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Galatians 2 (asv)

(Online: ASV WEB)

Paul and the Other Apostles

2:1Then after the space of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus also with me. 2:2And I went up by revelation; and I laid before them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles but privately before them who were of repute, lest by any means I should be running, or had run, in vain. 2:3But not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: 2:4and that because of the false brethren privily brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: 2:5to whom we gave place in the way of subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. 2:6But from those who were reputed to be somewhat (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth not man's person)-- they, I say, who were of repute imparted nothing to me: 2:7but contrariwise, when they saw that I had been intrusted with the gospel of the uncircumcision, even as Peter with the gospel of the circumcision 2:8(for he that wrought for Peter unto the apostleship of the circumcision wrought for me also unto the Gentiles); 2:9and when they perceived the grace that was given unto me, James and Cephas and John, they who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship, that we should go unto the Gentiles, and they unto the circumcision; 2:10only they would that we should remember the poor; which very thing I was also zealous to do.

Paul Rebukes Peter at Antioch

2:11But when Cephas came to Antioch, I resisted him to the face, because he stood condemned. 2:12For before that certain came from James, he ate with the Gentiles; but when they came, he drew back and separated himself, fearing them that were of the circumcision. 2:13And the rest of the Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that even Barnabas was carried away with their dissimulation. 2:14But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Cephas before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest as do the Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, how compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

Both Jews and Gentiles Are Saved by Faith

2:15We being Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 2:16yet knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ1, even we believed on Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the law: because by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. 2:17But if, while we sought to be justified in Christ, we ourselves also were found sinners, is Christ a minister of sin? God forbid. 2:18For if I build up again those things which I destroyed, I prove myself a transgressor. 2:19For I through the law died unto the law, that I might live unto God. 2:20I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me.2 2:21I do not make void the grace of God: for if righteousness is through the law, then Christ died for nought.


  1. Justification by grace through faith. One of the four great Divine Ideas in Paul's writings, according to Marcus Borg. The third great theme of Paul's understanding of the Christ experience is what Borg calls “justification by grace,” which Paul places in sharp opposition to “justification by works of the law.” Borg says “life under the law is the life of 'measuring up' in which our well-being depends upon how well we do” (:254). Being a legal term, we sense that this distinction of “works” versus “grace through faith” will determine the quality of our daily life.
    Death. “How well we do” means whether we prosper or struggle and, ultimately, whether we live or die. So the ultimate penalty for our inability to be “justified” before God is death.
    Metaphysical death: imperfect expression of our Christ nature. Metaphysically, we can never die, for our essence is a Divine idea, continuously expressed by God-Mind. However “metaphysical death” may also be thought of as a less-than-perfect expression of that which is our perfect Divine idea. This may ultimately mean our physical death, but, as metaphysicians, we are always concerned about fully expression our full Christ nature at all times. Anything less can be considered a type of death. Paul found that “works of the law” were never sufficient to cause full expression of our Christ nature. He taught that it could only be achieved by “grace through faith.”
    Justification by grace though faith, not by will-power. Paul came to his understanding of “justification by grace through faith” because of his inability to achieve a perfect expression by will and intellect. He was a good Pharisee, but he knew that his life was not sufficient to achieve the full expression of his true nature. The will is one of the Twelve Powers, our decision making faculty that moves the other faculties into action. The problem with the will is that it cannot see the reality of Divine ideas. So, as we said in the chapter on the Metaphysical Paul, Paul's mission was to conquer the will and intellect (symbolized by Rome) and to place it in service to his Christ nature. Paul's discovery is that the it is the faculty of faith, our ability to perceive the reality of the oneness of God and the flow of Divine ideas, that enables us to achieve perfect expression.
    Works of consciousness. The power behind justification by grace through faith, or perfect expression, is what metaphysicians know as “works of consciousness,” that is, our work in consciousness with the Divine Ideas given by God-Mind, primarily through affirmations, prayer and what Eric Butterworth called keeping “in the flow of life.” Such works can't help but express our Christ potential. Trying to be perfect by our own will-power doesn't work.
    See Divine Ideas in Paul's Writings, Bible Interpretation - Acts to Revelation.
    Borg, Marcus. Reading the Bible Again for the First Time (2001). New York: Harper Collins
  2. Centrality of the crucifixion of Jesus. Given what we have said about death, we should also ask about the crucifixion of Jesus. Why was Christ crucified? Traditional Christianity has given a variety of answers, sometimes declaring that Jesus was a scapegoat for our sins, sometimes saying that “God so love us that he sacrificed himself for us and sometimes accusing Rome or the Jews of spiritual blindness. But none of these answers are truly satisfying for modern day spiritual seekers. We get a glimpse of the meaning Paul placed on the crucifixion of Jesus in the the following well-known passage from Galatians:
    “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20)
    Note a few things. First, it is Paul who is crucified. Second, it is Paul who is crucified with Christ. Third, Paul is transformed, not in his status before God (he still lives “in the flesh”) but rather in his new reliance on faith. Finally, Paul is aware of being loved.
    All these point to one inescapable conclusion: that the path to declaring “Jesus is Lord!” (oneness), the path to a life “in Christ” (flow) and the path to “justification by grace though faith” (expression) is the path of spiritual rebirth and spiritual rebirth only occurs by being crucified with Christ.
    Metaphysical rebirth: crucifixion of error thoughts. Metaphysically, crucifixion is our experience of letting go of error thinking, some cherished aspect our our personality or of our personal life, in order to unfold more of our spiritual potential. Paul writes in his letter to the Romans,
    I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. (12:1-2)

    There is perhaps no other passage in all of Paul's letters where he so clearly reveals his own metaphysical understanding of the sacrifice of Christ. Paul believes we are a living sacrifice, not for the forgiveness of sins, or for martyrdom, but rather for the “renewing of our minds.” Our mind is where we establish our oneness with God by declaring “Jesus is Lord!” Our mind is where we allow the flow of Divine ideas to enter by living “in Christ.” Our mind is where we are justified by grace through works of consciousness of our faith faculty. And, ultimately, our mind is where we are transformed into new life by embracing our crucifixion with Christ.
    See Divine Ideas in Paul's Writings, Bible Interpretation - Acts to Revelation.
    Borg, Marcus. Reading the Bible Again for the First Time (2001). New York: Harper Collins

Preceding Entry: Galatians 1
Following Entry: Galatians 3