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Words of Faith 5-14-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Galatians 2

       [1] Fourteen years later I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also.   [2] I went in response to a revelation and set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. But I did this privately to those who seemed to be leaders, for fear that I was running or had run my race in vain.   [3] Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek.   [4] [This matter arose] because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves.   [5] We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you.


     Although Paul began his ministry in relative isolation from "the Twelve," the Apostles in Jerusalem, he later had a cooperative, if precarious, relationship with them. The visit described here occurred after several years of ministry growth and success in the Gentile world that may have created some unease with the "mother church" in Jerusalem.

       Some "false brothers" had infiltrated the ranks for the frontier movement and caused trouble with the "pillars" of the church in Jerusalem. So Paul went up to Jerusalem with Barnabas and Titus to work things out.

       Paul describes this as a private meeting that he approached with some trepidation. A failure to clarify the core nature of the Gospel would have meant a breach between the growing Christian movement in the Gentile world and the first Apostolic events in Jerusalem.

       Could there be two Gospels? Would there be two churches? For Paul, such a schism would mean he had run his race in vain. He sought to meet privately perhaps to avoid a public confrontation over these issues.

       Paul chose two companions to go with him, and each was ideally suited for the task. Barnabas was well known in Jerusalem and had been a prophet and leader since the early days of the church. He was thoroughly Jewish in background and yet had been the principal mover in founding the church at Antioch. It was Barnabas who had initially opened the door for Paul to have a conversation with Peter and James. He was also a respected and significant leader with the Jerusalem churches. His track record of healing discord and arbitrating between factions made him an ideal companion for this situation.

       Titus was an interesting companion since he was a Gentile and was not circumcised.

He ministered alongside Paul and Timothy among the Gentiles. He was the poster child for the Gentile movement, an example of change and transformation by the Gospel of Jesus, yet still wholly Gentile.

       It was at this critical point that a demand by the Twelve to require circumcision of Titus would have split the early church and shifted the Jerusalem movement backward rather than forward. The report that this was not the case is cause for celebration. This was a considerable issue of prejudice between Jew and Gentile.

       But Paul was clear here. This was not a meeting for negotiation. The works of religion were not going to be re-implemented into the "gospel." This was non-negotiable. "We did not give in to them for a moment so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you."

       Some things are non-negotiable. Some truths are eternal and essential while other areas of Christian practice are disputable (Romans 14:1). These truths are not debatable. In these most precious of truths, we cannot negotiate backward into the burden of religion. That is not the Gospel.


       Father God, thank You for setting us free from the notion that we can work our way into some form of religious righteousness. Thank You for setting us free from the works of the flesh so that we might enjoy the freedom of Your grace. In Jesus' Name.


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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.  

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