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Galatians Chapter 2

Paul continues on with his account of his christian life. After 14 years he took Barnabas and Titus with him to Jerusalem. (v1) As he received by revelation of the Holy Spirit - Paul shared the gospel he had privately with those apostles of note there (v2) so as to receive confirmation of those that went before him of its truth. Not openly before all, (he considered he may possibly have had to work without being firmly stood in the truth.)

The apostles however, did not require Titus a gentile to be circumcised. (v3) Jews had entered the fellowship to spy out the doctrine of the believers and report back to the authorities - that the believers might be arrested. (v4) Paul recounts how he did not give them a chance to object that the gospel should be brought to the gentiles. (v5) He writes that these individuals through shows of outward appearance added no new doctrine to Paul's teaching of any worth. (v6) But, those jews that were of true faith (contrariwise) when they saw that God was ministering to the gentiles through Paul and to the jews by those with Peter; (v7) (For it was most certainly God working with great effect through His might. (v8) and when witnessed by James and John and Peter as chief apostles there) they agreed in fellowship that Paul should preach to the gentiles, and the apostles at Jerusalem to the jews. (v9) Remembering that both should minister to the poor as well as to believers of substance in either camp. (v10)

Paul complains of Peter when Peter came to him in Antioch; that he had to rebuke Peter for his behaviour. (v11) For previously when others from James at Jerusalem visited he had previously eaten with gentiles but not while they were there. (v12) (For fear of his reputation amongst the jews.) And for his example other jews did the same, even Paul's fellow minister Barnabas. (v13)

When Paul saw that Peter's teaching was to compel the gentiles to follow the laws of Moses, and it was contrary to the gospel, Paul rebuked Peter before all of them for this; that he lacked the confidence to stand in the grace Christ has shown the gentiles. Especially after He had eaten with them in fellowship - as contrary to the law. (v14)

For by nature they as jews (v15) (as opposed to gentiles) are well founded in the knowledge that the works of the law do not justify a man before God, but faith on Jesus Christ only. That we might have the mind of Christ to make possible our repentance and therefore obedience. Having righteousness imputed to us for believing as an image of His faith as He knew certainly, in the liberty and sovereignty of the one God. Not by the law, as all are under the condemnation of the law. (v16)

For If Christ has only fulfilled the law and extended no grace, then Christ is simply come to condemn all. (v17) If Paul preaches this, then he himself is at fault continually! (v18) But Paul teaches that in the gospel he is rather dead to the law and is an heir of eternal life by grace upon repentance, (and grace only) upon a new covenant sealed by the Holy Spirit. (v19) For as Christ in His obedience was crucified fulfilling the law, then through the grace of God the law is "as dead" to a repentant believer; Our old condemnation is crucified with Christ now we have a better law of faith and a better covenant of grace. The gift of eternal life from God, laid down in effect from eternity "back dated" to the cross is lived out in repentance and in the faith of Christ for those that love God, who first loved us. (v20)

Paul expressly states to the saints that he is crucified with Christ and dead to the law. Under the law Paul would be condemned for breaking it (even persecuting the church with zeal.) So to be crucified with Christ is to share under grace His blamelessness before God - being dead to the law and the condemnation of sin. Whilst under grace a believer must be repentant also, (God is not mocked) so then under the ministration of the Holy Spirit, Paul is given the same life of Christ living in him (even eternal life.) In this way, he does not frustrate God's grace. If righteousness is had by the law, then Christ's obedient example was to confirm merely the old covenant, and not the new. Compare this with verse 18, If Paul again builds the law, then he makes himself a transgressor by refusing the grace of God. If salvation is not by grace, then there is no new covenant.

Paul does not contradict the grace of God, since if it were possible for righteousness to come by the works of the law, and not Christ's perfect knowledge of His Father, then Christ would not have laid down His life for us. Rather righteousness comes by faith - and knowledge of the Father. (v21) We can believe that the law is a good thing if we assent to the goodness of it; that Christ kept it (but not as kept in our stead) - but that the ministry of the Holy Spirit by our faith to repentance is certainly a thing that will bear fruit.


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