Session Notes

What We Will Learn Today

  1. Paul teaching the Gentiles
  2. Explanation of Why Paul went to Jerusalem
  3. Paul's Severe Condemnation
  4. Luther's Take on "But the Law is Divine & Holy"


  1. Vs. 1 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem
  2. Paul taught that the Gentiles were justified by faith alone, without the works of the law. (Rom 3:28)
    1. Came to Antioch, told the disciples what he had been doing
    2. Those raised in the traditions of the Law rose up against Paul, said that preaching to the Gentiles about liberty from the slavery of the Law was intolerable.
    3. Paul and Barnabas stood strongly against them, explained that the Holy Spirit being given to these (just by hearing the Gospel with faith) was His approved of the faith of the Gentiles – without the law, without circumcision.
    4. The Jews and Pharisees would not accept Paul’s teaching, insisted that the Gentiles needed circumcision in order to be justified before God. Paul fought back vigorously.
    5. Luther: “I do not think this is the same controversy that Luke describes in Acts 15. This one appears to have happened much later, because Paul had already been preaching the Gospel for almost eighteen years.” (AE 26: 79-80)
    6. Luther: “Law of God” is very forceful & impressive...
  3. Vs. 2 – I went up by revelation.
    1. Paul went to Jerusalem because God told him to.
    2. Luther: Paul did it to restrain, or at least to appease, the Jews who were believers but continued to argue about the observance of the Law. (AE 26: 81)
    3. made it clear the Gentiles need not be circumcised in order to be saved
    4. made it clear that he was not going to “run and live in vain”
    5. And I laid before them the Gospel.
    6. Which I preach among the Gentiles
    7. Lest somehow I should be running or had run in vain.
  4. Vs. 3 But even Titus, who was with me, was not compelled to be circumcised, though he was Greek.
    1. words “was not compelled” shows what the outcome of the conference was: Gentiles should not be forced to be circumcised (AE 26: 83)
    2. “. . . the Jews should be permitted to keep circumcision for a time, not as something necessary for righteousness but as an act of reverence toward their fathers and as a concession of charity toward the weak.
    3. Paul did not reject circumcision as damnable or compel the Jews to give it up. (cf. 1 Cor. 7:18) But he did want them to realize that circumcision did not justify the sinner before God. [check with text (ed.)]
    4. Overall (AE 26: 84, ¶2), the case of Jews, the case of Gentiles
    5. Paul allowed anyone who wanted to be circumcised to be circumcised – so long as understood that circumcision
  5. Vss. 4-5 – But because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who slipped in to spy out our freedom which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage – to them we did not yield submission...
    1. Paul explains why he went to up to Jerusalem
    2. Is a true Gospel and a false “gospel”; I was stubborn, refused to yield to the latter
    3. Truth of Gospel is this: that our righteousness comes through faith in Christ alone, without works of the Law
    4. Corruption of “gospel” says that we are justified by faith, but not without works of the law
    5. Luther: am saying all this so that you may recognize that when Paul speaks of “the truth of the Gospel,” he is vehemently attacking the opposite.
  6. Paul is condemning the false apostles for teaching a false gospel (when they require that circumcision be observed.
  7. Paul’s severe condemnation: “They slipped in, to spy out our freedom which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage.”
  8. Someone will say, “But the Law is divine & holy.”
  9. Luther: Fine! Let the Law have its glory. But no Law, no matter if divine, has the right to tell me that I obtain justification & life through it.