Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 1 Study # 8
April 24, 2011
7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;
8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)
9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.
10 Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.
1901 ASV Translation:
7 but contrariwise, when they saw that I had been intrusted with the gospel of the uncircumcision, even as Peter with the gospel of the circumcision
8 (for he that wrought for Peter unto the apostleship of the circumcision wrought for me also unto the Gentiles);
9 and when they perceived the grace that was given unto me, James and Cephas and John, they who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship, that we should go unto the Gentiles, and they unto the circumcision;
10 only they would that we should remember the poor; which very thing I was also zealous to do.
- I. Paul's Confrontational Clarification of the Gospel in Jerusalem, Part Nine: Jerusalem's Response. [The first eight parts: The "fourteen years"; The issue of "going up to Jerusalem"; Barnabas and Titus; The divine mandate; Paul's action; The key result; The false brethren; and Paul's response.]
- A. Jerusalem's Response.
- 1. This response is "from those who seemed to be something".
- 2. This response was: "to me they added nothing".
- 3. This response was: "they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship".
- a. This declaration is loaded on the front end with "clarifications". It is found at the end of 2:9, but its "prelude" begins in 2:7.
- b. Those "clarifications" line up along this path...
- 1) There was a "no additions" (see I.A.2. above) reality in which the "seemers" (those who "seemed" to be something special in the leadership in Jerusalem) did not insist upon, or (perhaps) even mention, any particulars that Paul was omitting, or (perhaps) down playing, in his proclamation of the Gospel among the nations. It is hard to see how this is not a critical blow to those who would "add" circumcision, or law-keeping, to the Gospel.
- a) One overlooked factor in the debate is this: the issue is not whether being circumcised or keeping the Law is "good"; rather, the issue is whether those "good" things have anything to do with "Justice" (they do not/can not for one simple reason -- neither can compensate for sins accomplished; neither can satisfy "Justice" in Its demand for equality in retribution).
- b) A second overlooked factor in the debate is this: both circumcision and the giving of the Law had circumscribed reasons for existing, none of which had anything to do with "forgiveness".
- c) A third overlooked factor in the debate is this: "rule-keeping", even when the rules are expressions of genuine righteousness, have nothing to do with life under the banner of Love, the Kingdom's ultimate banner. Love both covers a multitude of sins and provides the ultimate fulfillment of every real principle of righteousness. Without love, even the most rigorous adherence to observance of "law" has nothing to offer, and with love there is no need for insistence upon keeping the rules.
- d) And a fourth overlooked factor in the debate is this: Paul never taught that "salvation by grace through faith" could be accomplished within a loveless context. None can be "saved" whose values do not include the longing to be in a love-relationship with God (not just to be loved by Him, but also to love Him).