Galatians 2:6
But as for the highly esteemed, whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not show favoritism. For those leaders added nothing to my message.
Sermons
Authority and TrustGalatians 2:6
God Accepteth no Man's PersonBp. Hall.Galatians 2:6
God Accepteth no Man's PersonGalatians 2:6
God no Accepter of PersonsJ. Foster, B. A.Galatians 2:6
Having a Right Estimate of One's SelfJoseph Parker, D. D.Galatians 2:6
Paul's Non-Indebtedness to the ApostlesPaul of Tarsus.Galatians 2:6
Seeming Christians not Always Real OnesC. H. Spurgeon.Galatians 2:6
Usefulness Better than Mere CapacityC. H. Spurgeon.Galatians 2:6
Period of Third Visit to JerusalemR. Finlayson Galatians 2:1-10
The Apostolic ConferenceR.M. Edgar Galatians 2:1-10
Fourteen years elapsed between the first and second visits of Paul as apostle to Jerusalem. During this interval of severe work he had experienced the opposition of the Judaizers. He deemed it advisable, therefore, and was also impelled by the Spirit, to go up to have a conference with the apostles about the whole policy to be pursued in the Gentile mission. In the verses before us he relates what took place in connection with the conference. And here we learn -

I. HOW AGREEABLE TO THE MIND OF THE SPIRIT THE CONFERENCE OF BRETHREN IS. (Ver. 2.) For Paul went up with Barnabas and Titus "by revelation." The Spirit impelled him to confer with the apostles at Jerusalem, and to strengthen his own judgment by securing theirs. And in the conference he seems to have laid before them the gospel of free grace which for fourteen years he had been preaching among the Gentiles. His statement was an exposition of his message, how he had taught the Gentiles that they were to be justified by faith and not by ceremony. Moreover, he was careful to enter into conference only with those who were of reputation, whose judgment would command respect, and to insist on the conference being private and confidential. Now, there can be no question about the great value of such confidential interchanges of thought by brethren. Even when there is not much light shed upon the path of duty, as seems to have been the case here, there is yet the confirmation of the Lord's servants in the propriety of their course.

II. IN CONTENTION WITH OTHERS WE SHOULD HAVE CLEARLY BEFORE US THE INTERESTS OF THE GOSPEL. (Vers. 3-5.) Titus, who accompanied Paul to Jerusalem, had been Paul's companion in Galatia and in the mission tom's of Asia Minor. He was a Greek, a Gentile therefore, as distinct from a Jew. He had not, like Timothy, any Jewish blood in his veins. When the Judaizers, therefore, urged that Titus should be circumcised, and so become a proselyte to Jewish ceremonials, Paul resisted the demand so determinedly that no circumcision of Titus ever took place. In doing so, Paul had the interests of truth clearly in view. Had he yielded to the clamour, the gospel would have ceased practically to be a power in Galatia. It would not have continued with them. It would have been said, on the contrary, that salvation does not come by faith alone, but by ceremony as well. It was the interests of the gospel which Paul had clearly in view. It would be well if we had always so clear a view of the interests of truth in our contentions with others. It is to be feared we sometimes fight for our consistency and personal interests rather than for the gospel. We should suspect our motives until we see the gospel's interests clearly involved in our struggle.

III. A CONFERENCE MAY ADD NO FRESH LIGHT TO WHAT WE HAVE, BUT SIMPLY CONFIRM US IN OUR COURSE. (Ver. 6.) The apostle admits that the brethren at Jerusalem seemed to the Galatians to be most important judges of such matters as were brought before them. He himself did not form the same extravagant opinion of their ability, for he felt assured that "God accepteth no man's person," and that he, as an apostle born out of due time, had as much light given to him for his work as those who were in Christ before him. Hence he states plainly that they imparted nothing to him in the conference. They simply confirmed him in the practice of Christian liberty. And this will often be the case in Christian conferences. It is not the fresh light they shed upon doctrine or duty, but mainly the confirmation they afford of lines of duty already taken up. This, however, ought not to be despised, but rather gratefully accepted as according to the will of God.

IV. THE IMPRIMATUR OF THE APOSTLES IS SIGNIFICANT. (Vers. 7-9.) It is to be observed that Paul never sought apostolic ordination. He and Barnabas were designated by the brethren at Antioch when about to proceed upon their first missionary journey (Acts 13:1-3). But he had never all these years sought for ordination at the hands of the apostles who were in office before him. At the end of fourteen years he gives in a report, and all that he receives from the apostles is "the right hand of fellowship." In this connection we may quote from the able book of the "American citizen" on 'The Philosophy of the Divine Operation.' He is contending for Paul, not Matthias, being the twelfth apostle. After showing Paul's superior marks of apostleship, he proceeds," Ordination, where there is no Holy Spirit, is not scriptural ordination. The laying on of hands by men who do not possess the Spirit of Christ themselves is not consecration. Hence offices and interests imparted by men or Churches whose spirit is merely formal and secular have no Divine validity. The men appointed under such circumstances may be good and useful, as many of them are. Communications of grace from above may be granted them. But the seal of God is not in the act of ordination. And Paul, called of God, with only the right hand of fellowship given him by the apostles, does the work of God better than Matthias, ordained by non-spiritual administrators."

V. THE REMEMBRANCE OF THE POOR WAS ALWAYS TO CHARACTERIZE THE CHRISTIAN MISSION. (Ver. 10.) The apostles, in recognizing Paul's policy and mission among the Gentiles, merely reminded him of the care of the poor, which was to be a first note of the Christian mission. The gospel is preached to the poor; it charges itself with their care. It was with the gospel the obligation recognized by the "poor laws" arose. The care of the poor was not felt by other religious systems as it is by Christianity. And it is questionable if the poor are as well cared for by law as they would be if left to Christian love. Now, there can be no doubt of this trait of Christianity being a most important evidence of its Divine origin. The care of the poor would never have become the commonplace it now seems to be had not Christianity charged itself with the enlightenment and the care of the poor (Matthew 11:5). The Christian commune, the noble experiment which succeeded Pentecost, put for a time poverty outside the Church's pale (Acts 4:34). But even when poverty is driven out of the Church, it will still exist in the world, and for the poor Christianity must provide. This is one of its great missions; the apostles, though poor themselves, nobly responded to the call and faced the problem; and so must we all in our spheres if we have aught of the apstolic spirit. - R.M.E.







But of those who seemed to be somewhat.
I. A MAN WHO HAS TRUTH ON HIS SIDE CAN BE INDIFFERENT TO MERE AUTHORITY. Because —

1. Mere authority has no weight with the Author of truth.

2. The man of truth can gain nothing from the sanction of mere authority.

II. AUTHORITATIVE DECISIONS DERIVE WHAT VALUE THEY POSSESS FROM THE TRUTH. The apostles pronounced on what "they saw."

1. That the gospel of the uncircumcision and the circumcision was committed respectively to Paul and Peter.

2. That God wrought equally by both.

3. That both alike had Divine grace for their work.

I. SPIRITUAL EXCELLENCE AND NOT THE ACCIDENTS OF EXTERNAL CONDITION ALONE AVAILS WITH GOD. Take some illustrations.

1. From Scripture: the choice of Abraham and Moses.

2. From providence.

(1)Wealth and power are administered impartially.

(2)Health on the whole is equally shared by rich and poor.

(3)Genius is confined to no class.

(4)So with the blessings of happiness, life, and age.

3. From the administration of redemption. Wilberforce in parliament, Bunyan in his cottage.

4. From the day of judgment and its results.

II. WHY GOD HAS NO RESPECT OF PERSONS EXCEPT IN RELATION TO MORAL GOODNESS.

1. Accidents in condition, seemingly great to us, bear no such relation to Him.

2. They are not the essential and true elements of our being.

III. WHY DOES GOD SUPREMELY VALUE SPIRITUAL EXCELLENCE?

1. It is the true basis of worth in every intelligent creature.

(1)Angels;

(2)man as man.

2. It is God's own spiritual reflection, and therefore the true basis of friendship with Him.

(J. Foster, B. A.)

Paul wished to show that his apostolate, both in its origin and by the tenor of the facts which preceded this visit, was independent of the Twelve, and derived no authority from Jerusalem. He could not brook rival, still less superior, in the work that was before him, nor submit to any control whatsoever on the part of any man, however eminent he might be. This had been his constant determination from the first day of his Christianity, and he was not likely to forego it after so many years of missionary labour, and in the case of persons who owed all their knowledge of the gospel to him, till such time as these meddling emissaries had striven to misrepresent him, had repudiated his authority, and called in question the completeness of the gospel he preached.

(Paul of Tarsus.)

A monstrous vat, certainly, is the great tun of Heidelberg. It might hold eight hundred hogsheads of wine at the least; but what is the use of such wasted capacity, since, for nearly a hundred years, there has not been a drop of liquor in it! Hollow and sounding, empty and void and waste; vintages come and go, and find it perishing of dry rot. An empty cask is not so great a spectacle after all, let its size be what it may, though old travellers called this monster one of the wonders of the world. What a thousand pities it is that many men of genius and of learning are, in respect of usefulness, no better than this huge but empty tun of Heidelberg! Very capacious are their minds, but very unpractical. Better be a poor household kilderkin, and give forth one's little freely, than exist as a useless prodigy, capable of much and available for nothing.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

A great deal of misery would be prevented, if ministers would endeavour to form an honest estimate of their qualifications, and, as a consequence, seek appointments for which they are specially qualified. If one might teach unpleasant doctrines through the medium of a figure, one can imagine how inconvenient it would be in the event of a great cathedral clock wearing out, for a neat Geneva watch to put itself forward as a candidate for the vacancy. The Geneva might be a beautiful little thing, and might keep the most exact time, and might be called endearing names by ladies and little children; yet, to speak the language of charity, it might hardly be adapted to be set a hundred and fifty feet above the ground, in a circular vacancy at least ten feet in diameter. In such a case its very elevation would become its obscurity. On the other hand, it would be quite as inconvenient ii a great cathedral clock, weary of city work, should ask to be carried about as a private timekeeper. There is amoral in the figure. That moral points towards the law of proportion and adaptation. One can imagine the petted Geneva looking up from a lady's hand, and calling the cathedral clock a great, coarse thing, with a loud and vulgar voice, which indicated the most offensive presumption; and we can imagine the cathedral clock looking down, with somewhat of disdain, upon the little timekeeping toy. Oh, that some sensible chronometer would say to the rivals, "Cease your contention; you are both useful in your places." The one as a private chaplain, the other as a city orator, may tell the world to redeem its flying time.

(Joseph Parker, D. D.)

A servant girl once said she should not have known her master and mistress were religious had she not heard that they took the sacrament. It was a pity they took it. If a man rolled on a bed of spices you would soon know where he had been, and if a man went with Jesus he must be perfumed with the spirit of Jesus.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

With God there is no free man but His servant, though in the galleys; no slave but the sinner, though in a palace; none noble but the virtuous, if never so basely descended; none rich but he that possesseth God, even in rags; none wise but he that is a feel to himself and the world; none happy but he whom the world pities. Let me be free, noble, rich, wise, happy, to God.

(Bp. Hall.)

A North German periodical gives the following story as told by a Bible colporteur: "In one of my journeys I came to Varzin while the Imperial Chancellor was residing there. After I had done a long day's work, I went to the inn. I was there asked if I would .go to evening prayers at Bismarck's house, as the daughter of the host was going. I accepted the invitation, and when I got there I found myself in a spacious and very suitable room which had been built for the purpose. It was well filled with servants, farm labourers, and villagers, some of whom, having seen me before, greeted me kindly. Soon afterwards Prince Bismarck made his appearance, nodding kindly right and left as he passed. He then said — 'I hear we have a Bible-man among us,' and he looked me straight in the face in his kindly way. 'You will be so kind as to conduct service for us this evening: I rose up and answered — 'It would be displacing your highness for me to' when the prince interrupted me with, 'Ah, my good man, what does highness signify? Here in God's sight we are all poor sinners; so come here and take my place this evening, and conduct the service for us: So of course I accepted his invitation, the prince taking his place amongst the audience; and when it was over he shook me warmly by the hand, and wished me God's richest blessing on my way."

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