2:1 Then 1 fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with [me] also.
(1) Now he shows how he agrees with the apostles, with whom he grants that he conferred concerning his Gospel which he taught among the Gentiles, fourteen years after his conversion. And they permitted it in such a way, that they did not force his companion Titus to be circumcised, although some tormented themselves in this, who traitorously laid wait against him, but in vain. Neither did they add the least amount that might be to the doctrine which he had preached, but rather they gave to him and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, and acknowledged them as apostles appointed by the Lord to the Gentiles. 2:2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, a in vain.
(a) Unfruitful, for as touching his doctrine, Paul does not doubt it, but because there were certain reports being spread about him, that he was of another opinion than the rest of the apostles were, which thing might have hindered the course of the Gospel. Therefore he labours to remedy this dangerous situation. 2:4 And that because of b false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:
(b) Who by deceit and counterfeit holiness crept in among the faithful. 2:5 To whom we gave place by c subjection, no, not for an hour; that the d truth of the gospel might continue with e you.
(c) By submitting ourselves to them, and betraying our own liberty. 2:7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the f uncircumcision was committed unto me, as [the gospel] of the circumcision [was] unto Peter;
(d) The true and sincere doctrine of the Gospel, which remained safe from being corrupted with any of these mens false doctrines.
(e) Under the Galatians name, he understands all nations.
(f) Among the Gentiles, as Peter had to preach it among the Jews. 2:9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who g seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right h hands of fellowship; that we [should go] unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.
(g) Whom alone and only these men count for pillars of the Church, and whose name they abuse to deceive you. 2:11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the i face, because he was to be blamed.
(h) They gave us their hand to show that we agreed wholly in the doctrine of the Gospel.
(i) Before all men. 2:12 2 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
(2) Another most vehement proof of his apostleship, and also of that doctrine which he had delivered concerning free justification by faith alone. And it was for this doctrine alone that he reprehended Peter at Antioch, who offended in this, in that for the sake of a few Jews who came from Jerusalem, he played the Jew, and offended the Gentiles who had believed. 2:13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was k carried away with their dissimulation.
(k) By example rather than by judgment. 2:14 But when I saw that they walked not l uprightly according to the m truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before [them] all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why n compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
(l) Literally, "with a right foot", which he sets against halting and hypocrisy, which is a backwards state. 2:15 3 We [who are] Jews o by nature, and not p sinners of the Gentiles,
(m) He calls the truth of the Gospel, both the doctrine itself, and also the use of doctrine, which we call the practice.
(n) He says they were forced who lived as Jews by Peters example.
(3) The second part of this epistle, the state of which is this: we are justified by faith in Christ Jesus without the works of the Law. Which thing he propounds in such a way, that first of all he meets with an objection (for I also, he says, am a Jew, that no man may say against me that I am an enemy to the Law), and afterward, he confirms it by the express witness of David. 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith q of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall r no flesh be justified.
(o) Even though we are Jews, yet we preach justification by faith, because we know without any doubt that no man can be justified by the Law.
(p) So the Jews called the Gentiles, because they were strangers to Gods covenant.
(q) In Jesus Christ. 2:17 4 But if, while s we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, [is] therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
(r) No man, and in this word "flesh" there is a great force, by which is meant that the nature of man is utterly corrupt.
(4) Before he goes any further, he meets with the objection which abhorred this doctrine of free justification by faith, because, they say, men are by this means withdrawn from the performing of good works. And in this sort is the objection: if sinners should be justified through Christ by faith without the Law, Christ would approve sinners, and should as it were exhort them to sin by his ministry. Paul answers that this conclusion is false, because Christ destroys sin in the believers: for so, he says, do men flee to Christ through the terror and fear of the Law, that being acquitted from the curse of the Law and justified they may be saved by him. And in addition he together begins in them by little and little that strength and power of his which destroys sin: to the end that this old man being abolished by the power of Christ crucified, Christ may live in them, and they may consecrate themselves to God. Therefore if any man give himself to sin after he has received the Gospel, let him not accuse Christ nor the Gospel, but himself, for he destroys the work of God in himself. 2:19 For I through the law am dead to the t law, that I might live unto God.
(s) He goes from justification to sanctification, which is another benefit we receive from Christ, if we lay hold of him by faith.
2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not u I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the x flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
(t) The Law that terrifies the conscience brings us to Christ, and he alone causes us to indeed die to the Law, because by making us righteous, he takes away from us the terror of conscience. And by sanctifying us, he causes the mortifying of lust in us, so that it cannot take such occasion to sin by the restraint which the Law makes, as it did before; ( Romans 7:10-11 ).
(u) The same that I was before. 2:21 5 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness [come] by the law, then Christ is dead e in vain.
(x) In this mortal body.
(5) The second argument taken from an absurdity: if men may be justified by the Law, then it was not necessary for Christ to die.
(e) For there was no reason why he should do so.