The Letter of Paul to the Galatians
The Personal Confirmation (2:6–10)
v.6-8 "As for those who were considered important in the church, their reputation doesn’t concern me. God isn’t impressed with mere appearances, and neither am I. And of course these leaders were able to add nothing to the message I had been preaching. It was soon evident that God had entrusted me with the same message to the non-Jews as Peter had been preaching to the Jews."
The Judaizers had hoped to get the leaders of the Jerusalem church to disagree with Paul. By contrast, Paul made it clear that he himself was not impressed either by the persons or the positions of the church leaders. He respected them, of course. Otherwise he would not have consulted with them privately. But he did not fear them or seek to buy their influence. All he wanted them to do was recognize “the grace of God” at work in his life and ministry (Gal. 2:9), and this they did.
Not only did the assembly approve Paul’s gospel, and oppose Paul’s enemies, but they encouraged Paul's ministry and recognized publicly that God had committed the Gentile aspect of His work into Paul's hands. They could add nothing to Paul’s message or ministry, and they dared not take anything away. There was agreement and unity: One gospel would be preached to Jews and to Gentiles.
“The gospel to the circumcision” and “the gospel to the uncircumcision” are not two different messages; it had already been agreed that there is only one gospel. Rather, we have here two different spheres of ministry, one to the Jews and the other to the Gentiles. Peter and Paul would both preach the same gospel, and the same Lord would be at work in and through them (Gal. 2:8),but they would minister to different peoples.
v.9 "Recognizing that my calling had been given by God, James, Peter, and John—the pillars of the church—shook hands with me and Barnabas, assigning us to a ministry to the non-Jews, while they continued to be responsible for reaching out to the Jews."
We need to recognize the fact that God calls people to different ministries in different places; yet we all preach the same gospel and are seeking to work together to build His church. Among those who know and love Christ, there can be no such thing as “competition.” Peter was a great man, and perhaps the leading apostle; yet he gladly yielded to Paul—a newcomer—and permitted him to carry on his ministry as the Lord led him. Previously, Paul explained his independence from the apostles (Gal. 1); now in Galatians 2 he points out his interdependence with the apostles. He was free, and yet he was willingly in fellowship with them in the ministry of the gospel.
v.10 "The only additional thing they asked was that we remember the poor, and I was already eager to do that."
We move next from the theological to the practical—helping the poor (Gal. 2:10). Certainly these things go together. Correct doctrine is never a substitute for Christian duty (James 2:14–26). Too often our church meetings discuss problems, but they fail to result in practical help for the needy world. Paul had always been interested in helping the poor (Acts 11:27–30), so he was glad to follow the leaders’ suggestion.
How are we remembering the poor today and doing justice?