The first reading for October 8 is Galatians 2:1-2, 7-14, but we will look at the whole of the chapter. Paul moves to explain the acceptance of the Gospel he preaches by the Church as a whole and he describes his encounter with the Apostolic Council in Jerusalem (described also in Acts 15). Paul does not say he was called to Jerusalem to defend his Gospel (cf. Acts 15:2-3), but that he went in accordance with a revelation (apocalypsis) (2:2). Indeed Paul spends much of chapter two belligerently defending his apostleship and his lack of submission to anyone in the Church at Jerusalem (2:3-9). On the other hand, and this is a key passage, Paul acknowledges that he placed the Gospel that he preaches amongst the Gentiles before the other apostles to make certain he had not or was not running in vain (2:2). Given the divine origin of Paul’s Gospel, as he stated in chapter one, this is an admission that Paul is not a lone wolf working against the Church, but with and for the Church. The Church accepts Paul’s mission and ministry, asking Paul only to be mindful of the poor (2:10). That Acts 15: 23-29 asks for somewhat more than Paul admits to here is a tension that has not been, to my mind, satisfactorily resolved. Paul, acknowledging the support of the apostles and the Church at Jerusalem, nevertheless still has a bone to pick with Peter, not because of his theological stance toward the Gentiles, but because of his personal wavering in maintaining openness to the Gentiles. He accuses Peter of hypocrisy, on the one hand welcoming them and eating with them, but then drawing back from the Gentiles when more rigid Jewish Christians came to Antioch (2:11-14). Paul challenges Peter, saying that he no longer lives like a Jew, so why would he compel Gentiles to do so? At this point, Paul turns from biography to theology. Paul begins to draw a distinction between faith and works, arguing that a person is "justified" through "faith in Jesus Christ" and not "works of the Law." This has been a hot-point issue since the Reformation and remains, even in light of Catholic and Lutheran attempts to bridge the gap, a point of theological contention and disagreement. Tomorrow, I would like to deal with the issue as it has been classically formulated, but it is important to stress that Christians of all sorts accept the necessity of Christ’s sacrifice for our salvation. It is essential for all Christian soteriology. Paul’s argument seems particularly directed at the function of the Mosaic Law in a salvific context, a context which numerous scholars (such as James Dunn and E.P. Sanders) have argued the Law of Moses never did have for Jews; yet Paul believes that any attempt to "add" the Law of Moses to the demands of Christian discipleship speak against the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice. Paul states that " if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing" (2:21). This is Paul’s soteriology boiled down to its essence, but it raises a related question: if Christ is the answer, why did God give the Law of Moses? What was and is its function? Tomorrow we will examine the terms "justification" and "faith and works"; the next day we will begin to unpack Paul’s understanding of the purpose and function of the Law of Moses. John W. Martens