Gal 2:1-5 “Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. 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, in vain. But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: And that because of 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: To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.”
Paul continues to labor with the churches of Galatia concerning those that trouble them (Gal 1:7) with a perverted gospel. After a lengthy time spent establishing the Gentiles in the grace and liberty of Jesus Christ he returned to Jerusalem. In addition to taking Barnabas with him, he also took Titus who was a Gentile.
I take it by this narrative that he went up because it had been disclosed to him that certain of the brethren were seeking to bring the Gentiles under the very bondage that Paul was preaching they were free from. He went and spoke privately to the brethren that were held in high regard at Jerusalem; namely Peter, James, and John (Gal 2:9). He spoke to them plainly about the gospel of salvation, love, and liberty he was preaching among the Gentile churches. He did not go with a lot of noise and bluster, being hasty because of the deceitfulness of some of the Jews.
Paul did not want his visit to Jerusalem to be fruitless (lest he had run in vain). He wanted to bring Titus before the brethren there, he being a minister that was brought up under Paul’s mentorship. He brought Barnabas, I believe, as a witness to his labor and his dedication to the truth of Jesus Christ. After Paul had shared with the faithful brethren at Jerusalem the details of his ministry and the gospel that he was preaching, none of those brethren found it necessary to compel Titus to be circumcised.
Paul tells us that this perversion that would see the Gentiles brought under legal bondage was because of false brethren. These pretenders were smuggled in. They had come, not to glorify God, but to spy on the liberty of Christ that Paul was preaching. They were not interested in the gospel; they only wanted to see the Gentiles made accountable to them.
As ministers of the grace and truth of Jesus Christ, it behooves us to be ready to withstand those that come to make merchandise of our freedom in Jesus. We have been called out of darkness and into light. We have been called into this glorious liberty that was bought with a great price. He has made us free from the law of sin and death. We are free from the bondage of sacrifice that can never take away sin or make those who seek it perfect. Instead, we have the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:2).
Regardless of who might be teaching a gospel of bondage, we need to stand firm in the liberty of Jesus. We should not relinquish one step to those who would see our brothers and sisters in bondage again. We don’t do this to make a name for ourselves lest we share Paul’s concern of having run in vain. It should be purely out of our desire to see the true gospel of Jesus Christ continue with our brothers and sisters.
May we look to Him who is the Truth with the knowledge that the Truth shall make us free!