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Chapter 2

1Then, fourteen years later, I went up to Jerusalem again, with Barnabas, and took Titus also with me. 2It was in obedience to a revelation that I went. I laid before them the good news that I preach to the heathen, presenting it privately to the leaders, for fear my efforts might be or might have been futile. 3But they did not insist that even my companion Titus, although he was a Greek, should be circumcised, 4to gratify the false brothers who had been smuggled in, who sneaked in to spy upon the freedom we enjoy in Christ Jesus, so as to reduce us to slavery again. 5But we did not submit to them for a moment, in order that the truth of the good news might remain yours. 6Those who were regarded as the leaders—what they once were makes no difference to me; God takes no account of external differences—the leaders contributed nothing new to me. 7On the contrary, when they saw that I had been intrusted with the good news for the heathen, just as Peter had been intrusted with it for the Jews— 8for he who actuated Peter to be an apostle to the Jews also actuated me to be one to the heathen— 9and when they recognized the favor God had shown me, James, Cephas, and John, who were regarded as pillars of the church, pledged Barnabas and me their co-operation, with the understanding that we should work among the heathen and they among the Jews. 10Only, we were to remember the poor, and that I have taken pains to do. 11But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, for his own conduct condemned him. 12For until some people came from James, he used to eat with the heathen, but after they came, he began to draw back and hold aloof, for fear of the party of circumcision. 13The other Jewish Christians followed his example in concealing their real views, so that even Barnabas was carried away by their pose. 14But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the good news, I said to Cephas, right before them all, “If you live like a heathen, and not like a Jew, though you are a Jew yourself, why should you try to make the heathen live like Jews?”

15We who are Jews by birth, and not sinful heathen, 16but who know that a man is not made upright by doing what the Law commands, but by faith in Christ Jesus—even we believed in Christ Jesus, so as to be made upright by faith in Christ and not by doing what the Law commands—for by doing what the Law commands no one can be made upright. 17If through our efforts to be made upright through Christ, we have ourselves been proved as much “sinners” as the heathen, does that make Christ encourage sin? By no means. 18I really convict myself of wrongdoing when I start to rebuild what I tore down. 19For it is through the Law that I have become dead to the Law, so that I may live for God. 20I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me. The life I am now living in the body I am living by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. 21I refuse to nullify the mercy of God. For if uprightness could be secured through law, then Christ died for nothing!

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