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Galatians  ◦   Chapter 2

1 It wasn't until fourteen years later that I returned to Jerusalem, and this time I took Barnabas and Titus along.2 I went because of what had been revealed to me, and I presented to them the good news that I teach among the Gentiles–God's plan to heal and restore all humanity. But I presented this good news privately to those who were looked upon as leaders, because I was concerned that my efforts to promote the freedom which all humankind experiences in Christ might have been in vain.3 But such was not the case, as Titus, who was with me and Greek by birth, was not required to be circumcised.4 This issue came up because some individuals, pretending to be our brothers in Christ, had snuck in among us to spy on us and criticize the freedom we have in Christ, and attempted to enslave our minds again with meaningless rules and rituals.5 But we were not swayed by them for one second, so don't you waver but cling to the truth of the good news we have presented to you.

6 As for those men and women in leadership whom some consider important (their position doesn't matter to me because God does not judge by earthly, external appearances), they contributed nothing to my message.7 On the contrary, they recognized the truth and power of my message and realized that I had been entrusted with the responsibility of taking this healing message to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews.8For there is only one healing truth and one God–the source of this Remedy. God was working both in Peter’s ministry as an ambassador of God to the Jews, and in mine as his ambassador to the Gentiles.9 James, Peter, and John, those considered pillars, recognized God's graciousness at work in me and accepted me and Barnabas as coworkers with them in distributing God's healing Remedy. They agree that we should take this message to the Gentiles while they focus their energies on enlightening the Jews.10 The only requirement they asked of us was that we remember the needs of the poor, something I was already eagerly doing.

11 But when Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him openly and publicly, because he was clearly wrong, and if not corrected, would cause serious confusion.12 You see, prior to the arrival of certain church leaders from church headquarters — who valued the Jewish traditions — he would socialize and eat with the Gentiles. But when these leaders arrived, he suddenly distanced himself and wouldn’t socialize with the Gentiles for fear of what these leaders — who promoted circumcision — would think.13 The other Jews followed his lead and joined him in this hypocrisy, and there was danger of an artificial class distinction being established, and because of their inconsistent and hypocritical behavior even Barnabas was led astray.

14 When I realized they were not acting in accordance with the truth and the good news about God and his desire to freely heal all humankind, it became necessary to take a public stand, and I said to Peter in front of them all, "You are a Jew, yet you have experienced the freedom that Jesus brought and no longer live under the restrictions of all the Jewish traditions and rituals. Why, then, are you forcing the Gentiles into the bondage of Jewish customs and traditions?

15 "We who were born Jewish–part of God's specially chosen educational team, blessed with the symbolic teaching tools–and not part of the ignorant Gentile world,16 clearly know that a person is set right with God not by rituals, symbols, or keeping to a certain educational script, but simply by trusting Jesus Christ. So we, too, have been won back to trust by the evidence Christ has revealed of God's true character and methods and thus our minds are set right with God by trust in Christ, and not by rituals or adhering to a certain set of rules, because it is not possible to heal the mind and set the heart right with God by behaviorally following a set of rules.

17 "If while we seek to be healed and set right with God, through the truth that Christ has revealed, it becomes obvious that the infection of selfishness has not been eradicated from our hearts, does that mean Christ promotes selfishness? Absolutely not!18 If I stop taking the Remedy and re-infect myself with selfishness, I only prove I am sick and out of harmony with God's law of love and life.19 For through the written law I was diagnosed as terminal so that I might give up trying to cure myself and instead trust God and live for him.20 The old me who lived for self–who sought to get instead of give, the me who lived on the survival-of-the-fittest principle–died when I recognized the true significance of all that Christ has done. That old me no longer lives, but Christ–with his character of self-sacrificing love–now lives in me. The life I now live in this body I live by trust in the Son of God, who loved me and freely gave himself to win me back to trust and to purge humanity from selfishness and death.21 I do not discard God's graciousness, for if healing and restoration could have been achieved from human observance of a set of rules, or if the diagnostic instrument of the law could have healed us, then Christ's death was pointless!"