The Other Apostles Accepted Paul
1After 14 years I went back to Jerusalem with Barnabas and took Titus with me. 2I went there because God showed me that I should go. I explained to them the message that I tell the non-Jewish people. I also met alone with those who were considered to be the leaders. I wanted to be sure we were in agreement so that my past work and the work I do now would not be wasted.
3Titus, who was with me, is a Greek. But these leaders still did not force him to be circumcised. 4We needed to talk about these problems, because some who pretended to be our brothers had come into our group secretly. They came in like spies to find out about the freedom we have in Christ Jesus. They wanted to make us slaves, 5but we did not agree with anything those false brothers wanted. We wanted the truth of the Good News to continue for you.
6Those men who were considered to be important did not change the Good News message I tell people. (It doesn’t matter to me if they were “important” or not. To God everyone is the same.) 7But these leaders saw that God had given me a special work, the same as Peter. God gave Peter the work of telling the Good News to the Jews. But God gave me the work of telling the Good News to the non-Jewish people. 8God gave Peter the power to work as an apostle for the Jewish people. God gave me the power to work as an apostle too, but for those who are not Jews. 9James, Peter, and John seemed to be the leaders. And they saw that God had given me this special gift of ministry, so they accepted Barnabas and me. They said to us, “We agree that you should go to those who are not Jews, and we will go to the Jews.” 10They asked us to do only one thing—to remember to help those who are poor. And this was something that I really wanted to do.
Paul Shows That Peter Was Wrong
11When Peter came to Antioch, he did something that was not right. I stood against him, because he was wrong. 12This is what happened: When Peter first came to Antioch, he ate and associated with the non-Jewish people. But when some Jewish men came from James, Peter separated himself from the non-Jews. He stopped eating with them, because he was afraid of the Jews who believe that all non-Jewish people must be circumcised. 13So Peter was a hypocrite. The other Jewish believers joined with him, so they were hypocrites too. Even Barnabas was influenced by what these Jewish believers did. 14They were not following the truth of the Good News. When I saw this, I spoke to Peter in front of everyone. I said, “Peter, you are a Jew, but you don’t live like one. You live like someone who is not a Jew. So why are you trying to force those who are not Jewish to live like Jews?”
15We are Jews by birth. We were not born “sinners,” as we call those who are not Jews. 16But we know that no one is made right with God by following the law. It is trusting in#2:16 trusting in Or “the faithfulness of.” Jesus Christ that makes a person right with God. So we have put our faith in Christ Jesus, because we wanted to be made right with God. And we are right with him because we trusted in#2:16 because we trusted in Or “through the faithfulness of.” Christ—not because we followed the law. I can say this because no one can be made right with God by following the law.
17We Jews came to Christ to be made right with God, so it is clear that we were sinners too. Does this mean that Christ makes us sinners? Of course not. 18But I would be wrong to begin teaching again those things that I gave up. 19It was the law itself that caused me to end my life under the law. I died to the law so that I could live for God. I have been nailed to the cross with Christ. 20So I am not the one living now—it is Christ living in me. I still live in my body, but I live by faith in#2:20 faith in Or “the faithfulness of.” the Son of God. He is the one who loved me and gave himself to save me. 21I am not the one destroying the meaning of God’s grace. If following the law is how people are made right with God, then Christ did not have to die.