Daily Reform, Day 66
Galatians 2:2 & 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
From the Reformer
Not that Paul himself ever thought he had run in vain. However, many did think that Paul had preached the Gospel in vain, because he kept the Gentiles free from the yoke of the Law. The opinion that obedience to the Law was mandatory unto salvation was gaining ground. Paul meant to remedy this evil. By this conference he hoped to establish the identity of his Gospel with that of the other apostles, to stop the talk of his opponents that he had been running around in vain.
—Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians
Pulling It Together
Paul’s letters show that he was concerned with fruitless labor. He was concerned about preaching in vain, yes. But his concern with the Galatians was that they may have believed in God’s grace vainly, disbelieving the gospel by going to a works-based religion. So Paul appeals to a seemingly higher authority than himself. Since the lawmongers who sought to invalidate the gospel had already appealed to the Apostles in Jerusalem, Paul reminded the Galatians that these very same Apostles had sanctioned the gospel that Paul preached to them. Not that this would stop his detractors but he hoped it would help the Galatians keep the faith.
At the end of the day, it is up to us to simply believe. Sometimes the tendency in the church is to get caught up in squabbles and therefore lose sight of that which is “of first importance.” (1Co15:3). Is this squabble about Jesus or is it about me? Is this argument about Jesus or is it about some tradition? Is my religion about my works or the work Jesus did for me? Is it about Jesus or is it about being right? Always appeal to the authority of Jesus and you will not go wrong.
© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reform: Devotions with the Reformers