GALATIANS‬ ‭2:1-10‬‬‬

“Then fourteen years later I went back to Jerusalem again, this time with Barnabas; and Titus came along, too. I went there because God revealed to me that I should go. While I was there I met privately with those considered to be leaders of the church and shared with them the message I had been preaching to the Gentiles. I wanted to make sure that we were in agreement, for fear that all my efforts had been wasted and I was running the race for nothing. And they supported me and did not even demand that my companion Titus be circumcised, though he was a Gentile. Even that question came up only because of some so-called believers there—false ones, really—who were secretly brought in. They sneaked in to spy on us and take away the freedom we have in Christ Jesus. They wanted to enslave us and force us to follow their Jewish regulations. But we refused to give in to them for a single moment. We wanted to preserve the truth of the gospel message for you. And the leaders of the church had nothing to add to what I was preaching. (By the way, their reputation as great leaders made no difference to me, for God has no favorites.) Instead, they saw that God had given me the responsibility of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as he had given Peter the responsibility of preaching to the Jews. For the same God who worked through Peter as the apostle to the Jews also worked through me as the apostle to the Gentiles. In fact, James, Peter, and John, who were known as pillars of the church, recognized the gift God had given me, and they accepted Barnabas and me as their co-workers. They encouraged us to keep preaching to the Gentiles, while they continued their work with the Jews. Their only suggestion was that we keep on helping the poor, which I have always been eager to do.”

Galatians‬ ‭2:1-10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Christian’s often mistake qualifications for calling. This was Paul’s training as well. But the road to Damascus open his eyes to the fact that all his training and work only earned him the wage of death in the sight of God. This led Paul to re-examining the notions of his pharisaical preconceptions. Upon persecution and push back, would Paul return to the way of the Pharisees? Would he rely on a statement of qualifications? No, instead, Paul leans into corroboration of calling. He visits others who are called, for confirmation of his ministry and he unashamedly uses that to help his ministry stand. This is a lesson for the institutionalized Christians of the west. When we are challenged, we can lean on scripture and the body of Christ. We should not be calling back to our “qualifications” as biblical scholars or theologians. Paul understood that the qualifier for calling in this kingdom of God is God’s unique measure of grace, in line with his will. This created a patchwork leadership for a patchwork church, wherein the beauty of the church lies, not simply in a uniform big picture, but in the sinews of the tapestry working together. Paul had transitioned from an exclusive pharisaical leadership to an inclusive grace based team of doctors, tax collectors, Pharisees, fishermen and more. When we are advancing the gospel message, do we rely on grace to carry it, or on our own accolades?

Published by Josh McGary

MY NAME IS JOSH MCGARY. First, I am a Pastor of a small church in Portland, Oregon named Aletheia Bible Fellowship. We call it ABF. I have been a pastor there for the better part of 20 years. I am very eclectic. What I love, I love loudly and immersively. I have notable collections of toys, funko pops, and vinyl. I also infamously love pop culture, comic books, technology, the arts, psychology and philosophy.

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