Paul Is Accepted by the Apostles
1Fourteen years later I went up again to Jerusalem. This time I went with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. 2I went because God showed me what he wanted me to do. I told the people there the good news that I preach among those who aren't Jews. But I spoke in private to those who seemed to be leaders. I was afraid that I was running or had run my race for nothing.
3Titus was with me. He was a Greek. But even he was not forced to be circumcised.
4That matter came up because some who pretended to be believers had slipped in among us. They wanted to find out about the freedom we have because we belong to Christ Jesus. They wanted to make us slaves again.
5We didn't give in to them for a moment. We wanted the truth of the good news to remain with you.
6Some people in Jerusalem seemed to be important. It makes no difference to me what they were. God does not judge by what he sees on the outside. Those people added nothing to my message.
7In fact, it was just the opposite. They saw that I had been trusted with the task of preaching the good news just as Peter had been. My task was to preach to the non-Jews. Peter's task was to preach to the Jews. 8God was working through Peter as an apostle to the Jews. He was also working through me as an apostle to the non-Jews.
9James, Peter and John are considered to be pillars in the church. They recognized the special grace that was given to me. So they shook my hand and the hand of Barnabas. They wanted to show they accepted us. They agreed that we should go to the non-Jews. They would go to the Jews. 10They asked only one thing. They wanted us to continue to remember poor people. That was what I really wanted to do anyway.
Paul Opposes Peter
11When Peter came to Antioch, I told him to his face that I was against what he was doing. He was clearly wrong. 12He used to eat with those who weren't Jews. But certain men came from the group that was led by James. When they arrived, Peter began to draw back. He separated himself from the non-Jews. He was afraid of the circumcision group.
13Peter's actions were not honest. The other Jews joined him. Even Barnabas was led down the wrong path.
14I saw what they were doing. It was not in line with the truth of the good news. So I spoke to Peter in front of them all. "You are a Jew," I said. "But you live like one who is not. So why do you force non-Jews to follow Jewish ways?"
God's Grace and Our Faith
15We are Jews by birth. We are not "non-Jewish sinners." 16We know that no one is made right with God by obeying the law. It is by believing in Jesus Christ. So we too have put our faith in Christ Jesus. That is so we can be made right with God by believing in Christ, not by obeying the law. No one can be made right with God by obeying the law.
17We are trying to be made right with God through Christ. But it is clear that we are sinners. So does that mean that Christ causes us to sin? Certainly not! 18Suppose I build again what I had destroyed. Then I prove that I break the Law.
19Because of the law, I died as far as the law is concerned. I died so that I might live for God. 20I have been crucified with Christ. I don't live any longer. Christ lives in me. My faith in the Son of God helps me to live my life in my body. He loved me. He gave himself for me.
21I do not get rid of the grace of God. What if a person could become right with God by obeying the law? Then Christ died for nothing!