Galatians 1 – 2
- Introduction and Salutation (1:1-5)
- The Strong Rebuke (1:6-10)
- The History of Paul’s Conversion and Commission (1:11-17)
- First Encounter with Peter: Paul’s Harmony with the Apostles (1:18-24)
- Second Encounter with Peter: Paul’s Understanding of the Truth (2:1-10)
- Third Encounter with Peter: Paul’s Authority to Rebuke (2:11-21)
Introduction and Salutation (1:1-5)
The Strong Rebuke (1:6-10)
The History of Paul’s Conversion and Commission (1:11-17)
- 1st Encounter (Gal. 1:18-24)…. Showing Paul was in harmony with Peter and the other apostles.
- 2nd Encounter (Gal. 2:1-10)….. Showing Paul’s complete understanding of the Christian revelation.
- 3rd Encounter (Gal. 2:11-13)…. Showing that Paul had sufficient authority to rebuke another apostle.
First Encounter with Peter: Paul’s Harmony with the Apostles (1:18-24)
Second Encounter with Peter: Paul’s Understanding of the Truth (2:1-10)
Third Encounter with Peter: Paul’s Authority to Rebuke (2:11-21)
Peter’s Failure in Antioch (vv.11-13)
Paul’s Public Response to Peter (vv.14-21)
Paul Develops Peter’s Inconsistency (vv.14-16)
The Effect of Teaching Justification by Law (v.17)
The Effect of Teaching Law as a Rule of Life (vv.18-20)
- A new life – the life of Christ in me (displayed practically by the fruits of the Spirit).
- A new principle to live by – faith as opposed to works.
- A new object – the Son of God as opposed to ourselves (the law makes me focus on myself). It is “the faith of the Son of God”, the faith that has the Son of God as its object
- A new motive – love instead of fear.
Practical note. It is important to see that, in the death of Christ, not only are my sins put away, but I am crucified as well. This is what Thomas Paine failed to see in his famous “Age of Reason”. Once when reading that influential book, I was suddenly struck by a fiery arrow of doubt. The issue was concerning God’s righteousness in redemption and the efficacy of the work of Christ. He argued that the God of Christianity is unjust in allowing substitutionary atonement. Pecuniary justice, Paine argued, in not justice at all. Why? because the guilty person goes free. Punishing the innocent does not remove another’s guilt. So if God requires payment for sins because of His righteous character, but needs to act unrighteously to do it, the scheme of redemption defeats itself! This really threw me for a loop. I had no answer for it. I kept thinking of how I had always understood substitutionary atonement; e.g. I’m a murderer, convicted of my crime, but then Christ takes my place and I go free… simple. And yet if I think from God’s angle; or from the angle of the victim’s family, was justice done? It would appear that moral justice is not done, in that the guilty man was not punished. Then I read this verse; Galatians 2:20. Five short, but precious, words; “I am crucified with Christ.” The truth is, the sentence has been passed completely and properly. Not only has the debt been paid, but the criminal has been prosecuted. Judicially, I am crucified with Christ. Although Jesus bore our sins, we were crucified with Him. The criminal is really dead, but Christ now lives in me. In God’s sight the guilty man has been crucified! Christ died for me, the just for the unjust, but it is also true that I am crucified with Him. Every aspect of my guilt has been fully and righteously answered to God’s complete satisfaction. That was the answer I needed!
The Net Result of Legalism (v.21)
- The reason why Paul had Timothy circumcised and not Titus is given to us; “because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek” (Acts 16:3). The issue with Timothy was that one parent was Jewish, and so it would raise distracting questions about his ethnicity among the Jews. Paul used his Christian liberty, so that “unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law” (1 Cor. 9:20). Titus on the other hand did not pose the same issue. Both the parents of Titus were Gentiles, and Paul would not compel him to take up with Jewish ceremony (Gal. 2:3).