“Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain. But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. 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. And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.” (Galatians 2:1-10 ESV)
This is a beautiful passage in which Paul is explaining to the Galatians how the gospel was not man-made. It came to him through Jesus—and no one in Jerusalem, after years of preaching, corrected any of his message. His point was that what he had taught the Galatians was not to be undone by some Judaizers coming to town and telling everyone they needed to be circumcised and follow the Law of Moses in order to be saved.
Let me then repeat vv. 4-5 for your enjoyment:
“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.”
There is a profound statement in these verses. We are the gatekeepers of the gospel! When the truth of the gospel is threatened by those false brothers, we must hold the line.
Paul couldn’t allow the beauty of this simple truth—that salvation is for all who call upon Jesus as Lord (no matter the ethnic background, no matter their prior knowledge of the OT Law, no matter how bad or how much the sin in one’s life)—to be muddied by adding to it with mandatory works. He did not yield even for one second, so that the gospel would be preserved.
Each of us, then, has a mandate to preserve the truth of the gospel where we work and where we play. What a glorious mandate, indeed!
Yet the places we work and play are not inherently receptive to our message. The knowledge of the truth of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone has not been grasped in our lands yet, so we must fight to preserve the gospel in our own lives while we fight to make it understood to those we are assigned to love and serve.
Be salt and light. Be free. Love the gospel like Paul did. Preserve it, boast in it, and communicate it clearly that those around you may understand the truth, turn, and be saved!
Greg is the President of OPEN USA. He used his education to work as a tentmaker in the Middle East for 8.5 years seeking to plant a church amongst a least-reached people group. Currently back in the USA with his wife and children, Greg and his family aim to return to finish what the LORD used them to start.
To learn more about B4T, read Business for Transformation by Patrick Lai.