Paul Accepted by the Other Apostles
1 Next, fourteen years later, I went again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus with us. 2 I went up because it had been revealed by God that I should do so. I laid before them — but at a private interview with the men of repute — the gospel which I am accustomed to preach to the Gentiles, to make sure that the race I had run, and was running, should not be run in vain. 3 Yet even my companion Titus, Greek though he is, was not compelled to be circumcised. 4 That course was urged only as a concession to certain sham-Christians, interlopers who had stolen in to spy upon the liberty we enjoy in the fellowship of Christ Jesus. 5 These men wanted to bring us into bondage, but not for one moment did I yield to their dictation; I was determined that the full truth of the Gospel should be maintained for you.
6 But as for the men of high reputation (not that their importance matters to me: God does not recognize these personal distinctions) these men of repute, I say, did not prolong the consultation, 7 but on the contrary acknowledged that I had been entrusted with the Gospel for Gentiles as surely as Peter had been entrusted with the Gospel for Jews. 8 For God whose action made Peter an apostle to the Jews, also made me an apostle to the Gentiles.
9 Recognizing, then, the favour thus bestowed upon me, those reputed pillars of our society, James, Cephas, and John, accepted Barnabas and myself as partners, and shook hands upon it, agreeing that we should go to the Gentiles while they went to the Jews. 10 All they asked was that we should keep their poor in mind, which was the very thing I made it my business to do.
11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. 12 For until certain persons came from James he was taking his meals with gentile Christians; but when they came he drew back and began to hold aloof, because he was afraid of the advocates of circumcision. 13 The other Jewish Christians showed the same lack of principle; even Barnabas was carried away and played false like the rest. 14 But when I saw that their conduct did not square with the truth of the Gospel, I said to Cephas, before the whole congregation, 'If you, a Jew born and bred, live like a Gentile, and not like a Jew, how can you insist that Gentiles must live like Jews?'
Jews, like Gentiles, are Saved by Faith
15 We ourselves are Jews by birth, not Gentiles and sinners. 16 [ Ps.143.2. ] But we know that no man is ever justified by doing what the law demands, but only through faith in Christ Jesus; so we too have put our faith in Jesus Christ, in order that we might be justified through this faith, and not through deeds dictated by law; for by such deeds, Scripture says, no mortal man shall be justified.
17 If now, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves no less than the Gentiles turn out to be sinners against the law, does that mean that Christ is an is abettor of sin? No, never! 18 No, if I start building up again a system which I have pulled down, then it is that I show myself up as a transgressor of the law. 19 For through the law I died to law to live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ: the life I now live is not my life, but the life which Christ lives in me; and my present bodily life is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and sacrificed himself for me. 21 I will not nullify the grace of God; if righteousness comes by law, then Christ died for nothing.
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