A Solemn Agreement
The Apostle Paul, referring to his journey to Jerusalem to tell the apostles and elders there about the good news that had been committed to him, says:
“2And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain…. 6 But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me: 7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision [Gentiles] was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision [Israel] 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 [Paul] and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen [Gentiles], and they unto the circumcision [Israel only].” (Galatians 2:2, 6-9 (KJV)
Here, by solemn agreement, Peter, James and John promised publicly to confine their ministry to Israel while Paul went to the Gentiles with his “gospel of the grace of God.” This is striking in view of the fact that the twelve, not Paul, had originally been sent into all the world.
Were they all out of the will of God in making this agreement? By no means! Subsequent revelation proves that they were all very much in the will of God and that with Israel’s rejection of Christ God had ushered in a new program.
In the light of these Scriptures [as seen best in the KJV] it is difficult to understand how anyone can argue that Paul’s ministry was merely a perpetuation of that of “the twelve,” or that “the gospel of the kingdom” and “the gospel of the grace of God” are identical. [They Are Not!]
If the above passage teaches anything clearly, it teaches the unique character of Paul’s apostleship and [grace] message. The Apostle devotes almost two chapters of his letter to the Galatians to the fact that he had not received his message from the twelve, but rather had communicated [his] to the twelve.
Paul stresses the fact that those who had first been sent to all nations, “beginning at Jerusalem,” had now, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, agreed to turn over their Gentile ministry to him that he might proclaim far and wide “the gospel of the grace of God,” as found in Eph. 2:8-9 and Rom. 3:24.
By Cornelius Stam