Next, Paul testifies that he had a revelation during Worship at the Antioch Church, confirmed with others in Worship, to go to the Jerusalem Church and present the Gospel given to him by the Holy Spirit. The Jerusalem Church leaders will either affirm his ministry to the Gentiles or not. And He knows beforehand that he does not need their approval– and yet the Holy Spirit leads him there. The Jerusalem Church and the Antioch Church will set the Christian stance on circumcision as not necessary for salvation in Jesus Christ.
Paul has latched his home base to the Antioch Church. And then for fourteen years preaches Gospel Truth to Gentiles in Syria, Celicia (1:21), and Asia Minor. It is at the fourteenth year he has the Holy Spirit Revelation to go to Jerusalem to fact-check what the Jerusalem Church knows about him and his ministry to the Gentiles. Paul’s a great example of a righteous person anointed by Holy Spirit for leadership, preaching, and teaching of the Gospel.
Since Paul receives his Revelation during community Worship at Antioch Church (Acts 15:3), a Holy Spirit revelation is confirmed by Holy Spirit speaking the same thing to other men and women believers in Worship or rather a prophetic word is spoken to Paul, and other believers affirm it. Paul refers to revelation as prophetic word out of the assembly of believers in 1 Cor. 14:26, 30.
Peter already knows that Paul is acting as a free-lance apostle to the Gentiles and Paul’s bold reputation for offering Christ is overlapping other apostle’s ministries. This is a good thing. So, Barnabas and Titus go with Paul to the Jerusalem Church. Here we see that Paul simply is obedient to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, without question, yet interestingly enough are the facts that Barnabas is circumcised and Titus is not circumcised. The circumcision debate, about whether or not salvation is truly dependent on a man’s circumcision, will be tackled in Jerusalem (Acts 15:1-5).
Uncircumcised Titus is a Gentile convert of Paul and has a large role as a emissary to Corinth (2 Cor. 2:13, 7:6-7, 13-15, 8:6, 16-24). (We love bold Christian believers– Gentile Titus and Jewish Barnabas.) So it happens! Paul has the small meeting with Jerusalem Church leaders and lays out his Holy Spirit truth, the Gospel which has been given to him by Spirit, he is fact checked by his listeners. While Paul sits to preach, at each of his shoulders stand Titus and Barnabas– our Lord is displaying both circumcised and uncircumcised proof that salvation in Jesus Christ does not depend on circumcision.
Within this rising debate found in the early Church, we note that there is not also an open debate on the inclusion of women in Worship and their ordination (specifically, Paul’s ordination of women leaders in his startup Churches). While the Jewish women had to listen over the wall to the men’s activities, the Christian women were openly included in congregational Worship (though Paul once asks some particular women to quiet down during Worship, since the women sat on one side of the congregation and the men on the other side, and the women were asking questions of their husbands across the aisle. 1 Cor. 14:34).
And there is no prohibition in the early Church for women as to instructing men in their Christian faith (Priscilla, Acts 18:24-28). Three women leaders– pastor Phoebe, apostle Junia, and leader Nympha are mentored by Paul along with the outstanding women leaders in Philippi. In his letters Paul greets many many other women. It is perhaps a lesser known fact that Paul more often uses Maternal imagery rather than Paternal imagery.
The Holy Spirit positions key women pastors in the Churches just as Jesus did and does today.
In Galatians 2:2, the Holy Spirit offers full Gospel through Paul to the small group of leaders in private meeting– the Power of God at work in the world to bring Gentiles and Jews into Christ’s salvation and New Birth with sanctification and security in Christ during persecution. Paul’s presentation is affirmed as true Gospel. And Paul has gained a small victory in that Titus is not required to be circumcised and the Antioch Churches mission to reach the unchurched and Gentiles is supported.
Lastly, in verse 4 where Paul says, “But because of false believers secretly brought in, who slipped in to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might enslave us— we did not submit to them even for a moment, so that the truth of the Gospel might always remain with you.” (v. 4-5) Paul is referring to a sect of Pharisees (Luke in Acts 15:5) (Paul in Acts 23:6, Phil. 3:5) who hold a Gospel which is false (Gal. 1:6-9).
Solidarity within our congregations of believers is through Holy Spirit’s anointed Gospel, like Paul. Our believer’s solidarity for all Christian believers globally connects us as sisters and brothers in Jesus Christ, one in Him.
Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. 2 I went up in response to a Revelation. Then I laid before them (though only in a private meeting with the acknowledged leaders) the Gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure that I was not running, or had not run, in vain. 3 But even Titus, who was with me, was not compelled to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. 4 But because of false believers secretly brought in, who slipped in to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might enslave us— 5 we did not submit to them even for a moment, so that the truth of the Gospel might always remain with you. Galatians 2:1-5