By Brooke Holt
“Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain. But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery—to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.” (Galatians 2:1-5)
The apostle Paul is recounting his second trip to Jerusalem post-conversion. At this point, he had been preaching the Gospel for many years to the Gentile nations while also raising up many churches within those areas. This Gospel message and the work of the Holy Spirt were transforming lives.
Now, Paul humbly comes before the other apostles not out of duty or obligation to them, but due to a revelation the Lord gave him. Paul felt compelled or led by the Spirit to come present the Gospel message he was proclaiming to the Gentile nations. Paul’s desire was to protect the Christian freedom that came with the Gospel for these Gentiles and secure equity for them before the Jewish Christians.
While the Judaizers had come into the Galatian churches proclaiming a Gospel message that required the Gentiles’ full adherence to the Law, Paul worked to secure Christian liberty in Christ. Jesus fulfilled the Law of God because mankind could not do so. Christ sets free from the Law those who put their faith and hope in him. Paul would assert this Gospel truth passionately and faithfully. The Gentiles had no need to go back to the striving, working, and failing practices of the Jews. There was no need for circumcision or animal sacrifices. Instead, in Christ, there was freedom from the law and equity between God’s people.
Our world today is desperate to understand this freedom of Jesus Christ and the equality that comes from him alone. The call of the Gospel remains the same as Paul proclaimed — Christians are free from the Law’s requirements and declared righteous by faith in Jesus Christ. In Christ, all barriers are removed. There is now no distinction or discrimination between colors, races, or sexes.
There is only one hope for freedom in this world and one hope for true equality in this world—Jesus Christ. May we turn to him and find healing for our world!
Where do you see this need for freedom and equality in your communities today? How can you bring the hope of the Gospel to these people? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a small group Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
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