In Galatians Chapter 2 and verse 2, Paul is deeply concerned that these disciples did not take a stronger stand where it was necessary to do so - and in Jerusalem he did all this, privately, among those who seemed to be leaders. Then God had it all written down, that we might read and learn and understand. A massive danger was avoided.
Paul defends his calling. He wanted what he was preaching and teaching to be protected, and not just validated.
If the leadership had buckled under, on this matter of circumcision, or on any other issue of legalism, he felt he would have run the race in vain, but the apostles backed him. He was called to the Gentiles and he refused to let anyone corrupt what God was doing.
Does this not have highly relevant and specific guidance and direction for us today, as we face various moves away from the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament?
Are we not supposed to influence the culture rather than be led by the changes and philosophies of contemporary culture and current fashions?
What was the outcome of the visit to Jerusalem? Verse 8 of Chapter 2 helps us understand the verdict and consequences, and the spirit of unity on this crucial issue. The leaders there who were ministering mainly to Jews were big enough to recognise that Jesus was working through Paul as he ministered to the Gentiles, just as Peter had done 10 years previously.
They agreed. They gave us the right hand of fellowship. There is a sense of being thrilled with what was happening.
Now, we have to deal with false brethren. It is difficult. It can make us sound arrogant or self-righteous. In one sense we are narrow, and in the other sense we have to recognise other ministries and know who our partners are, and that is not always easy. This passage helps us immensely.
This was a volatile time in the Church of Jesus Christ, just as it is today. When you advance, you are opposed.When Jesus is pouring out the Holy Spirit, there is another force at work.
Paul and his colleagues were very much aware of that and so was Peter, and so was JESUS.
We are not unaware of that too. Our security is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Word. Our voice has to be heard, and our light has to shine.
It is worth defending our UNITY - our FREEDOM - and our CALING.
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