As Paul begins chapter two of his letter to the Galatians he tells them about his visit to Jerusalem sometime later (Jerusalem Council of Acts 15?). In Galatians 2:1-3 we read, “Then after fourteen years I went up again to 22 freedom for everyoneJerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. … But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek.” The focus issue on this passage is that a Greek, namely Titus, was not coerced by the apostolic leadership in Jerusalem, to be circumcised in spite of the demands from the Judaizers. Titus had to become like them if they wanted to be included in the body of Christ – His Church!

The issue had to be resolved. According to Rushdoony, “The issue had been created by the Pharisees who had come into the church and whose stand with regard to Gentile converts was that entrance into the church required two things, circumcision, and keeping the Law of Moses. This meant that baptism and God’s sovereign grace had been replaced by the requirements of the Pharisees; works had replaced grace, and salvation had been redefined.” They had established a set of rituals, standards, and behaviors based on their own culture that they imposed on everyone regardless of their background.

The Good News of God’s grace is for everybody. The Gospel makes it clear that God “so loves the whole world.” He doesn’t just love you and me! Well, I’m not too sure about you! As ridiculous as this sounds, I’d argue that many of us expect those who want to be part of our group to look a certain way, to groom and dress in accordance with some unwritten standards, or to behave in specific ways, to value similar rituals, or to cherish a particular title. We often cause outsiders, like Titus, to believe they have to conform to our culture if they want to be a part of the kingdom of God. We present the impression that they have to change who they are to belong. Mike Baker concludes his commentary on this passage by saying, “But our spiritual instinct tells us that the kingdom of God is for all mankind and the Scripture confirms it. What does freedom for all really mean?”