The Council at Jerusalem
Peter (Cephas) Opposed by Paul
11 Now when Cephas (Peter) came to Antioch, I opposed him face to face [about his conduct there], because he stood condemned [by his own actions]. 12 Before certain men came from James, he used to eat [his meals] with the Gentiles; but when the men [from Jerusalem] arrived, he began to withdraw and separate himself [from the Gentile believers], because he was afraid of those from the [d]circumcision. 13 The rest of the Jews joined him in this hypocrisy [ignoring their knowledge that Jewish and Gentile Christians were united, under the new covenant, into one faith], with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that they were not being straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I told Cephas (Peter) in front of everyone, “If you, being a Jew, live [as you have been living] like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how is it that you are [now virtually] forcing the Gentiles to live like Jews [if they want to eat with you]?”
15 [I went on to say] “We are Jews by birth and not sinners from among the Gentiles; 16 yet we know that a man is not [e]justified [and placed in right standing with God] by works of the Law, but [only] through faith in [God’s beloved Son,] Christ Jesus. And even we [as Jews] have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the Law. By observing the Law no one will ever be justified [declared free of the guilt of sin and its penalty].(B) 17 But if, while we seek to be justified in Christ [by faith], we ourselves are found to be sinners, does that make Christ an advocate or promoter of our sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I [or anyone else should] rebuild [through word or by practice] what I once tore down [the belief that observing the Law is essential for salvation], I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the Law I died to the Law and its demands on me [because salvation is provided through the death and resurrection of Christ], so that I might [from now on] live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ [that is, in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith [by adhering to, relying on, and completely trusting] in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. 21 I do not ignore or nullify the [gracious gift of the] grace of God [His amazing, unmerited favor], for if righteousness comes through [observing] the Law, then Christ died needlessly. [His suffering and death would have had no purpose whatsoever.]”
- Galatians 2:2 This group would have included the apostles Peter and John, as well as James, Jesus’ half brother who was also the leader of the Jerusalem church.
- Galatians 2:4 I.e. the Judaizers (see note 1:7).
- Galatians 2:9 A solemn act of partnership signifying acceptance, agreement and trust.
- Galatians 2:12 I.e. self-righteous Jewish converts who twisted the gospel to suit their legalistic beliefs, observed Mosaic Law, and would not eat with Gentile believers.
- Galatians 2:16 Being justified is a legal or judicial declaration of righteousness. Justification has two parts: (1) Being declared free of blame, acquitted of sin—not guilty. Believers are justified because Jesus Christ personally assumed the guilt for our sin on the cross; (2) God declares the person righteous, that is, placed in a position of right-standing with Him. A person may not be made righteous by his personal behavior, no matter how good, or by the declaration of any other human being.
- Galatians 2:6 : Deut 10:17
- Galatians 2:16 : Ps 143:2