Full Text for Galatians- Volume 19 - How did the Jerusalem Council compare to other councils? (Video)

No. 19. >> Thank you. And I want to follow up with another question. What happened at Antioch that influenced the meeting in Jerusalem? What were the issues that they discussed? Later in the history of the church, the first Ecumenical Council is held in Nicaea. Is the meeting in Jerusalem similar? Does it have a formal name? >>DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.: This is a very astute question because most people when they read Galatians, especially Chapter 2 verses 4 and 5 do not see that what Paul is talking about there is the church in Antioch and not the church in Galatia. You see, Paul was concerned about what happened in Antioch probably during his first missionary journey. Now, we're going to see that there's an incident in Antioch that comes right after this. This is the confrontation between Peter and Paul. But this is a previous incident that indicates that something is wrong in the Jerusalem church. Now, this is how Paul puts it in Chapter 2 Verse 4 he says: Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus so that they might bring us into slavery, to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment so that the truth of the Gospel might be preserved for you. Now, Paul here is speaking about Antioch. And here comes some of the major themes of Galatians. First of all, we've already seen that circumcision has been referred to in Verse 3. But it is referred to again here. Because the false brothers are compelling circumcision. Now, circumcision is used in Chapter 2, Chapter 5 and Chapter 6. There are more references to circumcision here than in any other of Paul's epistles. And what we're going to see is that at the very end of the epistle you think Paul was finally done with circumcision, he comes back to circumcision because it's a major issue here in Galatia. And it was a major issue in this meeting. These false brothers -- and that's quite a very derogative thing to call them. They are brothers. Namely, they are Christians or claim to be Christians. But they are teaching false doctrine. They are teaching a different Gospel as he says in the first chapter. Notice how he describes them. He describes them as secretly brought in. Slipping in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus. They are not being up front. They are not honest. They are not coming in and saying things openly. But they are going around the corner. They are meeting, huddling in the -- kind of the corners of the synagogue, wherever they are meeting. And they are undermining the Gospel that Paul and Barnabas and the church has affirmed as being the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Now, what it is that they are compromising is freedom. This is a major theme in Paul. And especially in this letter to the Galatians. For freedom Christ has set you free he says in Chapter 5. Freedom is freedom from the law. And what they are trying to do is to bind people again to the law. Now, Paul thinks this is absurd. What Jesus does is he frees us from the law. Why would they want to be bound again in the law? And that's why he talks about freedom here. And slavery. And he talks about how they stood up to them. Now, this may have been Paul personally. Maybe when he got back from his missionary journey to Antioch, they were there. And he stood up against them. But his followers did, too. And in this case they were clear victors in Antioch. They tossed out these false brothers because they did not want to be in submission to them for a moment because -- and this is a very important statement in Verse 5. This is the key to this letter. The truth of the Gospel might remain in us. That expression, the truth of the Gospel, is significant. Now, in the Greek language, those two words are juxtaposed, truth, Gospel. And I want you to think of the truth being the Gospel and the Gospel being the truth. It's not just the truth of the Gospel. I think the best way to translate that is truth that is the Gospel. Or if you want to reverse it, the Gospel, that is the truth. What is true is the free liberating Gospel that Jesus has died for the sins of the world and risen again. And that we don't have to do anything. We cannot cooperate with God. We cannot contribute to our salvation. There are no works that we need to do in order to be saved. Now, this is what Paul is saying here. And he's saying very clearly that this is something that happened in Antioch. He goes on, though. He says -- and here it's interesting if you read the Greek language. And it's somewhat captured in the English. Paul's grammar here completely collapses. It's very difficult to translate this passage because there are no verbs. It's a passage in which you can see Paul who is just an incredible wordsmith loses his way with the Greek. And I think the reason is -- and I think this is what I love about this epistle is that as Paul is dictating this, he is so upset that he loses his sense of grammar. You know how that is, people when they get agitated the words don't come out right. I'm kind of like that now. And that's what's happening with Paul here. So look at what he says now in Verse 6. And from those who seem to be influential, what they were makes no difference to me. God shows no partiality. That's almost in parentheses. He says those I say who seemed influential added nothing to me. Now, here he is going back to his visit to Jerusalem. So verses 4 and 5 is the incident, the first incident in Antioch where false brothers came in and tried to undermine the Gospel. And then in Verse 6 which is really a new sentence here, he talks about the meeting in Jerusalem. And those who seemed to be influential, namely, Peter, James and John. Peter, remember, first among equals. John, son of Zebedee. James, the brother of our Lord. They added nothing to me, they said. They did not add to my Gospel. We laid our Gospel before them and they didn't say: Wait a minute, Paul. You're preaching the wrong Gospel. You have to add something here or you have to change it. They simply accepted what Paul and Barnabas were preaching. And he says I don't care who they are. I don't care if they are Peter. It doesn't make any difference to me. God shows no impartiality when it comes to Verse 5. The truth of the Gospel. When it comes to the truth of the Gospel, there is no one who is going to cause me to compromise for the sake of the truth of the Gospel. And so he makes it very clear that nobody added anything to them. But then in Verse 7, he goes onto talk about what happens in the rest of the chapter.