Galatians Part 11 - Galatians 2:1-2

Chapter 2 The first half of this chapter is Paul's account of the great church council at Jerusalem (ACT 15). That council convened because of the Judaizers’ infiltration of the Antioch church (ACT 14:26 – 15:2). It was for the express purpose of deciding what aspects of Mosaic law and ritual, (particularly circumcision) should be binding upon Gentile Christians and whether they should be conditions for eternal justification. Thus, its determinations had a direct application to the Galatians. Paul's gospel was there proven to be right and in the latter half of this chapter, contrary to his Judaizing opponents, he affirms justification by Christ's faith alone, a gift of God according to His election without the works of the law. This is the true grace wherein believers stand. c/w 1PE 1:1-5; 5:12-14. vs. 1-2. 1. Many years had passed since Paul's first journey to the Jerusalem church. He overlooks a mercy mission of charity to Jerusalem (ACT 11:27-30; 12:25) to get to the mission of greater importance: doctrine. A. Paul does not neglect to instruct the Galatians about being ready and willing to help the poor and serve others. GAL 2:10; 6:10. B. But Christians must be cautious to not exalt such charitable service above, or to the exclusion of doctrine. Doctrinal truth has precedence over serving others. LUK 10:38-42. C. Charitable relief to others without doctrinal guidance may not be a service to them. PRO 1:32; PSA 112:5. 2. The Lord had made it clear to Paul at the time of his conversion that he should minister the gospel to the Gentiles. ACT 26:16-18. A. However, it is interesting that before Paul was formally ordained (ACT 13:2-3), God chose Peter to have the honor of first preaching to and baptizing Gentiles. ACT 10. B. Unlike Paul, Peter was one of those who had “...continued with Christ in His temptations” (LUK 22:28). C. It seems only appropriate that when God “...opened the DOOR of faith unto the Gentiles” (ACT 14:27), that the man to whom had been committed the KEYS of the kingdom should be the one God used to do it. MAT 16:18-19. D. It is also noteworthy that though Peter first ministered to the Gentiles, the great work of their conversion was entrusted to Paul. (1) The honors of God's kingdom are shared honors. Some labored; others entered into their labors. JOH 4:35-38. (2) Paul would not boast of things without his measure. 2CO 10:13-18. (3) Men are but tools in God's hands. It is Christ that builds His church and is worthy of the honor. 1CO 3:5-9 c/w LUK 17:7-10. 3. Though it is not mentioned in ACT 15, Paul took Titus with him (v. 1) and this was an important detail. GAL2:3. 4. Paul “...went up by revelation...” (v. 2) to Jerusalem. His movements were governed by God's word, not his own ideas. Men of faith are thus directed. HEB 11:8 c/w 1KI 17:2-5; 8-9; 18:1-2. A. Paul's evangelistic efforts were by God's direction. ACT 16:6-10. B. Running before the Lord can have sobering consequences. JOS 9:14 c/w JDG 1:1-2. C. Consultation with scripture should direct our paths. PRO 15:22; PSA 119:24; PRO 3:5-6. 5. When he got to Jerusalem, Paul was careful to not publicly declare the gospel that he had been proclaiming (v. 2). The issue of circumcision, with 2000 years of Jewish history to its credit, was a particularly volatile one, especially since so many of the Jewish Christians were still zealous for the law. ACT 21:20. A. Paul was not ashamed of the gospel he preached (ROM 1:16), but there are simply times when it is wise to limit speech. PRO 17:27; ECC 9:17; JOH 16:12 c/w HEB 5:11. B. To create a premature uproar might have thwarted the whole purpose of his trip. He wanted to obtain the spiritual liberation and the support of the Jewish brethren, not alienate them. C. Paul never wanted to abuse his power in the gospel. 1CO 9:18-23. vs. 3-5. 1. While at the council, a failed attempt was made by false brethren to force circumcision upon Titus (vs. 3-4) and these were Pharisees. ACT 15:5. A. They had come in privily (In a privy manner; not openly or publicly; secretly, privately; stealthily; craftily). c/w JUDE 1:4. (1) This continued the pattern of the “...spies, which should feign themselves just men...” (LUK 20:20). (2) Such men “...privily shall bring in damnable heresies...” (2PE 2:1). (3) Such men “...lie in wait to deceive...” (EPH 4:14). (4) Truth does not need to hide itself under a deceptive cloak but evil does since its position cannot endure scrutiny. (5) Nothing of Christ’s doctrine was done in a corner, but openly. JOH 18:20. (6) Some come into the church and go astray, others are led astray, others to lead astray. (7) Faithful saints need not worry about surmising who among them might be the “plant” with an ulterior motive for they will be manifested in due time (2TI 3:8-9). Saints need only to be well-grounded in the truth, led by knowledge and reason rather than emotion, and humbly pure (1PE 2:1-2; 1JO 2:11) and they thus will know the true doctrine that sets error in sharp relief when it appears. JOH 7:17.

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