We’ll continue to look at Paul’s story as he relates it to the church. Remember, Galatians was written long before the book of Acts.
Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. I saw none of the other apostles — only James, the Lord’s brother. I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie. Later I went to Syria and Cilicia. I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they praised God because of me.
Paul has a very interesting story. He spent three years in solitude after his initial salvation experience. He used that time to pray and learn to hear from the Holy Spirit.
He then compresses what happened next into a few short sentences. We know from the book of Acts, that Paul went back to Tarsus, his home town; because there were many who didn’t trust that he had really come to Christ.
After being there a while, Barnabas came and convinced Paul to go to Antioch. There was a Gentile church in that region that needed a strong teacher who was well versed in the Scripture. So Paul made the journey and became a part of that work.
Years later, during a time of fasting and prayer, Paul and Barnabas felt the call of God to go around the Mediterranean Sea, preaching the Good News of Christ. Because of their faithfulness, Gentile churches began springing up all over Asia Minor. The Galatian churches were a part of his work.
Paul ran into problems in doing this. There were some who felt that Christianity was still a part of Judaism. They felt that for a Gentile to be saved, they needed to submit to the Law of Moses. This included all of the food laws as well as circumcision.
Both Peter and Paul had separate revelations showing them that, under grace, the Law had been fulfilled. Then the tension came to a head, and a meeting took place.
Fourteen years later I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. I went in response to a revelation and set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. But I did this privately to those who seemed to be leaders, for fear that I was running or had run my race in vain. Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. [This matter arose] because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you.
The Good News of the Gospel is that we’re not slaves. We’ve been given freedom in Christ. The revelation that Paul received is for all time.
It’s unfortunate that many have fallen back into the slavery mindset throughout the next generations. I believe that it’s God’s desire to once again restore His freedom to us.
Please understand; I’m not talking about a freedom to live however we want. Instead, it’s a freedom to serve God without being hindered by a man-made set of rules.
As we go through the book of Galatians over the next few weeks, Paul will explain in detail how to walk in this freedom. Don’t miss a single installment. It will help you to live on a whole new level in Christ.
Question: How does following a set of rules hinder your Christian walk?
© Nick Zaccardi 2017.