But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. 5 But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you, (2:4-5).
Truth. So many ask the question today. Is truth relative? Can truth really be known? But Jesus clearly answered every question we have about truth.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me,” (John 14:6).
And in His unabashed claim, revealing Himself as the Truth, He also clearly defined the Truth of His Gospel.
Jesus Christ is the Way.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him,” (John 3:16-17).
Jesus Christ is the Truth.
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth… 17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ, (John 1:14, 17).
Jesus Christ is the Life.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:24-25).
And it is the Truth of His Gospel that so many find offensive. Offensive that it is so narrow, so seemingly exclusive, and that it involves a cross. And many try to skirt around, or add to, the message of His Gospel of grace.
But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel… (2:14).
And here, in this second chapter of his letter to the Galatians, Paul takes on the Judaizers as he expounds on the fact that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is undeniably narrow and exclusive; for it has nothing to do with man’s works, it is only about His work on the cross; and that is the Truth of His Gospel.
Consider the Truth of His Gospel
- The Truth of His Gospel: to live like a Jew (meaning, in strict adherence to the Law) is an impossibility, for everyone.
- But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews? (2:14).
- The Truth of His Gospel: no one is justified by the works of the Law.
- “We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles; 16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law… (2:15-16).
- The Truth of His Gospel: it is only faith in the work of Christ Jesus that justifies us before Holy God.
- nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified, (2:16).
- The Truth of His Gospel: when we placed our faith in Christ, we died to the Law and were crucified with Him.
- For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live… (2:19-20).
- The Truth of His Gospel: we are to live by faith in His Life now in us, the Life of the Son Who gave Himself for us.
- …but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me, (2:20).
- The Truth of His Gospel: when we trust in the works of our flesh, we nullify (treat as meaningless) His grace.
- I do not nullify the grace of God… (2:21).
- The Truth of His Gospel: if righteousness could be attained through observing the Law, then He really didn’t need to die.
- …for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly, (2:21).
How do we respond to the Truth of His Gospel?
I never quite get over Paul’s audacious declaration as he recounted his confrontation with Peter, the apostle and pillar of the church.
“But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews? …21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly,” (2:14, 21).
Paul refused to compromise the Truth of His Gospel, no matter who opposed it.
How was he so bold? Perhaps because he never forgot his past; that in his rigid and strict adherence to the teaching of the Law, when he finally came face to face with the risen Savior, he realized how very far away from God he truly was. And the truth is, Paul never got over His amazing grace!
…and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain… (1 Corinthians 15:8-10).
Paul fully understood; he would be desperate for His amazing grace for all of his life; and it would only be by faith through His grace that he would no longer rely on his own virtues or efforts.
Anytime we fall into judging our Christian life through the lens of our own merits or inferiorities, we are seeking to be justified before Him through the works of our flesh.
So how do we come to this place of living by grace, according to the Truth of His Gospel? Perhaps if we, like Paul, would never forget who we were before Christ, and all He has freely given us through His work on the cross, then we too will never get over His amazing grace and grow in our hunger and need for the Truth of His Gospel revealed and taught in His Word.
- Let us continue in His Word that we would know the Truth of His Gospel and be set free to live by faith.
- So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free,” (John 8:31-32).
- As we continue in His Word, let us daily ask the Holy Spirit to open our spiritual ears, that we would be able to hear, believe and live the Truth of His Gospel.
- “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you,” (John 16:13-15).
- Though others may argue, and even hate us, let us refuse to nullify His grace as we rely on the cross. Let us trust that as we come to His Word, by His grace He will grow us and sanctify us, that we may surrender by faith to live the crucified life and be empowered to put the works of our flesh to death, and be enabled to live, not as the world lives, but according to the Truth of His Gospel.
- “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth,” (John 17:14-17).
We need His Word. We desperately need to hear and meditate on His Truth. Every day. Daily, our minds need to be renewed in Truth so that we will grow to understand His perfect way in our sanctification.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect, (Romans 12:2).
The enemy will never stop trying to sneak in and tempt us to rely on the works of our flesh for our justification. But it is by His Word and the power of His Holy Spirit that we will be strengthened in our faith, as we hear our King’s voice testify to the Truth of His Gospel.
Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (John 18:37).