Later still, after an interval of fourteen years, I again went up to Jerusalem in company with Barnabas, taking Titus also with me.
I went up in obedience to a revelation of God’s will; and I explained to them the Good News which I proclaim among the Gentiles. To the leaders of the Church this explanation was made in private, lest by any means I should be running, or should already have run, in vain.
But although my companion Titus was a Greek they did not insist upon even his being circumcised.
Yet there was danger of this through the false brethren secretly introduced into the Church, who had stolen in to spy out the freedom which is ours in Christ Jesus, in order to rob us of it.
But not for an hour did we give way and submit to them; in order that the Good News might continue with you in its integrity.
From those leaders I gained nothing new. Whether they were men of importance or not, matters nothing to me–God recognizes no external distinctions. To me, at any rate, the leaders imparted nothing new.
Indeed, when they saw that I was entrusted with the preaching of the Good News to the gentiles as Peter had been with that to the Jews–
for He who had been at work within Peter with a view to his Apostleship to the Jews had also been at work within me with a view to my Apostleship to the Gentiles–
and when they perceived the mission which was graciously entrusted to me, they (that is to say, James, Peter, and John, who were considered to be the pillars of the Church) welcomed Barnabas and me to their fellowship on the understanding that we were to go to the Gentiles and they to the Jews.
Only they urged that we should remember their poor–a thing which was uppermost in my own mind.
Now when Peter visited Antioch, I remonstrated with him to his face, because he had incurred just censure.
For until certain persons came from James he had been accustomed to eat with Gentiles; but as soon as these persons came, he withdrew and separated himself for fear of the circumcision party.
And along with him the other Jews also concealed their real opinions, so that even barnabas was carried away by their lack of straightforwardness.
As soon as I saw that they were not walking uprightly in the spirit of the Good News, I said to Peter, before them all, “If you, though you are a Jew, live as a Gentile does, and not as a Jew, how can you make the Gentiles follow Jewish customs?
You and I, though we are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners,
know that it is not through obedience to Law that a man can be declared free from guilt, but only through faith in Jesus Christ. We have therefore believed in Christ Jesus, for the purpose of being declared free from guilt, through faith in Christ and not through obedience to Law. For through obedience to Law no human being shall be declared free from guilt.
But if while we are seeking in Christ acquittal from guilt we ourselves are convicted of sin, Christ then encourages us to sin! No, indeed.
Why, if I am now rebuilding that structure of sin which I had demolished, I am thereby constituting myself a transgressor;
for it is by the Law that I have died to the Law, in order that I may live to God.
I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me; and the life which I now live in the body I live through faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up to death on my behalf.
I do not nullify the grace of God; for if acquittal from guilt is obtainable through the Law, then Christ has died in vain.”