I. Legalism Makes You Defend Yourself

A. The Necessity Of Paul’s Explanation

1. This narrative is a continuation of Paul’s explanation and defense of both his calling by
God and the veracity of his message.
2. Paul had to defend himself against those who tried to undermine his experience with
Jesus, and with the ministry that Jesus had given him.
3. He is writing to the Galatians and explaining how these false teachers operate.
4. He is concerned to alert them, that they might not be fully duped by these legalists.

B. Works Not Added To Paul’s Gospel Vs. 1-3

1. In chapter 1, Paul explained that the Gospel was taught to him by the resurrected Jesus.
2. Paul hadn’t been tutored by the Apostles, but was taught directly by Jesus.
3. Paul was saved for three years and was preaching before he ever went to Jerusalem.
4. At that time, Jerusalem was still the center of the Christian Church.
5. Paul spent fifteen days with Peter, and saw James, the half-brother of Jesus.
6. Paul waited fourteen years before he returned to Jerusalem, and did so because of a
revelation from God. (This is probably the church council meeting in Acts 15)
7. He took Barnabas and Titus, who was an uncircumcised Greek man.
8. He met privately with the recognized church leaders, and told informed them of the
content of the Gospel which he preached.
9. He was open to their correction, in case he had been preaching an incorrect Gospel.
10. The church leaders did not insist that Titus be circumcised.

C. Why Is This Important? Modern Day Application

1. The Judaizers wanted to insist that faith in Jesus was not enough to secure salvation.
2. They insisted that circumcision, an Old Testament Law, was also needed.
3. Titus’ presence there would have challenged that idea and forced a decision to be made.
4. The fact that the Jerusalem church leaders did not enforce that defeated the legalistic idea.
5. What are modern day parallels? You’re not saved unless…

a. You were baptized in a certain way, saying a certain prayer.
b. You speak in tongues.
c. You are an active member of a certain church.
d. There are obvious visible signs of a changed life.
Remember that we don’t see all the changes that God might be doing in a person’s life. We often judge people as unsaved because they still sin in ways that we think ought to have been changed according to our time table and schedule.

II. False Gospels And False Christians

A. An Important Distinction

1. As we consider what Paul calls “false brethren” we need to realize that there is a difference between false brethren and true brethren that have legalistic tendencies.
2. In this passage, we read of Peter, a true Christian and an apostle, acting legalistic.
3. Though he acted legalistic, he was not one of the false brethren.
4. It is important to recognize both classes of people, without feeling we have to come to a final conclusion about every person we might meet regarding this issue.

a. 2 Timothy 2:19 “…the Lord knows those who are His,…”.
b. David Guzik- We don’t always know those who are His. We can know for ourselves, for as Romans 8:16 says, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God”. But with others, we cannot always know those who are His.

B. False Christians Promote Salvation By Works Vs. 4, 5

1. The idea of circumcision being needed for salvation came from false Christians.
2. They claimed to believe the Gospel of justification by faith alone, but then insisted that certain works must be included for salvation.
3. Who came in by stealth- The Greek suggests a gradual infiltration; there from the beginning.
4. Spy out our liberty- “to spy out with a hostile intent; look for weaknesses”.
They looked for ways to undermine the true Gospel. They came with an un-Biblical agenda.
5. Bring us into bondage– to bring into slavery.
6. To whom we did not yield- To yield to men is to stop yielding to God. Salvation by works has its origin in men, not God. NOTE- A false Gospel cannot be forced upon you, but you might be fooled into surrendering to it.
7. That the Gospel might continue with you
Yielding to a works oriented Gospel means that the true Gospel discontinues.

III. Affirming The True Gospel

A. Paul’s Gospel Confirmed By Church Leaders Vs. 6-9

1. The church leaders in Jerusalem added nothing to Paul’s Gospel.
2. Paul wasn’t impressed with them on a human level, but recognized their calling from
God as leaders among Jesus’ church.
3. The church leaders recognized that Paul had as a legitimate calling as did Peter
regarding the preaching of the Gospel.

a. Paul’s Gospel was in accord to their Gospel. Apostolic agreement.
b. This was all in accordance to what Jesus had taught them.
c. This was also all in accordance to what they had witnessed as people heard the Gospel and were changed, as evidenced in the Book of Acts.

4. Paul was called to target the Gentiles, and Peter was called to target the Jews.
5. NOTE- How do we recognize the True Gospel? See #3 above.
6. V. 9- perceived the grace – It was by grace that Paul preached of the Gospel of grace

B. The Gospel Includes Remembering The Poor V. 10

1. Salvation by grace through faith doesn’t negate good works, it inspires them.
2. See Titus 2:11-14

IV. The Intimidation Connected With Legalism

A. Legalism Brings Cultural Peer Pressure And Fear Vs. 11-12

1. Peter was an apostle who understood the Gospel of Jesus Christ, yet he was vulnerable
to religious peer pressure, and gave in to it.
2. Peter normally fellowshipped (ate) with uncircumcised Greek believers.
3. He normally had no religious prejudices or legalistic tendencies.
4. When those with legalistic tendencies arrived, he gave in to peer pressure out of fear.
5. V. 12-Peter responded not in faith or grace, but out of fear.

B. Legalism Produces Hypocrites V. 13

1. Hypocrites- people who put on a show; they don’t show their true self; they perform

C. Legalism Forces People Into Certain Behavior V. 14

1. Compel- to force, to threaten, to make feel obligated