Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain. But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in--who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery-- to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)--those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do. -- Galatians 2: 1-10 (ESV)
We begin to see the nature of the false teaching besetting the Galatians take form in Paul's letter as we delve into the second chapter. He is still providing his own apostolic background however. This is not done in a boastful manner but out of necessity. False teaching is insidious and spreads like poison throughout the body of Christ. When entire churches have fallen for a heresy it becomes difficult to get them out. Try having a rational, biblical conversation with a follower of Joseph Prince. It simply is not possible. The same goes for Joel Osteen followers. Or TD Jakes or whoever the cult of personality pastor is. There are far too many people in church today who worship the man of God instead of God Himself. Make no mistake about it beloved; it is still idol worship. Here we see in Galatians the heretics are named for the first time -- the Judaizers. We see the issue at hand -- circumcision. We see the result that the church does not realize and that Paul is trying to teach -- being yoked back into slavery. To connect these dots we must understand that this group of Jewish believers brought into the church at Galatia the notion that circumcision, along with faith in Christ were necessary for salvation.
When we consider this heresy we must first understand why it was so attractive to the believers at Galatia. These were former Jews themselves so they related to the wolves. They were raised under the covenant of circumcision and leaving it must have been very difficult for them. Along comes someone who sounds reasonable on these matters. We must understand that much of false teaching sounds reasonable to us. If God loves me why wouldn't He want me rich? If I am no longer under the law why do I need it at all? What's the big deal if I believe in circumcision? I also believe in saving faith! Except your faith is not saving you if you think you need circumcision too. Paul will expand mightily on these points the deeper we go into this letter. For now, I want us to focus in on this nugget:
Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in--who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus
Not everyone that spells Christ correctly is actually a Christian. I say this because the church today in America is a series of broken off little tribes meeting in their tent while paying lip service to actually being the body of Christ. This is the direct result of the purpose driven church model, which applies carnal business models of growth onto what was supposed to be a supernatural plan. The Bible does not teach us that we water or sow but Rick Warren gets the increase. Only God can get the increase. Jesus tried to teach this when his mother and brother were trying to see Him and He replied who are my mother and brother except he who does the will of my Father.
Yet because of false brothers." Think about that for a moment. In the church at Galatia there were people that were regarded as brothers in Christ but who were secretly false. There were people that attended the services, bowed and "amen"-ed at all the appropriate times and even broke bread with the believers but they were false the whole time. I point this one little verse out because we see this happening with increasing frequency in the church today. People defend wolves because they believe they have gauged their sincerity, or their love for Jesus, or their heart. Beloved we cannot make such foolish judgments. Who is my brother except he who does the will of my Father? Some of the best dressed, well-rehearsed and pillars of pseudo-piety in your church today are actually the most voracious wolves. How come many times no one realizes it? Because they are evaluating them based on their subjective opinions of how well they play church. Are their prayers long -- they must be powerful in prayer. Are they involved in many ministries? They must have a servant's heart. Are they involved in missions, street preaching, or leading small groups -- well they must love Jesus. Beloved; church involvement, especially today within the compromised church, is not indicative of any true spirituality at all. How are we supposed to discern then? Who is my brother except he who does the will of my Father! The will of the Father is only found in the Word of God. The singular unifying factor for the body of Christ is correct doctrine, period. There is no other unity that matters. Why? Because doctrine does not change. It is definitive. It is not subject to our feelings. If you have a brother that serves in five ministries, runs your soup kitchen and is on the intercessory prayer team but believes that God wants us all rich you need to remove him from ministry, the prayer team and the soup kitchen. He is not a good brother -- he is a false brother. I once asked Dr. Michael Brown about Joseph Prince. Brown had written a great book exposing the errors of hyper grace but his answer on Prince was that he was "a good brother with some holes in his theology." No Dr. Brown. He is a false brother whose false doctrine disqualifies him from fellowship.
Just like they were seeing in Galatia. I am sure the Judaizers were well known and maybe even widely popular. I am sure they were front and center for every service and helped out whenever they could. Secretly however, they were spreading their false doctrine throughout the church until everyone was infected. This is how the NAR spreads. Who we unify with matters beloved. I know plenty of Mormons who are nice, likable people but they are wrong theologically. They are not my brother because they do not do the will of my Father. The false prophet who believes in gold dust gemstones, glory clouds and angel feathers is not my brother in Christ. Just because you see them every Sunday does not mean they are sound or are your brother/sister in Christ. Some are false. Galatians 2 continues:
'But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, "If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?"' -- Galatians 2: 11-14 (ESV)