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Other Apostles Accepted Paul

After 14 years, I went to Jerusalem again, this time with Barnabas. I also took Titus with me. I went because God showed me that I should go. I met with those men who were the leaders of the believers. When we were alone, I told them the Good News that I preach to the non-Jewish people. I did not want my past work and the work I am now doing to be wasted. Titus was with me. But Titus was not forced to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. We talked about this problem because some false brothers had come into our group secretly. They came in like spies to find out about the freedom we have in Christ Jesus. They wanted to make us slaves. But we did not agree with anything those false brothers wanted! We wanted the truth of the Good News to continue for you.

Those men who seemed to be important did not change the Good News that I preach. (It doesn’t matter to me if they were “important” or not. To God all men are the same.) But these leaders saw that God had given me special work, just as he had to Peter. God gave Peter the work of telling the Good News to the Jews. But God gave me the work of telling the Good News to the non-Jewish people. God gave Peter the power to work as an apostle for the Jewish people. But he also gave me the power to work as an apostle for those who are not Jews. James, Peter, and John, who seemed to be the leaders, saw that God had given me this special grace. So they accepted Barnabas and me. They said, “Paul and Barnabas, we agree that you should go to the people who are not Jews. We will go to the Jews.” 10 They asked us to do only one thing—to remember to help the poor. And this was something that I really wanted to do.

Paul Shows That Peter Was Wrong

11 When Peter came to Antioch, I was against him because he was wrong. 12 This is what happened: When Peter first came to Antioch, he ate with the non-Jewish people. But then some Jewish men were sent from James. When they arrived, Peter stopped eating with the non-Jewish people and separated himself from them. He was afraid of the Jews who believe that all non-Jewish people must be circumcised. 13 So Peter was a hypocrite. The other Jewish believers joined with him and were hypocrites, too. Even Barnabas was influenced by what these Jewish believers did. 14 I saw what they did. They were not following the truth of the Good News. So I spoke to Peter in front of them all. I said: “Peter, you are a Jew, but you are not living like a Jew. You are living like the non-Jewish people. So why do you now try to force the non-Jewish people to live like Jews?”

15 We were not born as non-Jewish “sinners,” but we were born as Jews. 16 Yet we know that a person is not made right with God by following the law. No! It is trusting in Jesus Christ that makes a person right with God. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus, that we might be made right with God. And we are right with God because we trusted in Christ—not because we followed the law. For no one can be made right with God by following the law.

17 We Jews came to Christ to be made right with God. So it is clear that we were sinners too. Does this mean that Christ makes us sinners? No! 18 But I would really be wrong to begin teaching again those things of the Law of Moses that I gave up. 19 I stopped living for the law. It was the law that put me to death. I died to the law so that I can now live for God. I was put to death on the cross with Christ. 20 I do not live anymore—it is Christ living in me. I still live in my body, but I live by faith in the Son of God. He loved me and gave himself to save me. 21 This gift is from God, and it is very important to me. If the law could make us right with God, then Christ did not have to die.

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