(1-14) Paul eventually went to the leaders in Jerusalem, because he wanted a unified church with a unified message (he didn’t want to “run in vain“). The only difference was that his mission was primarily to the Gentiles, while Peter’s was to the Jews. The leadership only asked that he would also remember the poor in his ministry, which he was eager to do.
When he was with the leadership some issues came up regarding circumcision and its necessity for salvation. Paul strenuously defended the concept of grace, because, in his mind, the very “truth of the gospel” was at stake. He even had to rebuke Peter at one point, because Peter was preaching about grace and inclusion, but ended up shunning the Gentiles because of the pro-circumcision camp.
(15-21) The next few verses give a wonderful description of justification by grace. Justification means being made right with God.
- Paul acknowledges that both he and Peter had an advantage by birth.
- But it still wasn’t enough to save them.
- No-one can be saved by works.
- We can only be saved by faith in Jesus Christ.
- Our faith brings justification. We need to be justified because even the law taught that we are all sinners (Psalm 14:1). We aren’t sinners because Jesus Christ came, we were sinners already!
- If we go back to the law, we deny the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
- He fulfilled the law and died in our place.
- We can now live to please God.
- Because we live by faith! (Our faith or God’s faith is a discussion too big to have now!)
For worship: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-JGcVRNPRo