Is the Gospel really for everybody? You have probably heard someone tell the humorous one liner; you can’t get there from here. That is what the Judaizers were telling the churches in Galatia about coming to Christ only they weren’t trying to be funny.
There were a group of people known as Judaizers who were trying to impose the Mosaic ceremonial law on believers in Christ. They were upsetting the churches that Paul started. These Judaizers were telling these new churches that to be a Christian you must first become a Jew and follow Jewish law and only then could you come to Christ.
They taught a distorted truth that said you can’t come directly to Christ as a pagan gentile. Paul’s calling was as an apostle to the gentiles. Paul himself was a converted Jew, but his ministry was to the gentiles.
If the Apostles in Jerusalem don’t help Paul correct this false teaching then his race has been run in vain (Gal 2:2). The Judaizers influence had the potential to ruin the missionary efforts where Paul was seeing great blessing. Paul must firmly establish in these new churches that the Gospel is for all.
There was so much at stake in establishing that the Gospel is for all. Spiritual freedom was threatened by these Judaizers. We must study this controversy so no one dare tell us that the Gospel is not for all.
The case for Christian liberty Galatians 2:1-5
Americans can be thankful for their country and the freedoms we enjoy. But there was a high price paid for our countries Liberty. The cry of Patrick Henry, “give me liberty or give me death,” reminds us of that. Some did die for the cause of liberty.
Paul was a champion for spiritual liberty. A great struggle was taking place. He performed as a champion in the cause of spiritual liberty at the Jerusalem council.
Flashback to the Jerusalem Council, Acts 15
Fourteen years later I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also.
Paul has expressed astonishment that churches of Galatia have turned from faith alone to faith plus law. He says what they have really done is moved from the true gospel to no gospel at all.
Paul has been this route before. He dealt with this very issue at the Jerusalem council. This happened he said fourteen years after his first visit to Jerusalem. Read Acts 15 to get more details about this council. In Acts 15:15 states the problem dealt with there; the gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the Law of Moses.
In Galatians 2:1 Paul mentions that he took Titus with him to Jerusalem and in verse 3 he tells us why he did that. Titus was a gentile Christian who was not circumcised. Titus was what in a courtroom might be called “exhibit A.” When you read the reference Paul made of Titus in his letters, the way Paul addressed him in the Book of Titus, the responsibilities that were entrusted to him you see Titus was a faithful Christian.
Titus stood as a defense that the gospel was for all. You do not have to first become a Jew. You don’t have to first become anything. Just come to Christ as you are.
Titus demonstrated that a gentile can become a Christian. Anyone can come to Christ by grace through faith. Titus was a testimony of the fact that when you really serve the Lord it means more than just blessing your life. It affects others God uses you. We need more like Titus
Importance of the council 2, 4, 5
At the point known at the Continental Divide the water goes on one side to the Atlantic Ocean and just nearby all the water that falls goes to the Pacific Ocean. Where it comes down on this watershed ultimately makes the difference. The Jerusalem council was a watershed for the early Church. It would determine if they were to remain free by grace or slaves by works. The outcome is oceans apart.
The struggle came because legalists were trying to make Christians slaves again, under law. But Paul says we didn’t give in because the Truth of Gospel was at Stake.
The dark ages that came on the church in the third century and lasted until the fifteenth century. The struggle for freedom was won. God justifies Jew, Gentile and all the same by faith. All are sinners and all need salvation. All must come the same way, by faith in Christ. Jesus death on the cross was for you. Eternal life in Christ is available to you.
The Outcome of the Jerusalem conference.
Many people go to great lengths to get an autograph from a celebrity. But others take a more down to earth approach; they say celebrities put their pants on one leg at a time like everybody else. That was Paul’s approach about being at a council with the “so called Pillars’” of the church.
James the son of Mary was there (Jesus half brother) who wrote book of James. Peter who walked on water and preached the Pentecost sermon was there. John the beloved disciple was there too. Paul says they may have seemed important, but what they were makes no difference to me.
He goes on in verse six to talk about his feelings regarding external appearances. These external appearances mean nothing to Paul. He gave up on external appearances when converted from a Pharisee to Christian. The bottom line is what’s on the inside.
Paul did not stand there gawking at their prestigious standing. On the contrary he stood his ground and influenced them from making a dangerous derailment that would come, if they started requiring that believers first become Jews then Christians.
Preaching to Gentiles is Valid, Galatians 2:7-9
Paul had been establishing his ministry independent of Apostles. So why was it now important to have them with him on this? If Paul and the other Apostles agree on this their agreement shows harmony. The Jerusalem Council is an affirmation that like minded churches cooperate. One church was not isolated with its head buried in the sand, there was interaction.
So Paul left with right hand of fellowship and a stamp of approval for his ministry to the Gentiles. This was a boost to the missionary work of the Gospel. The Gospel is for all not just for Jews, not just for Westerners, not for just those coming from a Christian family, but for everybody.
It does not matter what background you have. You can come to Christ today. Simply trust Christ as your Savior. This is the only way to God for anyone. This is the way for everyone who seeks God. Jesus sets you free.
The Christian life is a relationship with the living God. The religions of the world follow a system of legalism. Be set free in Christ. Don’t trust in faith in Christ plus anything, not church membership, baptism, following the law. Just simply trust in Christ.
The Gospel is for all. You can come to Christ now. You don’t have to first become or do anything. Don’t wait, don’t first do this or that. Come to Christ now. Co
me just as you are. Just come to Christ. Salvation is by faith in Christ.