Galatians 2.6-10 – Message Confirmed

Having travelled to Jerusalem to meet with the church leaders there (2.2, 6, 9) in order to make sure that his message of “Jesus + Nothing = Everything” was corresponding and complementing the message of the Jerusalem church, Paul now relays the conclusion of that visit to the churches back in Galatia.

“But from those who were influential (whatever they were makes no difference to me; God shows no favoritism between people)–those influential leaders added nothing to my message. On the contrary, when they saw that I was entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised just as Peter was to the circumcised (for he who empowered Peter for his apostleship to the circumcised also empowered me for my apostleship to the Gentiles) and when James, Cephas, and John, who had a reputation as pillars, recognized the grace that had been given to me, they gave to Barnabas and me the right hand of fellowship, agreeing that we would go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. They requested only that we remember the poor, the very thing I also was eager to do.”

(NET)

Titus was taken along as a test case, so to speak (2.1-3), and we see in v.6 that those influential leaders added nothing to my message. It seems then that James, Cephas, and John accepted that there was no need to add to Paul’s message of inclusion in this new creation community coming only by faith in the faithfulness of the Messiah, in Jesus. 

This was another crushing blow to the Judaizing hardliners who were insistent that to really partake of this new community and creation you had to become Jewish first, and to do that you needed to be circumcised.

So, Paul is saying to the churches in Galatia, “Pay no attention to those Judaizers because look, the leaders of the church in Jerusalem recognized the grace that had been given to me [and] they gave to Barnabas and me the right hand of fellowship”. Paul is saying that any rift and division that is being driven into the church will simply not be tolerated (1.6, 2.4-5).

The only thing the church leaders ask of Paul and Barnabas is part of the reason there were there in the first place: to remember the poor (cf. Acts 11.29-30). 

What does this mean for you then? Well, just as Paul and Barnabas were told that nothing needed to be added to their message of “Jesus + Nothing = Everything”, consider this as you being told the same! 

The Bible has plenty to say about the character and conduct of a believer but in terms of what Paul is actually writing about here then no, you don’t need to do anything in order to be welcomed into the community of Jesus believing, new covenant enjoying, new creation anticipating people. You don’t need to do anything to your body, there is no magic formula of words to be said, there are no special prayers to be prayed, and there are no rituals to be undertaken. You simply need to bring yourself to the foot of the cross and accept who Jesus is, what He did, what this means for you, and put your faith in His faithfulness and His ability to meet the righteous requirements of an altogether Holy God. 

Published by James Travis

Pastor of Saar Fellowship in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Married to Robyn and Dad to our two boys.

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