Freedom from False and Enslaving Brothers (Sermon Manuscript from Galatians 2)

Paul had been freed from being a false and enslaving brother.

Formerly, Paul had great pride in being a “Jew by birth” and not one of those “Gentile sinners.” He was one born as a member of the chosen race. In addition, he was a member of the most powerful nation on the planet; he was a citizen of Rome.  His parents were thoroughly faithful in raising him in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. A biblical name was given him, and then they made sure he dedicated, circumcised, and baptized on the eighth day. Every time the synagogue doors were open he was present, and he faithfully attended all the services, feasts, fasts, and holy days. Years later, as he continued to mature, he was sent away to receive the choicest of Orthodox Jewish education from Gamaliel. However, his learning never ceased; as an adult he continued to devour the Torah, the Writings, and the Mishnah. Paul was a zealot in both learning and doing; he was driven to obey and perform properly. Therefore, he majored in the Moral laws of God (God’s principles for all people of all time), the Ceremonial Laws (God’s principles for ecclesiastical worship), and God’s Civil Laws (God’s political principles for the state of Israel). In addition, he sought to meticulously keep Traditional Laws of the Fathers (Extra-biblical rules accumulated throughout the centuries). And Paul was very good at keeping these rules, at least he and others deemed him to be so. His zeal was second-to-none and his reputation was exemplary so that according to his contemporaries he was considered “blameless” in regard to God’s Law. Paul looked good. He looked moral. He looked religious. He looked righteous. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, he was not “Uncircumcised Dog” or a “Gentile Sinner.” Paul was a “Cradle Jew” (to borrow a term from our Catholic friends) and his religious practice came much wisdom, morality, and earthly benefits.

However, although Paul definitely proved to not be a “Gentile Sinner,” he did prove every day to be a horrible “Jewish Sinner.” Of course, he would have never admitted such, but this was the tragic reality he would later come to whole-heartedly embrace and express. You see, Paul was like every person. He could obey externally before the eyes of some men, but he could not perfectly obey with his heart, mind, mouth, eyes, and feet. He could obey externally but never internally. He could obey partially, but never exhaustively. He could occasionally but never consistently. He could not avoid all the prohibitions, and he could not keep all the prescriptions. Try as he might, Paul couldn’t keep all 600-plus rules of his fathers. He couldn’t even keep the 10 great commandments written by God on tablets of stone. He couldn’t even keep the Big Two — loving God with all one’s being and loving one’s neighbors as one ought. No, Paul could not hit God’s standard, and he proved himself to be a “Jewish Sinner” day-in and day-out. God’s Law did nothing to show him to be righteous. To the contrary, it regularly proclaimed him to be a sub-standard worshiper and rebel failing to adequately perform. In addition, the Law did nothing to help him be more righteous. Sure, it showed him what righteousness ought to look like, but it did nothing to enable him to desire and do such. And interestingly, according to his later testimony, God’s Law actually served to increase his transgressions. Paul began to monkey around with God’s holy rules in an effort to make himself look better than he was. In addition, he looked for ways to add and promote “doable” rules. He would then pretend these “doable” rules came from God, and this made him feel better about his holiness. Paul also made much of looking about and comparing himself with others. This stroked his ego and made him feel more competent as a man of God. And when all else failed, he turned to his elaborate and traditional religious ceremonies. In his own mind, these were things he could do to partner with God and treat that fact that he was not a perfectly righteous keeper of God’s Law. However, strive as he might, Paul could justify himself in the eyes of man, but he could not justify himself before the eyes of the Holy Judge. God’s Law called his bluff and damned him each and every day. Every day his condition became worse, and all the Law had for him was the declaration of the Judge, “Cursed be the one who abides not by my rules,” and “The soul that sins; it shall die.” And Paul was not alone in his righteousness predicament, for by works of the Law could no man every be justified or made right with God.

However, while in the very process of being a false, enslaving, and enslaved brother, Paul was saved from his sin. While being dead in his trespasses and sins, Paul was graciously made alive, justified by the Father, through faith alone in the completed work of Jesus Christ. You see, Christ saw Paul’s horrible sin before he was ever born. However, despite Paul’s insolent and incessant rebellion, Christ graciously loved him. He then covenanted with the Father and the Spirit on his behalf. Theuy chose him and wrote his name in their book. Then Christ came to earth to graciously live and die for him. Christ would be Paul’s surrogate worshiper. In Paul’s stead, Christ obeyed and perfectly kept the Moral, Ceremonial, and Civil Laws. [Christ skipped over the Tradition of the Fathers, for he deemed this gratuitous and not obligatory in any way.] Then, after accruing all the righteousness-credit Paul would ever need for his righteousness account, Christ went to work on Paul’s damnation debt. You see, Paul owed hell to God. He had acted as a child of the devil and deserved to be treated as such. However, Jesus chose to take upon himself the hell-debt owed by Paul. Christ “gave himself for him.” He was crucified on Calvary’s Tree where he received the scorn of men, the sin of Paul and all the elect, and the just wrath of the Holy Father. But before the Lamb of God breathed his last breath, he heralded great news on behalf of Paul and the whoever believed on him. Jesus screamed, “It is finished,” and in this proclamation he exaggerated or lied not. The wrath of the Father was fully appeased. The justice of hell was fully paid. The righteousness needed was fully earned and irrevocably transferred. All that was left to be done was for Paul to recognize and receive the free gift of the performance of Christ, and at that point he would be graciously justified by the Holy Judge. However, Paul was not interested in receiving the free gift — so dark and dead was he. He was not interested in having faith and expressing repentance, so Jesus and his Spirit gave him these gifts as well. Paul declared his belief in the free and full atonement of Jesus. He repented of his sin, and at that point he received God’s declaration of justification, clothing in righteousness, pronouncement of his adoption, Spiritual filling, Spiritual fruiting, and promise of eternal blessings in the New Heavens and New Earth. Paul was no longer a false brother who was enslaving, and enslaved. Because of the free and full performance of God, Paul was free at last!

This was the Gospel Paul received on the road to Damascus.

This was the Gospel Paul learned about in the desert of Syria. For three years he was tutored by Jesus and his Holy Spirit. He received his systematic theology by none other than the Truth, the Teacher, the Author, the Finisher, the Priest, and the Prophet.

Therefore, it cannot be surprising that this was the Gospel Paul preached in Damascus, Antioch, Galatia, Jerusalem, and throughout the Roman Empire.

However, though Paul was saved from being a false, enslaving, and enslaved brother, he was not saved from the presence of false, enslaving, and enslaved brothers.

Paul continually had to free believers from false and enslaving brothers.

Distorters of the Gospel were always around; they seemed to follow him from church to church. These false brothers or teachers were known as “Judaizers” or “Members of the Circumcision Party,” and they seemed to spring forth from the small group of James in Jerusalem. They were Jews who considered themselves Christians, and they were most known for commitment to the Law and the Tradition of the Fathers. And they were “influential people,” with sway over the laity, the clergy, and even the Apostles. However, at best they were “brothers who were false,” and at worse “false or counterfeit brothers.” What did they teach? They taught Jesus plus ____________ (fill in the blank). They added human performance to the finished performance of Jesus. They added human partnership to God’s solo work. They added faithfulness to faith and required wages as the necessary response to God’s free gift. Therefore, instead of singing, “Jesus paid it all,” they would have preferred, “Jesus paid a lot,” or “Jesus paid it almost all,” or “Jesus paid it most.” And by adding one jot or tittle to the finished work of Jesus, they nullified the grace of God and put forth another gospel that was no Gospel at all. They took free believers and encouraged them to find their place as enslaved workers under the yoke of the Law. Paul, who had received, learned, and preached the true Gospel, could not stomach such, and with righteous indignation he went to war. Paul became astonished, then he became angry, and then he started throwing curses about. And if one caught him on the right day, he would use inspired language that some would deem inappropriate for mixed audiences and the pulpit. Paul preached sermons, he wrote letter, and when this wouldn’t suffice, he travelled long distances to engage with errant teachers. Paul was not passive for a moment; too much was at stake. No, he would not be a passive father or elder and allow his brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters to teach and believe a gospel that was no Gospel at all. Law-works had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with one’s relationship to God, and Paul was driven to free false, enslaving, and enslaved brothers from such a damnable heresy.

In Jerusalem

On one particular occasion, Paul journeyed to Jerusalem to defend the Gospel. He had received special revelation that a horrible famine would devastate Israel, so he led several Gentile churches in taking up a collection to assist their hurting brothers in Israel. Then, he received a later revelation telling him to go up to Jerusalem. He would deliver the love gift to his Jewish brothers, and he determined at that same visit he would defend the non-performance-Gospel to his “influential” friends who were zealous for the Law and passionate about their traditions. Therefore, what did Paul do to prepare for this trip? He determined he would take with him the Very-Jewish- Barnabas and also the Very-Non-Jewish-Titus. While there, they were troubled by Judaizing false brothers. Someone had sought to secretly bring them in, and they began their surreptitious spying, scheming, and sneaking about. Oh, they would have never admitted such, but they were engaged in the process of messing with the freedom believers had in Jesus, and they were seeking to bring them back into slavery. And true to form, they focused in on Titus and demanded he be circumcised in order to be perfectly acceptable to God. They reasoned they would win the day. They were sure they would sway majority opinion and compel Paul, Barnabas, and Titus to repent. However, they were wrong, for Paul had Christ on his side! Paul went behind closed doors with those who “seemed to be influential.” He walked through his Gospel, showed how he was their equal in biblical truth and Spiritual power, and in the end the “Pillars of the Church” presented to him the right hand of fellowship. Paul learned nothing but taught them much. Paul adjusted not one iota but caused them to change their views. On that day, Paul walked out the victor in regard to the Gospel of justification, by faith alone, without any works or ceremonies or traditions or laws, only because of the finished work of Jesus Christ. However, sadly, Paul had won the theological battle, but the war was not over. He would have to defend the Gospel on another front.

In Antioch

In a later episode, Peter had travelled to visit the First Presbyterian Church of Antioch. But something was different on this visit. Previously, Peter had supped and fellowshipped with his Greek and Roman brothers, but on this occasion he refused to do so. Why was this? What had changed? False brothers from the circle of James had gotten to him, spewed forth their “Performance Heresy,” and as a result Peter had adjusted his thinking and practice. Peter heard their sermons, feared their accusations, and tragically refused to eat the Agape-love-feast with those in the family of God. Peter himself became a false, enslaving, and enslaved brother. Pope Peter was wrong! And according to Paul he stood condemned:

  • He had previously seen the model of Jesus who consistently ate with Gentiles and sinners.
  • He had learned to feed and eat alongside Gentiles at the Feeding of the Four Thousand.
  • He had received a divine commission telling him Gentile inclusion was his life mission.
  • He had received a supernatural vision that explicitly taught him to eat with Gentiles. (Acts 10)
  • He had practiced eating with Gentiles. (Acts 11; Gal. 2)
  • He had formerly defended his practice before criticizing neighbors. (Acts 11)
  • He had learned to live like a Gentile. (Gal. 2)
  • He had heard and believed false doctrine. (Gal. 2)
  • He had feared the opinion of men. (Gal. 2)
  • He had separated and divided the family of God as he discriminated against brothers and sisters. (Gal. 2)
  • He had encouraged Gentiles to keep the very Law he was not so interested in keeping any longer. (Gal. 2)
  • He had played the part of a hypocrite. (Gal. 2)
  • He had led wrongly as Barnabas and many other brothers had followed his leadership. (Gal. 2)

Therefore, Paul publicly opposed Peter to his face. Why? It was because his actions were not in step with the Gospel. The “Influential Apostolic Pillar” was not infallible; he was wrong. In Galatians 2, a portion of Paul’s address has been presented. Paul reminded Peter of their own inability to keep and be justified by the Law. He then reminded Peter of the truth they both agreed upon — justification comes through faith in Jesus and never by works of the Law. This was true for all men, because by works of the Law could no man ever be made right or more right. Paul then reminded his errant Apostolic brother that it could not possibly be sinful to follow Christ who justifies and accepts by faith alone. No, to the contrary, it wouldf be sinful to preach Law-performance had anything to do with God’s acceptance of man. Paul then stated his own relation to the Law:

“For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God.”

The Law killed had killed Paul. The Law had killed Christ. Therefore, the Law had nothing left to say to him. However, Christ loved him, gave himself for him, was risen for him, and as a result raised him up. Christ now lived in him, and there was no way he was going to nullify the grace of Christ by adding human works. Again, Paul carried the day and walked out the victor in regards to the Gospel of justification, by faith alone, without any works or ceremonies or traditions or laws, because of Jesus Christ. He won the theological battle, but the war was not over. He would continue to have to defend the Gospel he received, learned, and preached.

In Galatia

And now, this is why Paul is writing his letter to the brothers in Galatia. They are struggling with this issue. Distorting troublers are at hand. False brothers are spewing their venom. This is why Paul is astonished, angry, laying down anathemas, and affectionately writing to his beloved friends. Galatians is Paul’s letter urging his gullible brothers not to walk away from the freedom have in Jesus Christ. He ids defending the Gospel again, with his pen. And the war ragesd on ….

In Jerusalem … again

Paul faces this issue again in Jerusalem some years later. This historical account is recorded for us in Acts 15:

But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question. So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them. But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses.” The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.” And all the assembly fell silent …  Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God … Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers, with the following letter: ….

And so it goes until the Lord takes him home to glory. False, enslaving, and enslaved brothers are always following Paul, maximizing human performance, and minimizing grace. And Paul is always ready to defend the Gospel he received, learned, preached, and loved. He will never nullify grace, and he will not allow anyone else to do so in his presence or within reach of his pen. However, the battle is not over.

Paul continues to free believers from false and enslaving brothers.

During the 1500’s, it was the writings of Paul that allowed Martin Luther to be freed from his spiritual and ecclesiastical bondage. He, like Paul, was trying to earn his righteousness. He, like the Judaizers, was trying to partner with Jesus in his earning his own justification. He was trying to get right with God, stay right with God, and make himself more right with God. However, gloriously, the language of Paul in Galatians 2 struck him in the head and heart. He learned that Jesus really did pay it all. He learned he received Jesus’ substitutionary merit by faith — alone. There was nothing left for him to do. There was nothing left for him to become. He didn’t have to grow or make progress to be acceptable before God. No works, no partnership, or no law-keeping was needed. And therefore, in the face of the “influential people” about him, Martin Luther began to preach the Gospel of gracious justification, by faith alone, without works, because of Jesus Christ alone. With his voice he defended the Gospel and with his pen he refused to give ground for one moment. And like Jesus and Paul, he too was ultimately booted out of his religious denomination for his views. But he would not relent, for he would never nullify the grace of God.

But 500 years later than Martin Luther, and 2000 years later than Paul, false, enslaving, and enslaved brothers are still found in the church. Therefore, with this sad fact in view, let us leave today focusing on four points of application:

Let us recognize the schemes and sermons of the devil

Through persecution and temptation, Satan attacks outside the walls of the church. However, this is not the full measure of his opposition. Satan continues to attack by sneaking in false teachers inside the church. Therefore, let us recognize there are always about us “brothers who are false” and “false and counterfeit brothers,” and let us learn to recognize their Satanic sermons.

“Hath God said?”  Satan is consistently teaching us to discount God’s good, wise, and loving counsel. He does so before we are saved. He will continue to do so after we come to know the God who loves us and gave himself for us. There is nothing wrong with the Law. We are to cherish it like honey, but Satan would have us ignore and loathe God’s good principles, guidelines, and rules.

“You are doing good enough.”  Satan encourages us to believe that God grades on a curve. He would have us believe that trying hard and having good intentions is all God really requires. After all, we are not totally depraved; we have more good in us than we do evil, and God is very appreciative of our efforts.

“You shall not die.”  Satan encourages us to discount God’s standard and sentence. Satan encourages us to wink at the consequences of sin. He encourages us to forget the reality of hell.

“You have now gone too far and are without hope.”  After enticing us with “little sins,” Satan puts on the hat of the accuser. He tells us God may have mercy and grace for some people, and for sin transgressions, but for us who have done this or that, grace is not available. According to his false press, we have spurned the love of God too much; we have gone too far; we have done so too many times; reconciliation is too far away. Immediate reconciliation is not possible for us.

“Jesus has done his part; now do yours.”  Satan preaches this in liberal churches as salvation is presented as men learning to walk after the model of Jesus, and in so doing we save ourselves and our world. He preaches this in the Catholic Church as salvation involves our doing good works, keeping the sacraments, and ultimately paying our final payment in purgatory. Satan preaches this message in Churches of Christ as they present baptism (like circumcision for the Judaizers) as a requirement for one to be right with God. Satan preaches this in Arminian churches as one must “keep himself saved” and “not lose or give away his salvation.” In their thinking, work is required on the part of the worshiper to partner with Jesus in a justification that lasts. And Satan preaches this message in some Reformed camps who present “covenant keeping” as that which must be done in order for one to consider himself a part of God’s family. A softer Reformed version may be “Faith is all that is required for justification, but faithfulness is surely required for acceptance.” Friends, this is no Gospel, for who is really “faithful?” The only people who are faithful are those who are arrogant or dead. Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are made right, kept right, viewed as right, and treated as right, by grace, through faith, and without any works, ceremonies, traditions, or laws … period! Satan encourages us to believe that God’s delightful acceptance and communion is based upon our obedience or law-keeping. He then uses the Law, which should be dead in its condemnation, to drive us to “step child in the basement” status. We are told we never measure up. We are told God is angry with us. We are told God is a half-step away from hurting us in retribution for our sin, and we are told to do better in order to get God to like us more. We are told “the harder you work the more loved you are.” We are told we had better measure up before we come to the Lord’s Table. Heresy!

“If you preach and promote this “free Gospel” people will allow themselves sinful license.” Satan says, “Hey preacher, be careful in spouting forth too much grace, for your people will use the “Free Gospel” as an excuse to sin more.” Well friends, this may be partially true. People will indeed do so. People always misuse the benefits of God. However, such people are they who understand not true Gospel-Freedom. God’s Gospel frees us from the Law’s condemnation, God’s wrath, and God’s hell. It also frees us from Satan’s dominion and this present evil age. It frees us to worship and desire differently. It frees us to have more external success walking after Jesus’ model. It frees us to love our neighbors more than yesterday. A true Gospel understanding stirs up holiness and does not cause the recipient to spurn purity. But such people do not need less Gospel, they need more.

“Jewish traditions have gone away but our traditions but ours are here to stay.” I don’t even know what to say about this. God has abrogated his Ceremonial Traditions given on Sinai. He has abrogated his Civil Traditions as well. Circumcision, that was once so important, is now nothing at all. He nurtured his church along for centuries before adding a Westminsterian look to it. However, our relatively late traditions are seen by some as the hallmark of truth and that which grants people greater acceptance on Sundays with God. Friends, I don’t even know where to go with this thinking that I once fully embraced. God does not dislike our traditions and ceremonies, but he does deem it foolish when we force our preferences and traditions on others as if they were equal to the Law of God.

Let us repent of being used by the devil

Let us repent of adding conditions to the unconditional free gift of Christ. Let us repent of merging faithfulness with faith, worship with faith, sanctification with faith, obedience with faith, piety with faith, perseverance with faith, etc …. And let us repent of being preachers, elders, counselors, teachers, spouses, parents, and fellow church members who nullify the grace of God through our sermons, lessons, and counsel. Let us be more and more like the Father of the Prodigal Son. Let us be more and more like Hosea to Gomer. Let us offer the Gospel fully and freely.

Let us return to the Gospel

Friends, Jesus has paid it all; he has not just paid a lot.

We do not have to love God or love our neighbor in order to receive his free gift. (Big Two)

We do not have to think about God only, think about God properly, talk about God properly, worship him, and sabbath acceptably in order to be delightful children. It is not required that we honor authority, life, marriage and sex, truth, and possessions in order for us to be right with Him. It is not required that we live contented lives in order to hear we are his beloved sons and daughters. (Big Ten)

We do not have to worship in a particular order or celebrate in a particular manner in order to be justified and enjoy all the benefits thereof.

We do not have to work up a sufficient amount of belief, faith, love, joy, hatred for evil, or sorrow over sin. These things have nothing to do with how God views us.

We do not have to join a church, be baptized, partake of the Lord’s Supper, and give money in order to be called holy. Much less do we have to keep the traditions of man which many have confused with the laws of God.

We do not have to serve, become poor, evangelize, or even give our bodies to be burned. All of this can be good worship, but it has nothing to do with our being viewed as acceptable saints without spot or blemish.

Oh friends, Jesus paid it all. There is nothing left to pay. Hear him afresh as he says:

I see your past sins.
I see your present sins.
I see your future sins.
I see your poor repentance.
I see your persistent faithlessness.
I see your total depravity, and that there is no part of you left untouched by sin.
I see your spiritual death.
I see your physical death on the horizon.
I see your eternal death over the horizon; hell is hot for you.
·      I love you.
I have sworn to perform law-works for you.
I have sworn to die a substitutionary death for you.
I have not lied.
I have come to earth for you.
I lived a law-keeping life for you.
I died for you.
I paid it all for you. And when you were not so interested in me and my performance, I performed for you still ….
I sent my Spirit for you, to change you, and give you repentance and faith.
I have justified you.
I have adopted you.
I have sainted you.
I am indwelling in you.
I have gifted you with spiritual gifts.
I am and always will fruit you.
I will never leave you or forsake you.
I am still not done with you, for I will see you again.

Freed brothers, hear Jesus calling to Adam and Eve in the Garden.

Hear him calling to Abraham and Sarah coming out of Pharaoh’s harem.

Can you hear God calling out to Moses in Midian?

He calls us just as he called to Tamar in the brothel, Samson at the ranch, and Bathsheba in the bedroom.

Can you hear him calling as he did Nineveh in the city and Nebuchadnezzar in the field?

Hear him as he comes to you as Hosea did to Gomer and Jesus did to Matthew at the office.

Just as Jesus called Zacchaeus in the tree and Peter on the day of resurrection, so he comes calling you right now.

Hear him as he calls Paul from his synagogue and Luther from the monastery.

Jesus declares, “Friends, anyone who gives up and receives me, you are made right we me — any day, each day, every day, all day, today— only by faith in me and my works. Your works may have something to do with your joy and fruitfulness, but they have nothing to do with your acceptance.”

Brothers and sisters, Jesus is not impressed by your righteous little coinage that we keep trying to send his way. Say, “Thank you.” Say, “Teach me.” Say, “Lead me.” Say, “Fall fresh upon me.” Say, “Forgive me.” Say, “Help me to live a holy life.” Say, “Lead me in the way everlasting.” Say many things, but do not say any longer, “What must I do to make myself acceptable to you today?” It is finished! That is already a done deal.

Finally, Let us repent of being false brothers and passive brothers

Like Paul, let us walk in step with the Gospel and call out those who keep not in step with the Gospel. Let us be faithful fathers in our teaching our protecting of the flock of God. Let us not sit idly by while “brothers who are false” or “false and counterfeit brothers” harm distort the Gospel and harm themselves and others. Let us teach properly, defend properly, and confront appropriately.

Then, let us get out of the church and proclaim the Gospel truth to those in the neighborhood. Friends, our neighborhoods are filled with performance addicts seeking to make themselves and keep themselves right with God. Some are cultists and others are Christians, but they all suffer from the delusional idea that they can contribute to their divine acceptance. Yes, our churches and our streets are filled with false, enslaving, and enslaved brothers. Therefore, it is time for the truth to set them free. It is time for us who are freed to preach that which we have received and which we have learned. We’ve a story to tell to the nations, so let’s go and preach the Gospel to all people — to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Galatians 2:1–21     Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. 2I 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. 3But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. 4Yet 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— 5to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. 6And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. 7On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised 8(for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), 9and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do. 11But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. 13And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” 15We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. 17But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

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