5/31/16 Paul Convinces The Other Apostles To Let The Gentiles Remain Uncircumcised

“Fourteen years after that day when I met Jesus on the road to Damascus, I returned to Jerusalem, Barnabas and Titus, another of my companions, with me.  God gave me a vision, telling me to go to the apostles and speak to them about the message that I preach to the Gentiles.  I went to them and did as God led me to do in private.  I did not want an audience, because I did not want to be seen as trying to teach these men what they should be doing, nor did I want them to disagree with my teaching in front of an audience.  I did, however, have Titus with me, because he is a Gentile who has been working closely with me in my ministry.  There have been many people claiming to be Christians joining the community of believers both in Jerusalem and in all the scattered churches, but they are really spies for those Jews who are very much against the Church and are trying to plant seeds of discord among us.  They have been urging the apostles to tell Titus, and all the Gentile Christians, that they must be circumcised in order to be real Christians.  But even with all of that, after hearing my argument, the apostles did not tell Titus that he must be circumcised.  They agreed with me, that the Jewish spies are trying to destroy the beautiful freedom given to us by our faith in Jesus as our Messiah and bring us back into slavery to the Law of Moses.  I made my argument passionately, never once giving in to the idea that we should concede to the wishes of these spies in order to avoid conflict.  We are cleansed, made whole, and found not guilty through the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross, not by following any laws or doing anything in and of ourselves.  If I gave in to the wishes of these people who want to divide us, I would be conceding that in order for us to receive salvation from our sins, we must be circumcised and follow the Law of Moses.  While the Law of Moses is given by God, and therefore good and holy, it cannot save us.  Only Jesus can do this.  Saying that only by circumcision can a man become a Christian is like saying that Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross was not enough to save us from our sins.  Though the men I spoke with are apostles, and walked with Jesus and learned directly from Him on a daily basis while He lived on the earth, they were unable to contradict me.  They had to concede that I was in the right.  They realized then that God had given me a ministry to the Gentiles, just as He gave Peter a ministry to the Jews.  When Peter, James, John, and Cephas, the highest authorities among all the apostles, realized this, they determined that we must follow what God has given each of us to do, and gave their blessing to Titus, Barnabas, and me to go and continue in our ministry to the Gentiles just as we have been with no changes.  They only urged that we remember to care for the poor among us, which we are only too happy to do.  They, meanwhile, will continue in their ministry to the Jews and Jewish believers.”

 

Galatians 2:1-10

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