Gospel Fellowship

Daily Reform, Day 87

Galatians 2:9 & 1 John 1:1-4

From the Reformer

As if the apostles had said to him: “We, Paul, do agree with you in all things. We are companions in doctrine. We have the same Gospel with this difference, that to you is committed the Gospel for the uncircumcised, while the Gospel for the circumcision is committed unto us. But this difference ought not to hinder our friendship, since we preach one and the same Gospel.”

—Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians

Pulling It Together

Here is a lesson for today’s Church. Enjoy fellowship with those of the true Gospel. Just because you have been called to preach the Gospel to the poor does not mean you cannot have Christian fellowship with the uptown church. If you have been entrusted with the Gospel, to take it to Americans (who desperately need it), you must also have fellowship with those called to preach to Mexicans.

Too often people misread Galatians, imagining that “the Gospel for the uncircumcised” and “the Gospel for the circumcision” means there are two different gospels: one for Jews and a modified gospel for everyone else. A better reading of Galatians 2:7 is “to the circumcised” instead of “for” or “of.” Confusion carries over into today’s church from a faulty reading of the King James Version. There, it can sound like two different gospels, one for Jews and one for Gentiles since it says “the gospel of the uncircumcision” and “the gospel of the circumcision.” But Paul has already cleared this up when he said there is just one Gospel (Gal 1:6-7).

And since there is only one Gospel, though many different sorts of people who profess it, let us determine to extend “the right hand of fellowship” to those different than us but who believe on him who was taught by the Apostles from the beginning. This teaching states that we are saved by God’s grace through faith alone, not by works of faith. This is the gospel fellowship that sets us free. In this fellowship we not only have fellowship with one another, but also with God.

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reform: Devotions with the Reformers

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