Notes and References

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"The person who can rightly divide Law and Gospel has reason to thank God. He is a true theologian." Martin Luther

Chapter 2

Peter Visits Antioch, Syria
11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.

dissimulation = hupokrisei υποκρισει G5272 hypocrisy

What is the hypocracy? The Jewish Christians treating the Gentile Christians as being inferior, unclean! This has nothing to do with Peter following the law, but has everything to do with his lousy treatment of these Gentiles and leading the others into the same behavior!

Now imagine this. You are a group of believers throwing a potluck at your church for the Apostle Peter, who walked with Jesus, to whom the keys to the Kingdom were given, the foremost apostle. He comes to your gathering, speaks with you, prays with you, and afterward is eating with you. What a glorious day! Then all of a sudden he sees Jews, Christians, from the Apostle James at Jerusalem coming. These men are believers, a welcome sight, right? Peter, Barnabas, and others of the Jews get up from your table, turn their backs on you, and now act like they never knew you. This is what happened. How hurt would you be? Believe me if you were there or your entire congregation, you would have all been treated like this no matter how kind you were, no matter the gifts of the Holy Spirit you manifested, and nothing would change the fact you were not a Jew! Devastating! Some folks would quit altogether. Why should I believe anything now, if I am excluded by Peter?

What is up with James? "When certain men came from James", what power James must have wielded in Jerusalem, that even Peter folded under pressure. Paul made sure to tell us these men were from James.

14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

"The truth of the gospel", meant these Gentiles were holy and righteous by the blood and Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ! Paul has to confront them openly and publicly and I am sure with white hot anger, as a shepherd protecting his sheep from wolves. These men were scorning his Gentiles, his children in the Lord, who were just as holy and pure as they, even more so! And Barnabas, who helped birth these believers into the Lord also walked away! If Paul had a staff I bet he had wanted to use it! Again, this scripture is proof that the Laws of Moses held extreme weight with the Jewish believers even after the council at Jerusalem.

15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 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. 17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.

This sounds confusing but it really is not. The Mosaic Law points out sin. So by keeping the Mosaic Law, and all sin through the Mosaic Law is pointed out, then you are found to be a "sinner". In Christ you are no longer a "sinner", but if you continue in the Mosaic Law and proclaim Christ at the same time, you would be making Christ your minister of sin or a minister of "sinners". Christ is not a minister of sin nor of "sinners". Your faith made you holy and acceptable before God. Christ is a minister of your righteousness, made perfect by Him and through Him, therefore He is the minister of the righteous.

18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.

Paul is talking about abandoning Faith Alone in Jesus Christ for righteousness and going back to depending on Mosaic Law for righteousness, which is impossible. The law cannot make you righteous.

19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. 20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Because Jesus Christ (God) died (crucified), it is now lawful for Paul to be separated from the Mosaic Law and is no longer under the ordinances but is now living by faith in the risen Son of God. Just as when a spouse dies under the marriage covenant, the living spouse is free to marry another, so it is with the covenant of Mosaic Law between God and man. God as a man Jesus Christ died and he did it willingly. He "gave himself" for you.

Romans 7
1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law of Moses,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?
2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

There is the crux of Paul's gospel right here. "if righteousness come by following the Law of Moses then Christ is dead in vain." Following the Laws of Moses cannot make you righteous, justified or sanctified, only faith in Jesus Christ does that.

Paul's letter is written to ensure that Christians hold fast to his gospel which is faith alone in Jesus Christ who brings justification, righteousness, salvation, and everlasting life.