“And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)…” Galatians 2:6 ESV
I want to pull the “God shows no partiality” from this verse. It popped out to me like I needed to see it clearly.
I can’t help but wonder exactly how this relates to people in general. How often do I see the argument that God is the ultimate judge and we are not to judge one another? How often is this said simply to prove a point that whatever that person is doing (or trying to justify) is OK? The idea that God shows no partiality reflects the unity that mankind has in my opinion. We strive for this concept that our “points” are correct but in truth it doesn’t matter. God matters.
“…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. Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.” ~ Galatians 2:9-10 ESV
I find it interesting that when these men, James, Peter and John, direct Paul and Barnabas one way while they focus on another and then make it a point to remember the poor.
Not the rich.
Not the tax collector, workers, nor the families. They don’t stop and ask for them to remember the soldiers or the freedom to carry their weapons. Not to remember oil prices or to build a glorious building. They don’t ask them to remember anything else in particular but pause to note “the poor”.
Who are the poor? I push this question because I believe that where I am today, I am surrounded by various wealth; however there are aspects of being”poor” all through the people. Financially we are good. I mean, some have more than others and some have to go without but for the most part we are given what we need.
After writing that last sentence, I paused and thought that I should close the document for a bit, perhaps come back to it later. I stared at my phone thinking about what I should do… so, after a moment, I opened my Bible app and this verse was the verse of the day:
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord , whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” ~ Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV
I would be more bold in saying that the “poor” are those without Christ for what cost do they expend in the end?
I don’t want to stray too far from the idea of those who are physically ”without” various needs. If I were to seriously consider it, the call for us to focus on it is within Christ’s teaching. I’m only noting that this particular call to focus on the poor, perhaps the gentiles, those without Christ, without God, are poor in spirit. These are the people that God placed in front of Paul.
“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?” ~ Galatians 2:14 ESV
There are two things to note within this passage: One’s actions versus their words, and the concept of forcing an ideal or practice upon others. It’s common for people to attempt to “talk” others into their viewpoint when they believe that what that point is either helps or is truth. I believe this is the same concept that drives Christians to evangelize to non-believers. It’s that struggle of speaking about something and living it. Live as if you are loved by Christ and allow that to show through your day to day.
It is noted that to be “justified”, we are “declared righteous”. This means that we are in a right relationship with God, forgiven and given a place in God’s family and this results in transformation by Grace but only by the faith of Jesus.
“I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” ~ Galatians 2:21 ESV
I think this is pretty dead on. Any guilt you carry, any feeling that you hold close where you whisper inside about how this “action” is unforgivable,… divorce,… cheating on a spouse… being untruthful… drinking in excess and saying or doing something that offends another (or climbing behind a wheel)… God knows about the issue and He holds the answers to solve these problems.
If we cannot, as Christians, stand and place our faults on the Cross then we are, in a way, stating that God is not great enough to fix anything.
*Please see my intro to Galatians for my resources.