GOD'S WORD® Translation
1Then 14 years later I went to Jerusalem again with Barnabas. I also took Titus along. 2I went in response to a revelation [from God]. I showed them the way I spread the Good News among people who are not Jewish. I did this in a private meeting with those recognized as important people to see whether all my efforts had been wasted. 3Titus was with me, and although he is Greek, no one forced him to be circumcised. 4False Christians were brought in. They slipped in as spies to learn about the freedom Christ Jesus gives us. They hoped to find a way to control us. 5But we did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the Good News would always be yours. 6Those who were recognized as important people didn't add a single thing to my message. (What sort of people they were makes no difference to me, since God doesn't play favorites.) 7In fact, they saw that I had been entrusted with telling the Good News to people who are not circumcised as Peter had been entrusted to tell it to those who are circumcised. 8The one who made Peter an apostle to Jewish people also made me an apostle to people who are not Jewish. 9James, Cephas, and John (who were recognized as the most important people) acknowledged that God had given me this special gift. So they shook hands with Barnabas and me, agreeing to be our partners. It was understood that we would work among the people who are not Jewish and they would work among Jewish people. 10The only thing they asked us to do was to remember the poor, the very thing which I was eager to do.
11When Cephas came to Antioch, I had to openly oppose him because he was completely wrong. 12He ate with people who were not Jewish until some men James had sent [from Jerusalem] arrived. Then Cephas drew back and would not associate with people who were not Jewish. He was afraid of those who insisted that circumcision was necessary. 13The other Jewish Christians also joined him in this hypocrisy. Even Barnabas was swept along with them. 14But I saw that they were not properly following the truth of the Good News. So I told Cephas in front of everyone, "You're Jewish, but you live like a person who is not Jewish. So how can you insist that people who are not Jewish must live like Jews?"
15We are Jewish by birth, not sinners from other nations. 16Yet, we know that people don't receive God's approval because of their own efforts to live according to a set of standards, but only by believing in Jesus Christ. So we also believed in Jesus Christ in order to receive God's approval by faith in Christ and not because of our own efforts. People won't receive God's approval because of their own efforts to live according to a set of standards. 17If we, the same people who are searching for God's approval in Christ, are still sinners, does that mean that Christ encourages us to sin? That's unthinkable! 18If I rebuild something that I've torn down, I admit that I was wrong to tear it down. 19When I tried to obey the law's standards, those laws killed me. As a result, I live in a relationship with God. I have been crucified with Christ. 20I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live I live by believing in God's Son, who loved me and took the punishment for my sins. 21I don't reject God's kindness. If we receive God's approval by obeying laws, then Christ's death was pointless.