Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One Gospel, Not in Submission to the Law

Galatians 2:1-10 (ESV)
Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. [2] I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain. [3] But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. [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— [5] to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. [6] And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. [7] On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised [8] (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), [9] and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. [10] Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.

What strikes me here is Paul’s desire to be on the same page with the rest of the apostles. Paul doesn’t want to be a lone ranger when it comes to the Gospel. Today many would think that the apostles were all divided as to what the Gospel is. Books are written on the disagreements between James and Paul. John supposedly had a different theology than Matthew. All of this is spun from a meager amount of wool. Here we find that they were actually in agreement on the Gospel. It was the same Gospel for the Jew and the Greek, Your sins are forgiven in Christ. There is no reason to believe that any of the apostles believed anything other than what Paul believed.
One other thing in this that needs to be hit upon is how Paul deals with the false brothers who wanted to “spy out the freedom that we have in Christ, so that they might bring us into slavery.” He doesn’t submit to them! Not for one moment! I understand this concept of the weaker brother. But too often we assume that the person is a weaker brother, and join in cahoots with them, by letting them bind us to manmade laws. We do no one a service here. Neither them nor the people around us. Why should we perpetuate the myth that Christianity is a set of rules to live by? And these rules too often strain the gnat and swallow the camel. If it is truly a weaker brother we are dealing with we ought to be careful with them, but the object is to strengthen them, not to let them remain in ignorance. Most often I have found we are dealing with Pharisees, wolves in sheep’s clothing. You can almost always tell them, they are the ones that play the weaker brother card. We can’t let weaker brothers bind our consciences either. We don’t let people make up laws. Sometimes we just need to say, “Does God deal with that in the Ten Commandments? Then stop coveting my freedom! Christ died for me to make me free from the law, not a slave to it!”

1 comment:

steve martin said...

You said it! Amen!

Law bangers (for righteousness) beware...you have been warned.

"Christ is the end of the law for righteousness for all those who have faith."