2:4 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 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Ga 2:4). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
I know that Paul’s journey to the Jewish Council was not a masquerade ball. However, as we read in Galatians 2:4 there are clearly participants in disguise who are working to unravel the truth of the Gospel. Paralleling Acts 15:24, Paul’s engagement at the Jerusalem Council was joined by secretive atttacks against the life and ministry of freedom and the extension of the Gospel to the Gentiles.
It is important to note who these dissenters were – false brothers. Whether translated as “false brothers”, “false apostles”, or “false prophets”, we are observing a group of people who are not really “In Christ”. These unbelievers were contaminating the Council. Perhaps this was for political gain, for religious influence, or other gain, but the fact remains that these unbelievers were attacking the move of God.
It is likely that these critics were of traditional Jewish origin, or Judaizers, and were trying to combat the growing move of “followers of the Way”. In modern times, churches often experience conflict between “false believers” who simply particpate our of tradition and not out of a genuine relationship with Christ. If Christ is in us, His Spirit will guide us; and in theory should guide a church in the same direction with one spirit and for one purpose. This goal of unity of the aim of the church and the bane of the Enemy.