The other special workers accept Paul
1 Then, 14 years later, I went to Jerusalem again. This time I went with Barnabas, and I took Titus with me also. 2 I went because God had shown me that I should go. I explained to the Christian leaders there the good news that I teach to the Gentiles. But I explained it only to those men who seemed to be the leaders. I wanted them to understand the message that I was teaching. I wanted them to agree that it was right. I was afraid that perhaps they might not agree. I was afraid that my work, both in past times and now, was not really worth anything. 3 Titus was with me then, and he is from the country called Greece. But the leaders at Jerusalem did not tell me that anyone should circumcise Titus. 4 But some men, who had come into our meeting secretly, did want to circumcise Titus. Those men said that they were believers. But they were not really believers. They had come only to find out what we believe. They wanted to know how free we are from the Jews' rules because we are united to Christ. They wanted to make us slaves to those rules. 5 But we did not agree with what those men were saying, not even for a moment. We wanted you to continue believing the true good news.
2:3Titus was not a Jew, and nobody had ever circumcised him.
6 Those people who seemed to be the leaders did not argue with me. It does not matter to me whether they were really important people or not. God does not look at what people seem to be on the outside. Those leaders did not say that I should teach anything more in my message. 7 No, instead they saw that God had given a special job to me, as he had to Peter. God wanted me to tell the good news about Christ to the Gentiles. And he had told Peter to tell the good news to the Jews. 8 God worked in Peter to make him a special teacher to the Jews. And God worked also in me to make me a special teacher to the Gentiles.
9 James, Peter and John, the important leaders in Jerusalem, understood that God had given this special job to me. So, they were happy to be friends with Barnabas and me, because all of us were Christ's special workers. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles. And they themselves would go to the Jews. 10 The only thing that they asked us to remember was this: They wanted us to remember to help the poor people. And that was the same thing that I myself wanted very much to do.
Paul is angry with Peter at Antioch
11 But when Peter came to Antioch, I was angry with him. I stood in front of him. ‘You are doing something that is wrong,’ I said to him. 12 Before certain men had arrived at Antioch, Peter had been eating meals with the Gentile believers there. Then James sent some Jews from Jerusalem to Antioch. And after those men had arrived, Peter started to keep himself separate from the Gentiles. He stopped eating meals with them, because he was afraid. He was afraid of those Jews, who wanted to circumcise all the Gentiles. 13 All the other Jews at Antioch who were believers were afraid also. So, they did the same as Peter had done. They became hypocrites like him. Even Barnabas copied their example.
14 But they were not doing what is really right. And I saw that it was not right. They were not obeying the true message that is the good news. Then I spoke to Peter in front of all of them. ‘You are a Jew, but you have been living like a Gentile, and not like a Jew,’ I said. ‘So you should not try to make Gentiles obey the same rules as the Jews.’
15 We were born Jewish people. We are not Gentiles who do not obey our Jewish rules. 16 But we know that those rules cannot make anyone right with God. A person only becomes right with God when that person really believes Jesus Christ. So we, too, have become believers in Christ Jesus so that we could be right with God. God accepts us as right with himself because we believe Christ. He does not accept us because we obey the Jews' rules. Nobody becomes right with God only because they obey the Jews' rules.
17 So then, we Jews become right with God when we believe in Christ. That means that we no longer obey all the Jewish rules. But that does not mean that Christ causes us to do wrong things. Certainly, it does not mean that! 18 But if I tried to obey all those rules again, then I would really be doing a wrong thing. I would be building again something that I had destroyed. It would show that I could not obey all those rules. 19 But, as a result of those rules, I have died to those rules. I died to them, so that now I can live for God. 20 Christ died on the cross, and I have died with him. I do not live any more, but Christ lives in me. The life that I live now, in my body, I live by the Son of God. I live because the Son of God causes me to believe him. He loves me and he gave himself on my behalf. 21 God has done so very much on our behalf because he is so very, very kind. And I refuse to say that God has done less than he has really done. If the Jews' rules could have made me right with God, then Christ died for no reason!
2:19God gave his rules to the Jews to help them to live as his own special people. But the Jews could never completely obey all those rules. Those rules could never make them completely right with God. As a result of those rules, it became clear that people needed another way to become right with God. That other way is Christ. So, we could say that Christ died on our behalf as a result of the Jews' rules.