United for His work
United for His work
In our earlier studies we’ve covered in detail on What is Gospel? and the differences between the one gospel and the other gospel which the false teachers were trying to propagate. Lets bear in mind that this is the very beginning of the church history and the disciples and apostles who lived and experienced lives alongside Jesus are now involved in the work of laying the foundations of the early churches.
But from those who seemed to be something—whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man—for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me. (v6)
Paul was not trying to be arrogant and proud of his position, nor was he trying to undermine the apostles in any way. What Paul is trying to emphasize here is the fact that (1) the gospel he preached was revealed to him by God and the apostles had nothing to add to it. They were practically on the same page when it came to the details of it. (2) the way the apostles were treated as something, in that time and day, meant nothing to Paul himself, because it is the message that carries significance over the messenger.
But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles), and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. (v7-9)
James, Peter and John heard and witnessed Paul’s work among the gentiles. They acknowledged and perceived the grace given to Paul out of the renewed life he personified, through the many converts he brought to Christ and through the boldness with which he defended his apostleship and the gospel of Christ. Peripherally, there seems to be a lot of room for conflicts of interests, but we see that they arrived at a harmony.
It was clearly recognized and accepted that there was a need for the propagation of the gospel, be it among the Jews or gentiles. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” (Matthew 28:19) When the weight of this great commission was laying heavily on their hearts, they united together to go their separate ways, each to his territory, “they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship”
How eager and desperate are we to share God’s word with others? Will you be willing to walk the extra mile, jump through hoops and accept shame to speak His word? Paul and Peter and James and John and the rest of the apostles were determined to take the gospel to the Jews and gentiles, across borders and nations. Praise God for their work, by His grace we are saved!
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation, for everyone who believes. Romans 1:16
I’m linking with Inspire Me Monday.
Read next post in this series: Why add to the Equation?