Week 5: A Gospel Of Freedom
It must have been some meeting. Paul, who for fourteen years had been preaching his gospel message throughout the known world, was coming to Jerusalem to see the men who had lived alongside Jesus during his time on earth. Would they get on? Would their messages prove to be the same?
Read Galatians 2:1-5
Why Paul went
- In verse 1 we’re with Paul in Jerusalem. Who did he take with him?
- Who was he wanting to see (v 2)?
But Paul did not need human authorisation to preach the gospel (1:12)!
- So why did he want to set “the gospel that I preach” before these men (v 2)?
- What had happened that prompted Paul’s visit (v 4)?
This “freedom in Christ Jesus” is the freedom from having to obey God to make us fully acceptable to Him, ourselves, and others. It’s the freedom to say that we are more wicked than we ever dared believe, but more loved and accepted in Christ than we ever dared hope.
But these “false brothers” had taught the opposite to Paul: that the Gentiles had to be circumcised, as well as trust in Christ, to be completely acceptable to God.
It must have been a tense time for Paul. Did the Jerusalem leaders preach the same gospel of freedom as him?
Circumcision was crucial in this debate. It was part of what is often called the Old Testament “ceremonial laws”—detailed prescriptions about food, dress and so on that made one ritually “clean”.
So, the Gentiles as a whole had always been “unclean”, and therefore unfit for the presence of God—unless they were circumcised and adopted the entire “Mosaic code” for daily living.
What Paul found
- What nationality was Titus (v 3)?
In other words, not Jewish!
- So why was it very significant that he was not required by the Jerusalem Christian leaders to take on the Jewish mark of circumcision?
- Imagine Titus had had to be circumcised. How would “the truth of the gospel” (v 5) that Paul had been preaching have been lost?
- Why does what God did that day matter to us today?
- In what ways does the gospel give us freedom that “earn-your salvation” religions do not?
Ask God to protect you from anyone or anything which could undermine “the freedom we have in Christ”.