1 Fourteen years later I went to Jerusalem with Barnabas. I also took along Titus. 2But I went there because God had told me to go, and I explained the good news I had been preaching to the Gentiles. Then I met privately with the ones who seemed to be the most important leaders. I wanted to make sure my work in the past and my future work would not be for nothing.
3Titus went to Jerusalem with me. He was a Greek, but still he wasn't forced to be circumcised. 4We went there because of those who pretended to be followers and had sneaked in among us as spies. They had come to take away the freedom Christ Jesus had given us, and they were trying to make us their slaves. 5But we wanted you to have the true message. This is why we didn't give in to them, not even for a second.
6 Some of them were supposed to be important leaders, but I didn't care who they were. God doesn't have any favorites! None of these so-called special leaders added anything to my message. 7They realized God had sent me with the good news for Gentiles, and he had sent Peter with the same message for Jews. 8God, who had sent Peter on a mission to the Jews, was now using me to preach to the Gentiles.
9James, Peter, and John realized that God had given me the message about his gift of undeserved grace. And these men are supposed to be the backbone of the church. They even gave Barnabas and me a friendly handshake. This was to show that we would work with Gentiles and that they would work with Jews. 10They only asked us to remember the poor, and this was something I had always been eager to do.
Paul Corrects Peter at Antioch
11When Peter came to Antioch, I told him face to face that he was wrong. 12He used to eat with Gentile followers of the Lord, until James sent some Jewish followers. Peter was afraid of the Jews and soon stopped eating with Gentiles. 13He and the others hid their true feelings so well that even Barnabas was fooled. 14But when I saw they were not really obeying the truth that is in the good news, I corrected Peter in front of everyone and said:
Peter, you are a Jew, but you live like a Gentile. So how can you force Gentiles to live like Jews?
15We are Jews by birth and are not sinners like Gentiles. 16 But we know that God accepts only those who have faith in Jesus Christ. No one can please God by simply obeying the Law. So we put our faith in Christ Jesus, and God accepted us because of our faith.
17When we Jews started looking for a way to please God, we discovered that we are sinners too. Does this mean that Christ is the one who makes us sinners? No, it doesn't! 18But if I tear down something and then build it again, I prove that I was wrong at first. 19It was the Law itself that killed me and freed me from its power, so I could live for God.
I have been nailed to the cross with Christ. 20I have died, but Christ lives in me. And I now live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave his life for me. 21I don't turn my back on God's gift of undeserved grace. If we can be acceptable to God by obeying the Law, it was useless for Christ to die.