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2:1 Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.

2:2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.

2:3 But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: 2:4 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: 2:5 To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

2:6 But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me: 2:7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; 2:8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) 2:9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

2:10 Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.

2:11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.

2:12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.

2:13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.

2:14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? 2:15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

2:17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.

2:18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.

2:19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.

2:20 I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.



Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Galatians
Book: Galatians
Chapter: 2

Overview:
The Apostle declares his being owned as an Apostle of the
Gentiles. (1-10) He had publicly opposed Peter for judaizing.
(11-14) And from thence he enters upon the doctrine of
Justification By Faith in Christ, without the Works of the Law.
(15-21)

1-10 Observe the Apostle's faithfulness in giving a full
account of the doctrine he had preached among the Gentiles, and
was still resolved to preach, that of Christianity, free from
all mixture of Judaism. This doctrine would be ungrateful to
many, yet he was not afraid to own it. His care was, lest the
success of his past labours should be lessened, or his future
usefulness be hindered. While we simply depend upon God for
success to our labours, we should use every proper caution to
remove mistakes, and against opposers. There are things which
may lawfully be complied with, yet, when they cannot be done
without betraying the Truth, they ought to be refused. We must
not give place to any conduct, whereby the Truth of the Gospel
would be reflected upon. Though Paul conversed with the other
apostles, yet he did not receive any addition to his knowledge,
or authority, from them. Perceiving the Grace given to him, they
gave unto him and Barnabas the right Hand of Fellowship, whereby
they acknowledged that he was designed to the honour and office
of an Apostle as Well as themselves. They agreed that these two
should go to the Heathen, while they continued to preach to the
Jews; judging it agreeable to the mind of Christ, So to divide
their work. Here we learn that the Gospel is not ours, but
God's; and that men are but the keepers of it; for this we are
to praise God. The Apostle showed his charitable disposition,
and how ready he was to own the Jewish converts as brethren,
though many would scarcely allow the like favour to the
converted Gentiles; but mere difference of opinion was No reason
to him why he should not help them. Herein is a pattern of
Christian Charity, which we should extend to all the disciples
of Christ.

11-14 Notwithstanding Peter's character, yet, when Paul saw him
acting So as to hurt the Truth of the Gospel and the peace of
the Church, he was not afraid to reprove him. When he saw that
Peter and the others did not live up to that principle which the
Gospel taught, and which they professed, namely, That By the
Death of Christ the partition Wall between Jew and Gentile was
taken down, and the observance of the Law of Moses was No longer
in force; as Peter's Offence was public, he publicly reproved
him. There is a very great difference between the prudence of
St. Paul, who bore with, and used for a time, the ceremonies of
the Law as not sinful, and the timid conduct of St. Peter, who,
By withdrawing from the Gentiles, led others to think that these
ceremonies were necessary.

15-19 Paul, having thus shown he was not inferior to any
Apostle, not to Peter himself, speaks of the great foundation
doctrine of the Gospel. For what did we believe in Christ? Was
it not that we might be justified By the Faith of Christ? If So,
is it not foolish to go back to the Law, and to expect to be
justified By the merit of moral Works, or sacrifices, or
ceremonies? The occasion of this declaration doubtless arose
from the ceremonial Law; but the argument is quite as strong
against all dependence upon the Works of the moral Law, as
respects Justification. To give the greater weight to this, it
is added, But if, while we seek to be justified By Christ, we
ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ the Minister of Sin?
This would be very dishonourable to Christ, and also very
hurtful to them. By considering the Law itself, he saw that
Justification was not to be expected By the Works of it, and
that there was now No further need of the sacrifices and
cleansings of it, since they were done away in Christ, By his
Offering up himself a Sacrifice for us. He did not Hope or fear
any thing from it; any more than a dead Man from enemies. But
the effect was not a careless, lawless Life. It was necessary,
that he might live to God, and be devoted to him through the
motives and Grace of the Gospel. It is No new prejudice, though
a most unjust one, that the doctrine of Justification By Faith
alone, tends to encourage people in Sin. Not So, for to take
occasion from free Grace, or the doctrine of it, to live in Sin,
is to try to make Christ the Minister of Sin, at any thought of
which all Christian hearts would shudder.

20,21 Here, in his own person, the Apostle describes the
spiritual or hidden Life of a believer. The old Man is
crucified, Ro 6:6, but the new Man is living; Sin is
mortified, and Grace is quickened. He has the comforts and the
triumphs of Grace; yet that Grace is not from himself, but from
another. Believers see themselves living in a state of
dependence On Christ. Hence it is, that though he lives in the
Flesh, yet he does not live after the Flesh. Those who have true
Faith, live By that Faith; and Faith fastens upon Christ's
giving himself for us. He loved me, and gave himself for me. As
if the Apostle said, The Lord saw me fleeing from him more and
more. Such wickedness, error, and ignorance were in my will and
understanding, that it was not possible for me to be ransomed By
any other means than By such a price. Consider Well this price.
Here notice the false Faith of many. And their profession is
accordingly; they have the form of Godliness without the power
of it. They think they believe the articles of Faith aright, but
they are deceived. For to believe in Christ crucified, is not
only to believe that he was crucified, but also to believe that
I am crucified with him. And this is to know Christ crucified.
Hence we learn what is the nature of Grace. God's Grace cannot
stand with Man's merit. Grace is No Grace unless it is freely
given every way. The more simply the believer relies On Christ
for every thing, the more devotedly does he walk before Him in
all his ordinances and Commandments. Christ lives and reigns in
him, and he lives here On Earth By Faith in the Son of God,
which Works By Love, causes obedience, and changes into his holy
image. Thus he neither abuses the Grace of God, nor makes it in
vain.

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