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Last time we looked at how Paul after being called by Jesus, spent three years in Arabia being trained by God. After this period he went to Jerusalem for 15 days. Today we jump forward 14 years and we see Paul going back to Jerusalem.
Can you save yourself?
Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.
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.
3 But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:
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:
5 To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.
In verse one Paul tells us that it has been fourteen years and he and Barnabas decide to go to Jerusalem. Paul and Barnabas had been working and traveling spreading the Gospel. They had been teaching that you can be saved by grace through faith in Christ and no other way. Some people think that Paul went to Jerusalem to confirm what he had been preaching was okay with the other apostles and the church in Jerusalem. The truth is that, Paul had not concerned himself with verifying what he was preaching was the truth or not, because he had received it straight from Jesus. He had been preaching the same thing for many years and seeing people get saved. He saw the evidence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those that were saved. He saw great works and the advancement of the church.
The book of Acts records Paul going to Jerusalem a few times. For years people have debated if this account is the one written about in Acts 9 or Acts 15. The truth is there is another option. There might not be a parallel account of this visit in Acts. The bottom line is I don’t think it matters. What is important is what Paul is trying to get across to the Galatians. Apparently some of the Judaizers convinced the people in Galatia that they had some special authority from Jerusalem or maybe said those in authority in Jerusalem approved of their message. Paul by revelation goes to Jerusalem and tells those that seemingly were big wigs that he had preached the Gospel to the Gentiles. Paul said in verse 2 that he did this so that what he was doing was not in vain. What he is saying is I want to get things straight so that we don’t run into this problem again.
One of the interesting things Paul did is take Titus with him. Titus was a Greek and apparently the Judaizers wanted to circumcise him. Paul takes Titus for a reason. If Titus goes with Paul and does not come back circumcised, then he is living proof that Jerusalem was on Paul’s side. I’m glad to say that Titus came back without being circumcised.
What Paul is very angry about is ultimately what the Judaizers are trying to do. Paul said in verse 4 that these false brethren would come in and spy on the church. They would see the liberty the people had in Christ, and instead of being happy that Christ had freed these people from bondage, the Judaizers preferred that the church be in bondage. Paul makes it clear that he didn’t stand for this one hour. Why? Because he wanted to make sure the truth of the gospel would continue.
Paul’s whole life and ministry depends on the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately we have churches today that want to put people in bondage. We have churches today that believe what Christ did for us on the cross wasn’t sufficient to save us and to keep us saved. We have churches and cults who want to add to the gospel so that people must do something to be saved, or remain saved. The truth of the matter is that Jesus did it all and only he can save. No man can save himself. No man can keep himself saved.