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Galatians 2: 15-21 Corps - 1983 - Part 1

Format: mp3
Publication Date: 10-12-1983

Walter J. Cummins graduated from the Power for Abundant Class in 1962.  

He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Ohio State University in 1968 and his Master of Education degree in Secondary School Administration in 1978 from Wright State University.

He was ordained to the Christian by The Way International in 1968. He has studied at The Way International under Victor Paul Wierwille and K.C.Pillai. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he was director of the Research department of the Way International  and served as assistant to the president. 

Galatians 2:15-21
This confrontation with Peter could have happened before the Jerusalem council in Acts 15:1,2; however the Galatians record indicates the error on Peter’s part, followed the decision of the Jerusalem council and Peter perceived the grace given to Paul (Galatians 2:9) which makes his error remarkable!
When did this confrontation occur? Paul’s next visit to Antioch is recorded in Acts 18:22, 23. This is the beginning of his second itinerary. And this is the next time Paul was at Antioch, when Peter could have been there with him. Paul’s second itinerary takes him through Galatia over to Macedonia and Greece. At that time a gist is recorded in the end of Acts 15, John Mark and Barnabus sail for Cyprus. Paul chose Silas and they departed to Syria and Cilicia.
Where did Paul and Barnabus go on their first itinerary? Acts 13, first Cyprus (Barnabus and John Mark appear to be retracing the first itinerary). By the time Paul and Silas return from their second itinerary, and come back to Antioch (Acts 18:22) could Barnabus and John Mark be back as well? They could have. If so, you would have Paul and Silas, Barnabus and John Mark, as well as Peter at Antioch.
The split between Paul and Barnabus in Acts 15 is not permanent. I Corinthians 9:6 mention Barnabus to the Corinthians. Also, Corinthians was written during Paul’s 3rd itinerary while he was at Ephesus. Galatians was written prior to I Corinthians, because I Corinthians 16:1 mentions Paul’s commandment to the Galatians regarding abundant sharing (Gal 6).
Therefore, Paul’s confrontation with Peter must have taken place in Antioch (Acts 18:22, 23) after which Paul traveled though Galatia and then to Ephesus, where he writes back to the Galatians before writing Corinthians. It is rather remarkable that these 5 men would rendezvous at Antioch at this time.
Shortly afterwards Paul writes Galatia from Ephesus, regarding their doctrinal error. Barnabus could have traveled with Paul to Ephesus and continued on to Corinth. (Now it doesn’t say this in the Word, but we know that by the time he wrote Corinthians they were acquainted with him – I Corinthians 9:6).
I Peter 1:1; 5:12 (Silvanus – Silas) Silas and John Mark are with Peter when he wrote this epistle in Babylon. Peter writes this epistle to the Galatians and the surrounding area regarding Grace, temptations, sufferings for righteousness sake, and he is writing it from Babylon and both Silas and John Mark are with him. If Peter left Jerusalem and came to Antioch in Acts 18, that would be right on the road if he followed the Fertile Crescent which would take him over to Babylon. He would go up to Antioch, and then swing north and east and then finally down to Babylon. If John Mark had returned there, as well as Silas with Paul and Barnabus. Those two (Silas and John Mark) take off with Peter, Barnabus over with Paul. Now you have got them going in different directions and Peter would write this particular epistle.
Now this is the most logical time for Peter, Silas and John Mark to be at Babylon, because just a few years later Paul writes Colossians from Rome (Acts 28). According to Colossians 4:10, John Mark is with Paul at that time. So this couldn’t have taken place a few years earlier. Still later
10-12-83 Galatians 2:15-21
than that Paul writes Timothy. According to II Timothy 4:11, John Mark is with Timothy in Asia. So this seems like the most probable time for Silas and John Mark to be with Peter at Babylon.
Now when Peter writes his second epistle a number of years later, he affirms the epistles of Paul (II Peter 3:15-18). No indication of John Mark being with him when he wrote II Peter. And that is why Acts 18:22 & 23 must be the time following the council that Paul confronted Peter. Peter was reproved and he went on to Babylon. Paul wrote back to the Galatians and at the same time, Peter could have written back to the Galatians in that area regarding suffering for righteousness sake, the temptations you endure because of its problem they had with those that wanted to circumcise everybody. (However this is based on induction, the Word does not say it directly).
James, of course, was the head of the church at Jerusalem. He is the one that made the decision which unified the body after Paul and Peter’s discussion, making reference to Peter going to the Gentiles (Cornelius). Yet, when Peter goes to Antioch and James sends certain people up there, the problem that Peter and Paul and the others had was those men that came from James, who were still zealous for the law. Paul then writes to the Galatians. After Paul leaves Ephesus, he does a few more travels then heads back to Jerusalem. When he gets to Jerusalem in Acts 21 it has that great statement, how many thousands of Judeans which are that believe, and yet they’re still zealous for the law.
James, instead of standing with Paul on the doctrine which they had agreed to before the council, encouraged Paul rather strongly that he ought to do a certain thing in the temple. Now all this is contrary to the doctrine of Grace. Paul going to Jerusalem was an error, but it was James and some of the leadership at Jerusalem that were putting the pressure on him.
Since the leadership failed to stand against those that were still zealous for the law, it cost Paul two years of his life in jail. When he did this thing in the temple he was arrested.
Even though there was a decision made at the council, there was division and respect of persons between the Judeans and Gentiles. Think about how that worked on Paul’s mind. And when you have respect of persons, there is no unity! When he was in jail he wrote Ephesians – Christ in you, there is no respect of persons – one body.
During this time James realizes how much he compromised on the Word. When he wrote his epistle (James 1:8 – a double minded man is unstable in all his ways) what was Peter at Antioch? – double minded. James 2:1-10 refers to respect of persons. In Chapter 3:15-17, James woke up spiritually.
2:15 “by nature” – indicates background, by birth – not Judeans anymore.
“Gentiles” – ame (see last week’s notes)
“sinners” – a label that is put on people that do not walk by the law; put on them by those who keep the law (publicans and sinners) – sarcasm.
In Galatians 2:15 there are two words translated “believing” and “faith”:
10-12-83 Galatians 2:15-21
(Greek) pistis (noun) – believing
pisteo (verb) – to believe
(Aramaic) haimanutha (noun) – believing
haimen (verb) – to believe
They have five distinct usages:
1. Believing – action which appropriates results.
2. Manifestation of believing – your operation of the God given abilities.
3. Fruit of the spirit believing – result of the manifestation of believing.
4. The faith of Jesus Christ – result of one man’s perfect believing – Jesus Christ believed to the uttermost, perfectly. It makes it possible for us to believe to the uttermost.
5. The household of faith – the standard – common to every believer – common faith – family faith.
Galatians 3:22 – usage #4, vs. 23 – usage #4, vs. 24 usage #1, vs. 25 usage #4.
Romans 1:17 – believing to faith – usage #4, shall live by – usage #1. We believe unto it, he had to believe for it.
Ephesians 2:8 – usage #4, Philippians 3:9 – usage #4, II Peter 1:1 – usage #4, Jude 20 – usage #4. Holy faith is our potential to believe perfectly.
Romans 12:3 – We receive the faith of Jesus Christ spiritually when we receive the holy spirit. Today we have the full measure of faith (the faith of Jesus Christ) which gives us unlimited potential!
(literal according to usage)
We are Judeans in background and not labeled ‘sinners’ of a Gentile background.
2:16 “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
Three key points:
1st – The faith of Jesus Christ – we are spiritually justified.
2nd – believe in or unto Jesus Christ (receive by grace).
3rd – Faith of Jesus Christ – tells us what made the faith of Jesus Christ available. It is not the faith of Jesus Christ by the believing of Jesus Christ, it’s the uttermost believing, that perfect believing that made available the faith of Jesus Christ, which we believe unto. He
10-12-83 Galatians 2:15-21
came to do the will of the father – he always did the father’s will. He believed that God would raise him from the dead.
“flesh” – used for the whole person, figure of speech “synecdoche” – part is put for the whole. Justified by the believing of Christ and not of works is an “introverted structure”. It’s a Figure of speech “Shiasmas”, which draws attention to a solemn and important subject.
A) Works
B) Faith of Jesus Christ
C) Believing (figure of speech “Shiasmas” – key section)
B) Believing of Jesus Christ
A) Works
Verses 17 and 18 reflect back to Peter’s hypocrisy (vs. 17 – reflects back to Peter when he ate with the Gentiles, vs. 18 – when he separated himself). They are a parenthesis. They are two general suppositions introduced by the word “if” in both 17 and 18. They digress from the main issue in verse 16 – verse 19 continues the thought in verse 16.
(literal according to usage)
Because we [former Judeans] know that man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, we also believed in Jesus Christ so that we would be justified by the believing of Christ and not by the works of the law. For absolutely no one is justified by the works of the law.
2:17 If ye seek to be justified by grace we would still be called sinners, like what happened to Peter, he let this persuade him.
“by Christ” – as opposed to being justified by the law
“found” – discovered
“sinners” – the label used in verse 15!
(literal according to usage)
(Now, if we, who have sought to be justified by Christ, have been discovered ‘sinners’ [because of our association with the Gentiles], then is Christ in the business of promoting sin? Absolutely not!
2:18 What he (Peter) destroyed was the law. Not literally, but by eating with the Gentiles – no longer a rule for our faith and practice. He declared it null and void by his actions.
“build again” – practicing the law again (that’s what Peter did!)
“make” – exhibit, demonstrate, to show
“transgressor” – on who violates the law (James 2:8-12)
10-12-83 Galatians 2:15-21
“royal law” – given to the Christ administration – King – do well, there is a better law than the royal law – the law of liberty – the law of spirit. Respect of persons – you are a transgressor. Aramaic adds “against the commandments” after the word transgressor.
(literal according to usage)
For, after I have declared the law is no longer essential, if, in practice, I reinstate the observance of the law, then I exhibit myself as a transgressor against the commandments.)
2:19 “I through the law” – by means of the law – Christ fulfilled all. “through the law, to the law, am dead” – Greek literal.
(literal according to usage)
I died to the law by means of the law [which Christ fulfilled] with the result that I would live for God.
2:19 & 20 “live” – used many times – figure of speech “polyptoton” – same word in different inflections here.
2:20 “am” – was, crucified that law (Hebrews 10:1-3, 12-14) once and for all – we were crucified and identified by him. Matthew 15:17, 18; Romans 10:4; Romans 6 – our identification with Christ.
“faith” – believing (that uttermost [perfect] believing of the Son of God). See Galatians 1:4 and Ephesians 5:2.
“loved...for me” – Figure of Speech “hendiadys”; two things said, one thing meant. He lovingly gave himself for me, the “uttermost believing”. We are to live by that!
(literal according to usage)
I was crucified with Christ. So it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. And now the life I live in the body, I live by the perfect believing of the Son of God, who lovingly gave up his life for me.
2:21 “frustrate” – in Aramaic is to deny or refuse. Here, it would be to return to legalism. To deny the Grace of God is to return to the law.
“righteousness” – is the quality and result to being justified. Justification is the whole issue here.
“vain” – freely, comes from the word “gift” – died as a gift – no results.
Paul closes this section on a negative note – just as he opens with “you foolish Galatians” in chapter 3.
(literal according to usage)
I will not deny the divine favor of God [and return to the law]; for if righteousness is by the law, then Christ died for nothing.
10-12-83 Galatians 2:15-21
This concludes the section we started in 1:11. How did Paul receive it? - By the revelation concerning or pertaining to Jesus Christ. In summary:
1:13, 14: His (Paul) time before his conversion
vs. 15-17: He was converted but not near Jerusalem. He went to Arabia and did not see the leaders.
vs. 18-20: short visit.
vs. 21-24: no further contact with merit in Judea.
2:1-10: after 14 years Paul visited Jerusalem by revelation. The council (leadership) affirmed his doctrine concerning Grace.
vs. 11-21: indicates the continuity for the true gospel, in spite of leadership who practiced otherwise.