Daily email Number 211 – from the Vicar

We continue our reading of Paul’s letter to the Galatians, today Chapter 2 verses 1 to 10, as Paul continues to make his points about the sufficiency of the gospel, that we are saved by grace through faith and nothing has to be added like circumcision, by writing of his own experience as he met with the other leaders of the early church.
Paul writes of a trip to Jerusalem, maybe the one recorded at the end of Acts Ch.11, or perhaps more likely the one leading to the Conference in Jerusalem in Acts Ch.15.  Firstly Titus, a Gentile companion of Paul’s wasn’t compelled to be circumcised (v.3), but more importantly the leaders of the Jerusalem church, James Peter and John, both recognised that God was at work in Paul’s ministry, and gave him their full support and the ‘right hand of fellowship’ (v.9).  They endorsed the strategy that Peter should in the main concentrate on taking the gospel to the Jews, whilst Paul would concentrate on taking the gospel to the Gentiles, bringing them to faith in Christ, and not making them Jews as well.  
We might think that is all a bit nit-picking, but we must remind ourselves that the Christian community/church was still very young, there was no NT written, and everyone was trying to work out what was essential in the teaching and the practising of the faith, if you were to be a follower of Jesus, whatever your background. Today, we have the Scriptures, brought together by the early church and preserved for us, which records those conclusions, so in one sense we are at an advantage. However, as society and technology move forward we still have to work out what is essential and what is down to individual conscience when it comes to issues of culture or the sexual revolution or the advancement of science etc etc.
We will finish the chapter tomorrow.
From our church address list please remember in your prayers today,- Lynn and Paul- Jason & Corette, Pieter and Zarah.

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