Meditations on Scripture: Galatians 2

Galatians 2  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Verses 1-8. “Then fourteen years after, I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. And I went up by revelation.” Paul could have settled the question of putting the Gentiles under law, at Antioch, but the care and love of the Lord, and for the good of all His saints, and to keep the unity of the Spirit, it was necessary that he should go up to Jerusalem, to see the other apostles so that they all might be of one mind. Barnabas went with him but he took Titus also, who was an uncircumcised Greek. Paul would not allow them to compel him to be circumcised.
They tried to carry on their teaching that all should be circumcised, but not for an hour would he be subject to them. At Jerusalem, he held a counsel with the chief ones, those who were of reputation, privately, lest by any means he should fail in his endeavor to maintain the truth of the gospel of the grace of God.
They saw that the Lord had committed the gospel of the uncircumcision to Paul, and the gospel of the circumcision to Peter. God had wrought mightily in Paul to the conversion of many Gentiles.
Verses 9, 10. When James, Cephas, and John saw this, they gave unto him the right hand of fellowship, that he should go on with his work among the heathen, and not to forget the poor which also Paul was diligent to do.
Verses 11-21. We see how the influence of James and the Judaizing party with him, led Peter astray to make a difference between the Jew and the Gentile converts, so that they (the Jews) dissembled, and would not eat with the Gentiles, and Paul withstood Peter to the face, because he was to be blamed; even Barnabas was carried away with their dissimulation. Paul rebuked him for his want of uprightness before them all, saying,
“If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. But if while we seek to be justified by Christ, we also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.”
If justified by faith in Christ, how could he again take the place as a man in the flesh under the law? It would but deny the efficacy of the death of Christ, and of his death with Christ. This is the important point. The Lord had died for our sins, and died to sin, and we are to see ourselves dead with Christ. So he writes, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” He is now in a new position, and Christ lives in Him. “And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith, the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.”
He has a new position, the law condemned and executed him in the old place, now he has a new life, a new object, and a new motive for living for Him “Who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Happy portion for all believers!
He further says, “I do not frustrate the grace of God,” —we are saved by grace, not works of the law— “for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” He had to bear the curse of the law, and God can now fully own and justify all who believe in Jesus, and we are now dead with Christ, and risen with Him.