your life? Do you act one way on Sunday and another on Monday? One way at home and another on a business trip? Paul confronts Peter to his face. He did not say it behind his back. If you have something to say, say it to the person’s face. We are all accountable to one another. Your lifestyle has a ripple effect. Even Barnabas was influenced.
Jesus fulfilled the law. When he died, the temple veil was torn. The wall between Jew and Gentile has been removed. To go back to the law is to rebuild what Jesus tore down. Peter himself said in Acts 15 that we are to put no difference between “us” and “them,” but he was acting like there was a difference. The truth is there is only one race, God is the giver of all gifts and talents, He determines where and when you were born, and we are all sinners, dead spiritually apart from Jesus.
In the final verses of this chapter, Paul recaps the truth. Salvation is not found in the law, but in Jesus. Justification is an act of God. At the moment of salvation God declares the sinner righteous, from then on, in Jesus. The guilty is declared not guilty!No believer is more justified than another. If a person could be justified by works, why would God send Jesus to die on the cross? There is a constant battle between the old nature we were born with and the new nature given to us at salvation. We are free in Christ, NOT to do anything we want to do, but to live for Jesus. We are set apart for His purposes.
What is the crucified life? The exchanged life? Jesus takes all our sin and gives us all His righteousness. Jesus takes all our weakness and gives us His strength. In order to live, we have to die. In order to receive, we have to give. In order to be first, we must be last. That is living the crucified life. False teachers have always tried to add somethingto the gospel. Only the true Gospel saves!