Galatians 2v3 “Titus… was not forced to be circumcised.”
I think, if you were reading Galatians for the first time and had no idea what the general point of the whole letter was about, this v3 of Chapter 2 would seem rather strange. So far, Paul has been talking about the gospel, the fact that there is no other gospel, that the gospel he preaches is not man’s gospel, that he received it through a direct revelation from God. Now he’s starting to tell us about his visit to Jerusalem to discuss the gospel with the apostles, and suddenly he feels the need to inform us that some bloke called Titus, who was one of his companions on this trip to Jerusalem, was not forced to be circumcised! What’s that got to do with anything else that he’s been talking about?
Well now Paul’s starting to specifically address some of the content of the false gospel that was being taught in Galatia. They were hearing that, in addition to trusting in Christ for salvation, you need to obey certain rules; specifically, that in order to be right before God, you needed to be circumcised. This becomes clearer in Chapter 5v1-6, which we’ll look at in more detail another time, but for now I’ll just quote v2-3 where Paul says “if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law.”
So the reason Paul mentions the fact that Titus came with him to Jerusalem is to prove to the Galatians that his teaching about the gospel being for everyone, circumcised or not, was not just his own fanciful idea. The apostles in Jerusalem agreed with him on this, and did not force Titus to be circumcised.
Obviously in our situation circumcision is not an issue, but do we ever doubt the gospel of entirely free grace, or do we ever start to think it sounds plausible when someone suggests we should do some sort of good deed to make God pleased with us, as if Christ’s righteousness is not really enough and we should try to top it up with some of our own good stuff?