1Fourteen years later I returned to Jerusalem with Barnabas. I took Titus along with me. 2I went because of what God had shown me#2:2. Literally, “according to revelation.”. I met with the recognized church leaders there in private and explained to them the good news I was sharing with the foreigners#2:2. Literally, “Gentiles.”. I didn’t want the course I had followed, and what I was working so hard for, to come to nothing. 3But as it turned out, nobody even insisted that Titus who was with me should be circumcised, though he was Greek. 4(That issue only arose because some false Christians slipped in to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus, trying to make us slaves. 5We never gave into them, not even for a moment. We wanted to make sure to keep the truth of the good news unchanged for you.)
6But those considered to be important didn’t add anything#2:6. Or, “made no changes.” to what I said. (It doesn’t concern me what kind of leaders they were, because God doesn’t judge people the way we do.) 7On the contrary, once they realized that I’d been given responsibility to share the good news with the foreigners just as Peter had been given the responsibility to share the good news with the Jews, 8(for the same God#2:8. Literally, “the One.” who worked through Peter as apostle to the Jews also worked through me as apostle to the foreigners), 9and once they recognized the grace that had been given to me, then James, Peter, and John, who bore the responsibility#2:9. Literally, “considered pillars.” of church leadership, shook me and Barnabas by the hand as their fellow-workers. 10We were to work for the foreigners, while they would work for the Jews. Their only instruction was to remember to look after the poor, something I was already very committed to.
11However when Peter came to Antioch I did have to confront him directly, because he was clearly wrong in what he did. 12Before some of James’ friends arrived, Peter used to eat with the foreigners. But when these people came he stopped doing this and stayed away from the foreigners. He was afraid of being criticized by those who insisted that men had to be circumcised. 13As well as Peter, other Jewish Christians became hypocritical too, to the extent that even Barnabas was persuaded to follow their hypocrisy.
14When I realized that they weren’t taking a firm stand for the truth of the good news, I said to Peter in front of everyone, “If you’re a Jew yet live like the foreigners and not like Jews, why are you forcing the foreigners to live like Jews? 15We may be Jews by birth, and not ‘sinners’ like the foreigners, 16but we know that nobody is made right by doing what the law demands—it is only through trusting in Jesus Christ. We have trusted in Christ Jesus so that we could be made right by placing our confidence in Christ, and not through doing what the law says—because nobody is made right by observing the requirements of the law.”
17For if, as we look to be made right in Christ, we ourselves prove to be sinners, does that then mean that Christ is in the service of sin?#2:17. The idea here is that by giving up observance of the Jewish law we then become sinners, and Christ has led us into sin—a concept that Paul strongly rejects. Of course not! 18For if I were to rebuild what I’ve destroyed, then I only demonstrate I’m a law-breaker#2:18. In other words, if I return to the old system of law as the means of being set right with God, all I do is prove that I am in violation of the law as a sinner.. 19For through the law I died to the law in order that I could live for God. 20I’ve been crucified with Christ— so it’s no longer me who lives, but it is Christ living in me. The life I now live in this body, I live by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me, and who gave himself for me. 21How could I dismiss God’s grace? For if we can be made right through keeping the law then Christ died a pointless death!