Galatians 2 – Arrogance of Paul

Paul taught we can’t earn our salvation but by grace through faith (Eph 2:8-9), while Jesus taught we must be worthy to receive salvation (Luke 20:35-36) which is by keeping God’s commandments (Matt 19:16-19; Rev 22:14).  Jesus never taught salvation by grace anywhere. The grace Jesus taught is conditional (Matt 22:1-14), reversible (Matt 18:21-35) and expiring (Luke 13:6-9) – given only to become righteous and holy before being cut off.

peterpaul

In this second chapter of the letter to Galatians by Paul, we will see how he is deceiving with a false liberty of the false gospel, rejecting what Christ said in the great commission, his arrogance and lies about the law.

False Liberty of the False Gospel

Gal 2:1-5 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me. And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain. Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage), to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

Paul had been deceiving the gentiles for 14 years and finally coming to Jerusalem not to learn from the apostles but even to deceive the apostles.themselves.

What liberty is Paul preaching here and what liberty did Christ preach?

John 8:31-36 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

He who sins is a slave of sin. The liberty preached by Christ is from sin which is by abiding in His Word or obeying what He taught. However, Paul is preaching a strange liberty which is not a liberty from sin but from obeying God. Paul even calls obedience to God is bondage.

Rejecting Great Commission

Gal 2:6-10 But from those who seemed to be something–whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man–for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me. But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles), and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.

Let’s see what Jesus instructed Peter and other disciples.

Matt 28:20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Christ nowhere instructed His disciples to go only to Jews. Nor did He indicated about another gospel for gentiles. Is Peter rejecting what Jesus taught?

Acts 10:13-15 And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.”

God also instructed Peter to go to the gentiles as we see above. Is Peter rejecting God’s vision and Christ’s great commission? Absolutely not. It is Paul’s letter who is using Peter’s name to not only dishonor him but to exalt himself as an apostle equal to Peter, even rejecting Christ’s great commission and God’s vision to Peter.

Who is blaming who?

Gal 2:11-13 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.

Peter withdrew and separated himself from gentiles because of the fear of those who were of the circumcision. Is this even wrong? Why is Paul making a big fuss about it?

Let’s see what Jesus did in such a situation.

Matt 12:14-16 Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him. But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all. Yet He warned them not to make Him known

Jesus withdrew himself from the synagogue because of the fear of the Jewish leaders. Will the heretic Paul also blame Christ as a hypocrite?

Arrogance of Paul

Gal 2:14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?

Is Paul blaming Peter for not being straightforward about the truth of the gospel and was living in the manner of Gentiles? What kind of false accusation is this?

What truth of the gospel Paul is referring to?

Acts 20:24 “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

Matt 9:35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

Paul preached a strange gospel of the grace of God not preached by Christ anywhere. The grace Jesus taught is conditional (Matt 22:1-14), reversible (Matt 18:21-35) and expiring (Luke 13:6-9). Also, the gospel preached by Jesus Christ is about His Kingdom. Is Peter being accused because he didn’t follow the false gospel of Paul?

Is Peter compelling Gentiles to live as Jews? Absolutely not!

Acts 15:5-9 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.” Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter. And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: “Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

As you can see, Peter defended the view that Gentiles were not required to be circumcised. Yet, Paul is lying here that Peter is compelling Gentiles to live as Jews.

Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

Is Paul going to come down from his crucified cross to follow Christ daily?  This shows Paul has no desire to follow Christ by taking his cross daily but rather pushes the responsibility to God for all his actions.

Paul’s lie that law doesn’t justify

Gal 2:15-19 “We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.

Who said the man is not justified by the works of the law?

Luke 18:10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men–extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. ‘I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Jesus spoke a parable where the humble tax collector who went to the Temple was justified according to the law.

Matt 19:16-17 Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

Rev 22:14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.

Didn’t Jesus said to keep the commandments to enter life? Hence, Paul is clearly lying that the works of the law will no justify and having faith in Christ is enough.

Jas 2:24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone.

As James rebukes Paul’s false doctrine, a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

Righteousness does come through the law

Gal 2:20-21 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

Paul is lying again that righteousness does not come through the law.

Deut 6:24-25 ‘And the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day. ‘Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the LORD our God, as He has commanded us.’

Didn’t the law itself says that obeying the law will be righteousness to those who obey them? Paul uses a false assumption to justify that Christ did not die in vain. This is simply untrue. Christ died to defeat death itself and now holds the keys to death and Hades (Rev 1:18). He created a new covenant with His own blood and if we are found worthy of that covenant by following Him, then we receive eternal life (Luke 20:35).

Word of Warning

It is important to note that the law was never given to gentiles at any time nor the gentiles were under it. The law doesn’t promise back anything to gentiles (Isa 56:6). Many misunderstand that Jesus was speaking only of the law. This is simply untrue. Jesus was referring the law but he is also changing it to show what it means to follow the new covenant.

Matt 5:21-22 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.

Do not murder is the law but not even to be angry with a brother without a cause is never found in the law but of the New Covenant.

Matt 5:27-28 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Do not commit adultery is the law but not even to lust a woman in the heart is never found in the law but of the New Covenant.

John 2:19-21 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body.

Matt 12:6 “Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple.

Christ also modified the law by Himself becoming the Temple in the New Covenant. More accurately, He is greater than the Temple, thus nullifying all the laws related to the Temple purifications.

It is important to understand that Paul is rejecting the law but Christ did not. Christ actually superseded the law in the New Covenant which is more stricter. i.e., cleansing the inside of our hearts by denying ourselves, take your cross daily and follow Him.