Crucified with Christ
The Gospel makes the distinctions between Jews and Gentiles irrelevant because their justification before God now places them in an equal state where to continue living by the Mosaic Law would be both hypocritical as well as pointless.
1. The first priority of the Christian minister is to ensure the gospel is not distorted. The Church in every age faces challenges to the gospel, and is called to contend for the faith (Jude 1:3). Paul recognized that this is so serious a matter he pronounced a curse on those who preach a message contrary to what he preached.
2. The context of Acts 10 and Acts 15 should be kept in mind when reading Galatians
3. The Judaizers (the party of the circumcision) – a Pharisaic sect within the church, supported evangelism to the Gentiles, but taught that Judaistic practice was a mediator to Christ.
4. Paul was not in doubt about the message he had been preaching, but was investigating the Judaizing influence within the church at Jerusalem (Gal. 2: 1-2). Paul says he would have been running in vain if they are preaching a different gospel in the church there.
5. Paul says that if we try to reject, or supplement, the grace of God in Christ, we reject the authority of the foremost pillars of the early church – Peter, James and John
6. The other apostles ask Paul to remember the poor. And from this came the collection from the Gentile churches to help the Jerusalem church. It is a central requirement of God's word to have concern for the poor. It wasn't a means of salvation. Nothing here suggests that they are making the gospel complete by this act, but it shows the important issue for the apostles here was not whether God's law is valid as a way of life. Rather it's the question of justification and salvation. Law was never the source of life but the way of sanctification and to use it otherwise is to reject the grace of God.
7. The Jerusalem council did not put an end to Judaizing; they went to Antioch, where they led Peter and Barnabas into hypocrisy (Gal. 2:11-14).
8. Eating together symbolizes being in covenant and right fellowship. By separating themselves from Gentile believers, Peter and Barnabas caused division in the body.
9. If Peter and Barnabas can fall into hypocrisy, so can we.
10. There are no neutral actions; who we sit with is a measure of how we are keeping in step with the gospel.
11. It is as easy as it is sinful to separate ourselves based on ungodly criteria.
12. Paul's claim to the Galatians is that his apostolic authority is equal to and independent of the other apostles. By fixating on personalities, we lose sight of the gospel.
13. Peter and Barnabas accepted Paul's rebuke for the truth of the gospel, as should the Galatian church, and as we ought to.
14. Paul defends the gospel against both Judaizers and antnomians. Jew and Gentile alike must come to salvation solely by faith in Jesus Christ.
15. In Christ our sentence of death has been served, and the curse of the law no longer hangs over us.
16. Faith is the means God uses to bring us to justification. The source of our salvation is Jesus Christ.
17. The gospel does not dispense with keeping the law.
18. God is not the author of sin (Gal. 2:17). We are saved by being joined to Christ, and sharing in his righteousness.
19. We are saved from our sins, not in them.
20. If there were any other possible means of salvation, the cross is worthless.
- What false structure of works are we relying on rather than the grace of Jesus Christ?
- Are we rebuilding, by our own efforts, anything the gospel has torn down?