GRACE: NOT BY MAN
Leaders of the Gospel by Grace
Verse 6 – Some suppose that Paul was showing contempt for the leadership at Jerusalem while saying, “…These who seemed to be somewhat” or ‘of influence’. The people of Galatia were needing to hear back from Paul what the church in Jerusalem, and her leaders were saying concerning the Gospel Paul was preaching.
Paul was confident in the message of the Gospel he preached. They would not persuade him any other way; if they happened to go into a works oriented gospel. Paul is probably writing this as he is entering the city and what is on his mind concerning the leadership.
Paul finds that the Gospel he preaches is the same message they are preaching; thus nothing is added to what he has said; nor taken away from it.
Verses 7 & 8 – It was seen by the apostles at Jerusalem that the Gospel of Jesus Christ whom Paul preached was the same as the Gospel of Jesus Chris whom Peter preached. The gospel preached to the Jew was the same as that preached to the Gentile.
This Gospel was “mighty” meaning “effective”, “active”, or “work”. Peter for the Jew, Paul for the Gentile. It should be recognized that Peter was still free to preach to the Gentile, and Paul to the Jew, because Peter went to Cornelius (Acts 10), and Paul still had a burdened heart for Israel his people (Romans 9:1-3)
The Holy Spirit who was speaking through Peter was that same Holy Spirit speaking through Paul. Paul held none of the Jerusalem apostles on a pedestal; lifting them to the level of greatness often sought by preacher and people alike.
It seems that we like lifting people to levels of popularity that none of us are worthy of. Often times those lifted to levels of favor have a long way to fall; and they eventually do.
Verse 9 – James, Cephas [Peter] and John were the leaders [pillars] and saw the grace that was given unto Paul. The “right hand of fellowship” is a way of expressing acceptance, and in this case agreement with the Gospel of Christ between the two parties.
However, there was one group who did not agree, and would still seek to cause division and strife; and that was the Judaizers/Legalist (5:20; 1 Timothy 6:4; Romans 13:13; 2 Timothy 2:23; 1 Corinthians 3:3; 2 Corinthians 12:19-21; Philippians 1:14-17; 2:1-3).
Verse 10 – Peter and Paul both preached a Gospel that works. The Gospel of Jesus Christ works effectually in the hearts and lives of those who believe it; and put it to work helping others.
The Bible speaks much about caring for the poor. The Gospel of Jesus Christ makes heart willing to give and be a blessing to those in need.
-Tim A. Blankenship