Sermon Notes on Galatians 2:1-10 “Grace and Calling”

Posted: July 21, 2010 by Rick Hogaboam in Biblical Studies, Galatians

Gal 2:6-10 “Grace and Calling”

Galatians 2:6–10 (ESV) — 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.

–          Paul’s Gospel and His Apostleship were recognized in Jerusalem, then fellowship was conferred. Important to note that Paul wasn’t ordained as an Apostle and then taught the Gospel, which he vehemently makes clear. It was recognized, a passive recognition, nothing added, nothing conferred. The fellowship and acceptance is given based on what they perceived.

  • “God shows no partiality” – theme of how God is now working with people. The Abrahamic covenant of blessing the nations is being fulfilled in and through Jesus Christ. The days of particularity to an ethnic seed in Canaan is over as God is expanding His purposes. The Sinai covenant was only a guardian, not intended to be permanent.
    • Galatians 3:19–26 (ESV) — 19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one. 21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.

  • “who seemed to be influential, who seemed influential” – “Added nothing to me” – Paul’s opponents were making much of James, Peter, John and pillars there at Jerusalem as being a final voice on matters, as being above Paul. Paul is not demeaning his fellow apostles here, he is simply showing that he is not in awe or enamored with them as his opponents are because he himself is a fellow apostle. He is in their company.
    • What is important the pillars endorsed Paul, Paul’s point here is that it was more a passive recognition that Paul was one of them. Their authority is endowed by God alone and they share the same Gospel.
    • Paul’s Gospel was wholly sufficient, not lacking in any way, nothing was added to it.
    • Paul goes on to record:
      • Galatians 2:11–14 (ESV) — 11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. 13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
    • The inclusion of this is a clincher that Paul has equal weight and authority, Paul was not a man-pleaser who went to Jerusalem to kiss the feet of these esteemed men, he went as an equal and is even willing to call out Peter where he is wrong.
  • I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised – could be “Gospel of uncircumcision”, but I think it is dative, to the uncircumcised in contrast to Peter’s referent. There aren’t two distinct Gospels being preached by Paul and Peter, two distinct audiences, which does allow for some obvious contextualizing (Abrahamic Son, Davidic King, etc to Jews, uncircumcised, Lord, Second Adam to gentiles)
  • 8 (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles) – same unifying Lord, an important theme for Paul in seeing unity and diversity, which is what we strive for as well here at SGF.
    • 1 Corinthians 1:10–13 (ESV) — 10 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. 12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
    • Our unity is in Christ and our common confirming into His image, but that does not negate very real diversity we have culturally, etc. The more diverse our Church, with people from all walks of life, the better off we will be. The one thing I don’t want is to be a niche Church that specializes in one dish, we are a diverse people…our unity must be forged around Jesus…I tried to make this clear several sermons back that our diversity is great, must we must not make our convictions and distinctions as equivalent to the Gospel and base fellowship on non-essentials, etc.  
  • “when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me,” – passive recognition, they saw and took into account the grace of God in Paul’s life, especially in His Apostolic call.
  • WHAT DO PEOPLE SEE IN YOU? Though we don’t have an Apostolic call, and aren’t summoned for examinations for office, we are a “called” people. Do people see God’s grace in your life? Do they see peace and joy in your life?
    • 2 or 3 witnesses confirms God’s will in this matter…the pillars of the Church are simply recognizing, not training, nor bestowing authority, endorsing Paul instead.
  • “gave the right hand of fellowship” – 3 fold endorsement from 3 pillars: full endorsement of the Gospel, of Paul, and His mission to the Gentiles. Prophets in the OT were also summoned to be a prophet, given a particular message, for a particular people.
    • Executor and prosecutor OF THE COVENANT: one would need to execute the message and also prosecute the enemies of the message. We see both aspects in Paul’s ministry.
      • He once executed the old covenant by calling people into obedience with the Mosaic law, and he prosecuted the enemies (being the Christians), Paul now executes the New Covenant and prosecutes the Judiazers, who are the enemies. Miraculous role reversal!!!
  • “remember the poor” – Paul had collected offerings to bring to Jerusalem for the sake of the poor. Some view Paul’s particular interest in helping Jerusalem as part of amends for having persecuted the Church and contributed somewhat to the current impoverished state.         
    • Though this may have been a particular interest for Paul, it is mandated of the Church.
    • Jerusalem experienced a famine, unrest, etc.
    • The ministry of benevolence also helps put to test the unity of the Church across cultural boundaries. Giving monetary support to those in other regions and countries is a tangible way to express your love for all peoples. The Gentiles sending money to Jerusalem would help the cause of the Gospel.

–          Romans 15:25–29 (ESV) — 25 At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. 27 For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings. 28 When therefore I have completed this and have delivered to them what has been collected, I will leave for Spain by way of you. 29 I know that when I come to you I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.

  • This was designed to unite the Church, as people were willing to give to others who were different, publicly display their support.
  • JACKIE ROBINSON: During that first season, the abuse to which Jackie Robinson was subjected made him come close to losing his patience more than once. He eventually punched an umpire in the face after the ump told him “go back to the jungle you little nigger!”. Many Dodgers were highly resistant and hostile to his presence. A group of Dodger players, mostly Southerners led by Dixie Walker, insinuated they would rather strike than play alongside a black man such as Jackie Robinson, but the mutiny was ended when Dodger management informed the players they were welcome to find employment elsewhere. He did have the support of Kentucky-born shortstop Pee Wee Reese, who proved to be his closest comrade on the team. One game, Cincinnati players were screaming at Jackie, and then they started to get on Pee Wee. They were yelling things at him like “How can you play with this nigger?”, with Jackie standing by first base. Pee Wee went over to him and put his arm around him and smiled, to the astonishment of fans.

Benediction: Gal 6:9-10

9And(Q) let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap,(R) if we do not give up. 10So then,(S) as we have opportunity, let us(T) do good to everyone, and especially to those who are(U) of the household of faith.


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