Seeking Our God

Galatians 2:1-5 – Legalism and grace

Episode Summary

While chapter 2 continues Paul’s defense of his apostolic authority and the gospel he preached, he focused not on the source of his message but on its content. Further, whereas in chapter 1 he emphasized his independence from the other apostles, he now demonstrated that there was a basic unity between himself and them. The chapter divides naturally into two major sections. In the first (2:1–10) Paul recounts an important meeting he had with the leaders of the Jerusalem church. The issue of circumcision, which now dominates the appeal being made to his Galatian converts by the false teachers, surfaced at this earlier meeting with reference to Titus, a Gentile believer whom Paul refused to have circumcised despite pressure from certain “false brothers.” In contrast to legalism stands grace. The bag of grace has written on it the word faith. Under “faith” is written John 3:36, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.” In contrast to legalism, grace has no rules, code, or ritual. It is an invitation directly from the heart of God simply to believe and receive. It has no price tag. Paul states in another passage, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8–9).

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