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Quits Sabio
Elder at Sovereign Mercy Evangelical Church Inc. and President of Reformed Exegetes Society
User since 2013
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Lead others to the truth of the gospel not just with propositions but also with our actions.
Galatians 2:11-14
What are you hoping for?
Psalm 42:11
No other gospel that brings glory to God than the gospel of grace that transforms its messenger
Galatians 1:18-24
If you want to please God, seek what pleases Him, namely the preaching of Christ
Galatians 1:11-17
Want some peace of mind? So Pray!
Philippians 4:6-7
What brings understanding, our thinking or God's granting?
2 Timothy 2:7
What it means to be a slave of Christ?
Galatians 1:10
To desert from the Gospel is to desert away from God
Galatians 1:6-9
Seek God's approval and not the approval of men
Galatians 1:1-5
God gets more glory when more people rely on Him for contentment in times of need.
Philippians 4:10-20
Standing Firm in the Lord demonstrates itself in unity, peacekeeping, rejoicing in the Lord always and forbearance toward one another
Philippians 4:1-9
Resurrection is a means to lay hold of the prize who is Christ Jesus so strive to attain it since He already laid hold of you
Philippians 3:12-21
Jesus came into the world to exegete the Father
John 1:1-18
God is more glorified in us when we enjoy him than when we fear him
Luke 2:8-20
The supremacy of the worth of Christ outweighs all things, and that includes all human boastings!
Philippians 3:1-11
Risking for Jesus will yield greater returns
Philippians 2:25-30
Seeking the interest of Christ is seeking the interest of others above one's own
Philippians 2:19-24
What is the secret to a grumble free life and happy pastors?
Philippians 2:14-16
God is not wasting our suffering,  we shouldn't also
Philippians 1:12-18
How to work out your own Salvation?
Philippians 2:12-18
Motivations for Obedience
Philippians 2:12-13
Christ Emptied himself by Adding
Philippians 2:6-7
Christian unity delights itself in the interest of others
Philippians 2:1-5
To Know Christ is to have the will of the Father
John 7:17-18
Find your Joy in God in the joy of your leaders and the flock
Hebrews 13:17
The Law does not negate the Promise, it's the restatement of the Promise
Galatians 3:15-18
The Church Abides to Chirst so should Wives to their Husbands. Christ never forsake His Church, so should Husbands to their Wives
Ephesians 5:22-33
Herald the word even if your life is at stake
2 Timothy 4:2
Any talk of gender roles and equality must be grounded on creation.
1 Corinthians 11:7-12
There is Joy in praying for the sanctification of our brethren!
Philippians 1:3-11
Since God is righteous, God must elect according to his own freedom
Romans 9:14-18
view all (32 total)
One Gospel
Galatians 2:1-10
How important that there is only one gospel?
#galatians
#Paul
#Gospel
Published March 10th, 2019; Updated March 11th, 2019
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Main point summary
Bracket
Exegesis
Outline of 2:1-14
Introduction
Exposition
Application
notes
Main point summary
Paul's apostleship was confirmed by the pillars, nevertheless he rebuked one of them, namely Peter, when he did not live according to the gospel that he was proclaiming. Not only that, this also shows that there is only one gospel.
Bracket
NT
Galatians 2:1-14
nasb
na28
net
esv
mine
Then after an interval of fourteen years
Ἔπειτα διὰ δεκατεσσάρων ἐτῶν
Then after fourteen years
Then after fourteen years
Then after [a span of] fourteen years
I a went up again to Jerusalem with b Barnabas, taking c Titus along also.
πάλιν ἀνέβην εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα μετὰ Βαρναβᾶ συμπαραλαβὼν καὶ Τίτον•
I went up to Jerusalem 1 again with Barnabas, taking Titus along too.
I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me.
I went up to Jerusalem again with Barnabas, taking Titus along too.
1 It was because of a a revelation that I went up;
ἀνέβην δὲ
I went there 2
I went up because of a revelation
I went there
κατὰ ἀποκάλυψιν•
because of 3 a revelation
because of a revelation
ground
and I submitted to them the b gospel
καὶ ἀνεθέμην αὐτοῖς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον
and presented 4 to them the gospel
and set before them
and [so] presented to them the gospel
which I preach among the Gentiles,
ὃ κηρύσσω ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν,
that I preach among the Gentiles.
(though privately before those l who seemed influential) the gospel
that I preach among the Gentiles.
ideaexplanation
but I did so in private to those who were of reputation,
κατʼ ἰδίαν δὲ τοῖς δοκοῦσιν,
But I did so 5 only in a private meeting with the influential people, 6
that m I proclaim among the Gentiles,
But I did so only in a private meeting with the prominent people,
for fear that I might be c running, or had run, in vain.
μή πως εἰς κενὸν τρέχω ἢ ἔδραμον.
to make sure that I was not running - or had not run 7 - in vain.
n in order to make sure I was not running or had not o run in vain.
to make sure that I was not running or had not run in vain.
concessive
But not even a Titus, who was with me, though he was a Greek, was b compelled to be circumcised.
ἀλλʼ οὐδὲ Τίτος ὁ σὺν ἐμοί, Ἕλλην ὤν,
Yet 8 not even Titus, who was with me, although being Greek,
But even Titus, who was with me, p was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek.
Yet, even Titus, who was with me, although being Greek
ἠναγκάσθη περιτμηθῆναι•
was [not] compelled to be circumcised.
was [not] compelled to be circumcised.
But it was because of the a false brethren secretly brought in,
διὰ δὲ τοὺς παρεισάκτους ψευδαδέλφους,
Now this matter arose 9 because of the false brothers with false pretenses 10
q Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—
[Now this matter arose] because of the false brothers with false pretenses
who b had sneaked in to spy out our c liberty
οἵτινες παρεισῆλθον
who slipped in unnoticed
who r slipped in to spy out s our freedom
who slipped in unnoticed
κατασκοπῆσαι τὴν ἐλευθερίαν ἡμῶν
to spy on 11 our freedom
[in order] to spy on our freedom
which we have in Christ Jesus,
ἣν ἔχομεν ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ,
that we have in Christ Jesus,
that we have in Christ Jesus,
that we have in Christ Jesus,
in order to d bring us into bondage.
ἵνα ἡμᾶς καταδουλώσουσιν,
to make us slaves. 12
t so that they might bring us into slavery—
[in order] to make us slaves.
actionpurpose
But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour,
οἷς οὐδὲ πρὸς ὥραν εἴξαμεν τῇ ὑποταγῇ,
But 13 we did not surrender to them 14 even for a moment, 15
to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment,
But [as a response] we did not surrender to them even for a moment,
so that a the truth of the gospel would remain with you.
ἵνα ἡ ἀλήθεια τοῦ εὐαγγελίου διαμείνῃ πρὸς ὑμᾶς.
in order that the truth of the gospel would remain with you. 16
so that u the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.
in order that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.
situationresponse
But from those who 1 were of high a reputation
Ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν δοκούντων εἶναί τι,
But from those who were influential 17
And from those v who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; w God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential x added nothing to me.
But from those who were prominent
(what they were makes no difference to me;
- ὁποῖοί ποτε ἦσαν οὐδέν μοι διαφέρει•
(whatever they were makes no difference to me;
(whatever they were makes no difference to me,
b God 2 shows no partiality)—
πρόσωπον [ὁ] θεὸς ἀνθρώπου οὐ λαμβάνει -
God shows no favoritism between people 18 ) -
[for] God shows no partiality between people)
well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me.
ἐμοὶ γὰρ οἱ δοκοῦντες οὐδὲν προσανέθεντο,
those influential leaders 19 added 20 nothing to my message. 21
those prominent leaders added nothing to my message.
Segue
distinct
Seg
But on the contrary, seeing that I had been a entrusted with the b gospel 1 to the uncircumcised,
ἀλλὰ τοὐναντίον ἰδόντες ὅτι πεπίστευμαι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς ἀκροβυστίας
On the contrary, when they saw 22 that I was entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised 23
On the contrary, when they saw that I had been y entrusted with z the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised
On the contrary, when they saw that I was entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised
just as c Peter had been 2 to the circumcised
καθὼς Πέτρος τῆς περιτομῆς,
just as Peter was to the circumcised 24
just a Peter was to the circumcised
comparison
(for He who effectually worked for Peter in his a apostleship 1 to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the Gentiles),
ὁ γὰρ ἐνεργήσας Πέτρῳ εἰς ἀποστολὴν τῆς περιτομῆς ἐνήργησεν καὶ ἐμοὶ εἰς τὰ ἔθνη,
(for he who empowered 25 Peter for his apostleship 26 to the circumcised 27 also empowered me for my apostleship to the Gentiles) 28
(for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles),
(for he who empowered Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised also empowered me for my apostolic ministry to the Gentiles
and recognizing a the grace that had been given to me, 1 b James and c Cephas and John, who were d reputed to be e pillars,
καὶ γνόντες τὴν χάριν τὴν δοθεῖσάν μοι, Ἰάκωβος καὶ Κηφᾶς καὶ Ἰωάννης, οἱ δοκοῦντες στῦλοι εἶναι,
and when James, Cephas, 29 and John, who had a reputation as 30 pillars, 31 recognized 32 the grace that had been given to me,
and when James and Cephas and John, v who seemed to be a pillars, perceived the b grace that was given to me,
and when James, Cephas, and John, who had a reputation as pillars recognized the grace that had been given to me,
series
gave to me and f Barnabas the g right 2 hand of fellowship,
δεξιὰς ἔδωκαν ἐμοὶ καὶ Βαρναβᾷ κοινωνίας,
they gave to Barnabas and me 33 the right hand of fellowship,
they c gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.
[therefore] they gave to Barnabas and me the right hand of fellowship,
so that we might h go to the Gentiles
ἵνα ἡμεῖς εἰς τὰ ἔθνη,
agreeing 34 that we would go to the Gentiles
[as a result of agreeing] that we would go to the Gentiles
and they to the circumcised.
αὐτοὶ δὲ εἰς τὴν περιτομήν•
and they to the circumcised. 35
and they to the circumcised.
alternative
They only asked us to remember the poor—
μόνον τῶν πτωχῶν ἵνα μνημονεύωμεν,
They requested 36 only that we remember the poor,
Only, they asked us to remember the poor,
They requested only that we remember the poor,
a the very thing I also was eager to do.
ὃ καὶ ἐσπούδασα αὐτὸ τοῦτο ποιῆσαι.
the very thing I also was eager to do.
d the very thing I was eager to do.
[which is] the very thing I also was eager to do.
actionresult
inference
negativepositive
But when a Cephas came to b Antioch,
Ὅτε δὲ ἦλθεν Κηφᾶς εἰς Ἀντιόχειαν,
But when Cephas 37 came to Antioch, 38
But e when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him f to his face, because he stood condemned.
But when Cephas came to Antioch,
I opposed him to his face,
κατὰ πρόσωπον αὐτῷ ἀντέστην,
I opposed him to his face,
I opposed him to his face,
because he 1 stood condemned.
ὅτι κατεγνωσμένος ἦν.
because he had clearly done wrong. 39
because he had clearly done wrong.
For prior to the coming of certain men from 1 a James,
πρὸ τοῦ γὰρ ἐλθεῖν τινας ἀπὸ Ἰακώβου
Until 40 certain people came from James,
For before certain men came from James, g he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing h the circumcision party. 1
[That is, before] certain people came from James,
he used to b eat with the Gentiles;
μετὰ τῶν ἐθνῶν συνήσθιεν•
he had been eating with the Gentiles.
he had been eating with the Gentiles.
temporal
but when they came,
ὅτε δὲ ἦλθον,
But when they arrived,
and when they arrived,
he began to withdraw
ὑπέστελλεν
he stopped doing this 41
he stopped doing this
and hold himself aloof,
καὶ ἀφώριζεν ἑαυτὸν
and separated himself 42
and separated himself
progression
c fearing 2 the party of the circumcision.
φοβούμενος τοὺς ἐκ περιτομῆς.
because he was afraid of those who were pro-circumcision. 43
because he was afraid of those who were pro-circumcision.
The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy,
καὶ συνυπεκρίθησαν αὐτῷ [καὶ] οἱ λοιποὶ Ἰουδαῖοι,
And the rest of the Jews also joined with him in this hypocrisy,
And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.
Then the rest of the Jews also joined with him in this hypocrisy,
with the result that even a Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy.
ὥστε καὶ Βαρναβᾶς συναπήχθη αὐτῶν τῇ ὑποκρίσει.
so that even Barnabas was led astray with them 44 by their hypocrisy.
[as a result] even Barnabas was led astray with them by their hypocrisy.
But when I saw
ἀλλʼ ὅτε εἶδον
But when I saw
But when I saw that their i conduct was not in step with j the truth of the gospel,
But [as a response] when I saw
that they a were not 1 straightforward about b the truth of the gospel,
ὅτι οὐκ ὀρθοποδοῦσιν πρὸς τὴν ἀλήθειαν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου,
that they were not behaving consistently with the truth of the gospel,
that they were not behaving consistently with the truth of the gospel,
I said to c Cephas in the presence of all,
εἶπον τῷ Κηφᾷ ἔμπροσθεν πάντων•
I said to Cephas 45 in front of them all,
I said to Cephas k before them all,
I said to Cephas in front of them all,
“If you, being a Jew, d live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews? 2
εἰ σὺ Ἰουδαῖος ὑπάρχων ἐθνικῶς καὶ οὐχὶ Ἰουδαϊκῶς ζῇς,
“If you, although you are a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you try to force 46 the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
“If you, though a Jew, l live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
"If you, although you are a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew,
πῶς τὰ ἔθνη ἀναγκάζεις ἰουδαΐζειν;
[then] how can you try to force the Gentiles to live like Jews?"
conditional
na28
discourse
Exegesis
Then after [a span of] fourteen years I went up to Jerusalem again with Barnabas, taking Titus along too. I went there because of a revelation and [so] presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. But I did so only in a private meeting with the prominent people, to make sure that I was not running or had not run in vain. Yet, even Titus, who was with me, although being Greek was [not] compelled to be circumcised. [Now this matter arose] because of the false brothers with false pretenses who slipped in unnoticed [in order] to spy on our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, [in order] to make us slaves. But [as a response] we did not surrender to them even for a moment, in order that the truth of the gospel would remain with you. But from those who were prominent (whatever they were makes no difference to me, [for] God shows no partiality between people) those prominent leaders added nothing to my message. On the contrary, when they saw that I was entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised just a Peter was to the circumcised (for he who empowered Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised also empowered me for my apostolic ministry to the Gentiles and when James, Cephas, and John, who had a reputation as pillars recognized the grace that had been given to me, [therefore] they gave to Barnabas and me the right hand of fellowship, [as a result of agreeing] that we would go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. They requested only that we remember the poor, [which is] the very thing I also was eager to do. But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he had clearly done wrong. [That is, before] certain people came from James, he had been eating with the Gentiles. and when they arrived, he stopped doing this and separated himself because he was afraid of those who were pro-circumcision. Then the rest of the Jews also joined with him in this hypocrisy, [as a result] even Barnabas was led astray with them by their hypocrisy. But [as a response] when I saw that they were not behaving consistently with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, "If you, although you are a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, [then] how can you try to force the Gentiles to live like Jews?"
Outline of 2:1-14
Argument from Rebuking a Pillar of the Church 2:1-14 A. Concession : Paul's Apostleship was confirmed by the Pillars 2:1-10 I. Paul's Reason and Purpose of his visit 2:2b II. Paul's Presentation of the Gospel 2:2c a. Paul's Humility 2:2d b. Absence of Rebuke by the leaders 2:3 III. Paul's Explanation on why bother present the Gospel 2:4-10 a. To confront the false brothers 2:4-5 b. To show that the Pillars did not amend his gospel 2:6 c. To show that the Pillars and Paul have the same gospel 2:7-10 i. Same Purpose but with different audience 2:7; 2:9 ii. Same Origin 2:8 iii. Same Concern for the Poor 2:10 B. Paul Rebuked Peter 2:11-14
Introduction
The difficulty in interpreting our passage in Galatians 2:1-10 lies on where to fit this narrative in Luke's account in the book of Acts. Most scholars believe that it corresponds to the events described in Acts 15. There are many similarities between the narrative described in Acts 15 and that of Galatians 2 but there are also significant differences. Still there are others who think Paul is referring to a more private meeting prior to the Jerusalem council. Regardless of your view on the matter, the main point has to do more on the essence of what happened in this visitation than the issue of when precisely did it occurred. Another thing to take note of when it comes to its interpretive difficulty is the fact that according to Douglas Moo; "It features some of the most convoluted language that is to be found in Paul's letters. The passage is filled with parentheses, sentence fragments, and ellipses." We must remember that the reason why there are syntactical and logical difficulties in it is that Paul here is walking so to speak on a tightrope. On the one hand he wants to maintain his independence from the Jerusalem leaders but on the other hand he recognizes the importance of asserting his unity with the rest of the apostles. Therefore a careful reading and a special attention to the author's flow of thought is necessary. Review Paul was addressing the issues in the churches at Galatia that has to do with some professing believers, who claimed to represent the apostles at Jerusalem. They questioned Paul's apostolic authority by saying that his gospel came only from men and that he modified the gospel to please the Gentiles. Not only that, they're also preaching another gospel that requires believers to be circumcised first before they can be saved(Galatians 1:6-9). Galatians 1-2 deals with Paul's authority and Galatians 3-4 deals with the defense of the Gospel, then Galatians 5-6 talks about how to live under this gospel. We already saw five of his arguments to rebut the false brothers' accusations. First, his Argument from the origin of his message in Galatians 1:11-12. Second, his Argument from his Zeal for Judaism in Galatians 1:13-14. Third his Argument from Calling in Galatians 1:15-17. Then fourth, his Argument from Concession that he got acquainted with Peter in Galatians 1:18-20. Fifth, his Argument from the Testimony of Others in Galatians 1:21-24.
Exposition
Galatians 2:1-14 is a two part argument to support Paul's claim that he's a God pleaser, a slave of Christ(Galatians 1:10) and therefore an authoritative apostle(Galatians 1:1) independent from the rest of the leaders at Jerusalem. Paul was arguing on the grounds that he rebuked one of the pillars. Paul concedes in Verses 1-10 that the pillars did in fact confirmed his apostleship, nevertheless in verses 11-14 he rebuked one of them, namely Peter. I will only discuss the first part of the argument, that is, that he was confirmed by the Pillars. So Paul begins by saying that he went for a second time to Jerusalem after a span of fourteen years( verse 1 ). That's very important because remember that the accusation of the false teachers in Galatia against Paul was that he's just a second hander and that he just received his gospel from the apostles in Jerusalem that now he distorts. By underlining the fact that he has no contact with the Jerusalem leaders for fourteen years, he makes it plain that his message did not come from Peter, James nor John. But Paul wants to make clear also that he doesn't distort the gospel of the apostles but that they are of one accord. So Paul went to make the record straight. I. Paul's Reason and Purpose of his visit(verse 2) Paul went to Jerusalem because of a revelation and he went in order to present and therefore defend the Gospel. This visit was not planned by man but by God. He did not went there doubting his message, instead everything Paul did since his conversion was God revealed and God appointed. He's been consistent since day one. Not only his message was of divine origin but also his appointments were of divine origin. It would've been better for Paul not to return but God wanted him to go to Jerusalem. So Paul went in order to be united with the rest of the apostles because they would be running in vain(verse 2) if it can't be shown that there is only one gospel. Plurality of gospel is incompatible with the building of the church. No church, no Christianity. Therefore Paul wanted to make sure that they're on the same page and with one gospel lest they run in vain. II. Paul's Presentation of the Gospel(verse 2c) We can see two things in Paul's presentation of his gospel. This presentation is not the same with public proclamation but it is a presentation in order to subject his gospel for scrutiny in private. A. Paul's Humility(verse 2) First was Paul's humility. He doesn't have to undergo this process but he nevertheless willingly submit to the authority of the Jerusalem leaders. Though he's in equal footing with the rest of the apostles when it comes to authority, he humbled himself and let the leaders examine his message. Now compare Paul's attitude with ours today. Many would claim to be an apostle or to be someone with authority in the church but they don't want to let others examine their lives with the lens of apostolic writings in the scriptures. But the same error occurs when people will not let themselves be subjected under the leadership of a local church. Paul recognized the importance of the communal nature of the body of Christ and the gospel. B. Absence of Rebuke by the leaders(verse 3) Now remember that in this meeting, Paul mentioned that he brought Titus with him(verse 1) in order to make a case that even though Paul presented the gospel, while Titus was in attendance, the leaders did not find it necessary to circumcise him though he was a greek. Hence the absence of rebuke from the leaders. This is a strong case for Paul's gospel of grace. If there was a perfect time to rebuke Paul for teaching a false gospel(as the false brothers accused him of doing), it should've been the right time. III. Paul's Explanation on why bother present the Gospel(verse 4-10) Now in verse 4-10, Paul gave us his explanation as to why did the matter of circumcision and presentation of the Gospel arose in the first place in that meeting. A. To confront the false brothers(verse 4-5) First is to confront head on the false brothers who distort the gospel by their adding works of the law in it. In this case it has to do with circumcision. These people mistakenly think that they represent the position of the Jerusalem leaders. We are told that these false brothers slipped in. We are not told however when did they slipped in. Is it during the private presentation of the gospel with the Jerusalem leaders or Paul was just giving a general statement that there are false teachers who slipped in the community of believers? Both can work in the context. Now notice two purposes here. The false brothers ultimate intent was not just to spy out but to bring the believers to slavery while Paul's motive was to preserve the truth of the gospel. There's an implied contrast between the two. But instead of making an exact parallelism between the false teachers' intent to enslave, by saying that his purpose was to liberate, he said that his aim was to preserve the truth. Which means that indeed truth can set us free. Falsehood enslaves, therefore any other so called gospels can't give us liberty. A gospel that adds works of the law for justification will lead you to slavery under the law. A gospel that adds health, wealth and prosperity will lead you to be enslaved by your desire to be healthy, wealthy, and prosperous. A gospel that minimize the need for repentance and perseverance will lead you to be enslaved even more by sin. Did not yield in submission Paul's response along with the other disciples demonstrate for us that we are not to give any opportunity for such falsehood to enter the church. They did not yield in submission even for a moment to the false brothers' false gospel. What a vigilance! That's how important the truth of the gospel is to Paul and that's the kind of vigilance we all must have today. B. To show that the Pillars did not amend his gospel(verse 6) Second, he presented the gospel in front of the Jerusalem leaders to show that after hearing his message, they did not add anything to it. Not only that, he even pointed out that who these influential people were makes no difference to him because God shows no partiality. In other words, Paul not only received nothing from them(referring to the pillars' teachings) but also he shows that he's not a respecter of men. C. To show that the Pillars and Paul have the same gospel(verse 7-10) Lastly, Paul presented the gospel to be scrutinized in order to show that there's only one gospel. Even though Paul's apostolic authority is independent from the other apostles, his message was one with them. Their message share the same purpose but with different audience, same source, and same concern for the societal effects of the gospel, namely the concern for the poor. i. Same Purpose but with Different Audience(verse 7 and verse 9) Paul's aim and the Jerusalem Leaders' aim were the same. It is to preach the true gospel of grace. The only difference is that of their audience. Here we can see that the oneness of the gospel is crucial for its universality and exclusivity. Imagine for a moment that there are different gospels for the Jews and the Gentiles. Then it would undermine Christ's exclusive claim as the only way for salvation. Paul's gospel then will no longer be universal but tribal. No! There's only one gospel for all. Both to the Jews and to the Gentiles. ii. Same Source(verses 8-9) The One who worked through Peter's apostolic ministry worked also in Paul's apostolic ministry. All true apostolic and prophetic utterance came from God. 2 Peter 1:20-21 said "Above all, you do well if you recognize this: No prophecy of scripture ever comes about by the prophet’s own imagination, for no prophecy was ever borne of human impulse; rather, men carried along by the Holy Spirit spoke from God." iii. Same Concern for the Poor(verse 10) We can see two things in their common concern for the poor. 1) Agreement on the importance We can see that in mentioning this concern by Paul and the other apostles, they are in complete agreement as to the importance of the ministry of compassion for the poor. They even raised it side by side with the issue of the gospel. So who are we to ignore the importance of ministering to the poor? 2) Paul's eagerness Paul did not begrudgingly agreed to remember the poor but was eager to do it. He was not taken a back by this requirement. He heartily agreed to help the poor. What's the point of including this little admonition here? One might say; isn't that an addition to the gospel? Preach your gospel to the Gentiles Paul but be sure to remember the poor. Is that what's being said here? No! It's not an addition to the gospel but an outworking of the gospel. Now in Luke 19:8-9, remember what Jesus said after Zacchaeus sold half of his possession for the poor. Jesus said "Today salvation has come to this house because he also is a son of Abraham." The evidence that the gospel has come in a house is the outworking of the gospel in providing for the poor. Where the gospel goes, there goes the compassion for the poor. If you say to me that you are a Christian and have no compassion for the poor, then I have every reason to doubt your profession.
Application
What are the implications then of this momentous event in the history of Christianity for our lives today? 1) We can trust the God who is the source of the gospel, who works through different people to preserve the gospel, who ordained that the gospel will be preached to all creature including the gentiles. Imagine for a moment if Peter said that circumcision is a requirement for us to be counted as righteous in the sight of God, then we would not have the church as we know it today. Christ then failed to fulfill his promise that the gates of hell will not prevail against it. But God is sovereign, powerful and able to fulfill all his purposes through human means like the apostles Paul, Peter and John. 2) We, like Paul, will face situations where we would walk on a tightrope by which both our faithfulness to the truth of the gospel and our wisdom to discern when to become anything for all people will be tried. We should learn to confront disagreements, controversies and issues head on in and outside of our local churches with love and discernment. 3) As we obey the greatest commission to preach the gospel of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ's work alone, we must also obey Christ's command to care for the poor, the children, the widows, and the oppressed. According to James, the religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world(James 1:27). And that we do these things joyfully and eagerly like Paul. 4) This issue on whether there are two gospels is only an issue to you when you already have the right gospel. That is if you've already experienced the life transforming grace of God in the gospel. Don't be a spectator! Don't say that this controversy has little to do with me and more to do with theologians. Instead ask yourself, am I trying to gain salvation by works of the law or am I relying on God's mercy and grace and Christ's perfect obedience alone for my acceptance in heaven?
Comments
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.