Galatians 2:10

Lemmons LinesREMEMBER THE POOR (Galatians 2:10)

by David Lemmons

There are three main sections of chapter two of Galatians: (1) Paul’s Defense of his Apostleship–2:1-9; (2) Paul Openly Rebukes Peter–2:11-14; and (3) The Contrast of Two Systems: Freed from Law and Justified By Faith–2:15-21.  In between the first two of these divisions verse 10 (which is really a part of Paul’s defense of his apostleship), is presented as an important challenge to all Christians.  We are to REMEMBER THE POOR!

REMEMBER THE POOR!  Paul wrote, in Galatians 2:9-10–“And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.  10 Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.” Paul was pointing out that the “PILLARS” at Jerusalem did not add one thing to the message which he and Barnabas were preaching.
His argument was that his message came to him from Jesus Christ, and not from any other.  But along with the emphasis given to the divine origin of Paul’s message, and as a part of it, was the charge to REMEMBER THE POOR.

REMEMBER THE POOR!  The POOR in this context would have been the poor saints of Judea.  It was not necessary for Paul to be instructed in the importance of such a charge for a number of reasons.  First of all, as we will notice shortly, the Old Testament scriptures [with which Paul was intimately familiar] are filled with references to such a duty.  Many provisions are made in the word of God for the care of the poor.  But not only so, Paul knew about the monumental task of bringing Jew and Gentile together in Christ, considering the enmity which had long characterized their interactions.  Paul knew that collecting funds from the Gentiles to assist the poor saints of Judea (Jews), would be most helpful in uniting the two as the gospel message demanded (Gal 3:28).  We will want to come back to this point as we conclude this article.

REMEMBER THE POOR!  Let’s notice some of what the Lord has revealed to us about remembering the poor.  It is stated that God regards the poor equally with the rich (Job 34:19).  The fact is that both poor and rich are the product of His hands.  Most people, if honest, will have to acknowledge that the rich are given more attention and respect than the poor.  God’s word recognizes that such can even be a problem as we assemble for worship (James 2:1-8).  These kinds of discrimination are not well pleasing to the Lord, nor are they Christ-like.

REMEMBER THE POOR!  Why?  Because God does not forget the poor (Ps 9:18).
Even if every single one of us forgets the poor and ignores this exhortation of Galatians 2:10, the poor will not be forgotten.  Can we not see that one of the purposes of God’s word is His revelation of Himself to us.  How thankful must we be to have such a written revelation which guides us to know what pleases and displeases our God!  If we are to be pleasing to God, we must notice, pay attention to, the things that are characteristic of God.  We are like God whenever we remember the poor.

REMEMBER THE POOR!  Why?  Because God maintains the right of the poor (Ps 140:12).  For you or me to go up against the poor by disrespecting them or in some way abusing them, is for us to go up against the One Who maintains their right.  Shall we find ourselves fighting against God?

REMEMBER THE POOR!  Why?  Because God delivers the poor (Job 36:15; Ps 35:10).  Would we yield ourselves to be used by the Lord for the noble purpose of delivering the poor?  Likely we all can look around us and find both those in relation to whom we find ourselves to be rich and poor in the world’s standard of measuring such.  How important is it to be understanding and compassionate and teamed with God in helping to relieve those less fortunate then we?  Really, how important is it to ME?  When occasion arises that we can be used to help in delivering the poor, do we seize upon them, or let them pass?  Further, do we search out such opportunities?

REMEMBER THE POOR!  Why?  Because God exalts the poor (1 Sam 2:8; Ps 107:41).  In Hannah’s beautiful prayer to the Lord, she exalts Him with marvelous praise by drawing a strong contrast between the supposed mighty men and the Almighty God of heaven, who lifts the poor from the dunghill and exalts them as princes.  Should we have concern for the poor?  God does and it matters not what we have in this world’s goods, we owe it all to God (Js 1:17).

Now, let’s think back to one of the reasons Paul would have had no problem with the exhortation to remember the poor.  He knew the expression of concern and caring would have an impact on the uniting of Jew and Gentile.  Does it not make perfectly good since that we might use the same reasoning today?  You see, the sins of men have separated them from God (Isa 59:1-2).  They have a need of hearing the saving message of the gospel, and then obeying that message.  How do we get their ears?  How do we help them to listen to the message?  One powerful way is to REMEMBER THE POOR!  A powerful aid in our efforts to evangelize will be remembering the poor.  In doing so, we align ourselves with a caring and loving God who has always REMEMBERED THE POOR!

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A FALSE View of Truth

Lemmons Lines

A FALSE VIEW OF TRUTH: “That It Can Change”

by David Lemmons

Paul wrote in Galatians 1:8–“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” This letter of Paul was addressed to the churches of the region of Galatia.  The people of this region were mainly Gauls (French).  We can better understand what Paul has written in this section if we consider something of the character of these Christians.

Julius Caesar said about these people: “THE INFIRMITY OF THE GAULS IS THAT THEY ARE FICKLE IN THEIR RESOLVES AND FOND OF CHANGE, AND NOT TO BE TRUSTED.” There are other quotes from other sources which recognize this general trait or characteristic which had been observed historically.  It seems to be generally true that this was an identifiable trait of this group of people in that period of time.  This relates to the statement of Paul in verse six that he MARVELED that they were so soon removed from the teaching he had done while in their midst.  The fickleness, or the idea of being fond of change, may help to explain why they had so quickly been drawn away from Paul’s true teaching to another gospel.

The Galatian people had accepted Paul and had received the commands and instructions which he presented to them from the Lord.  They had done so with confidence at first.  An indication of this is seen in Galatians 4:14-15–“And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.  15 Where is then the blessedness ye spake of?  for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.” They were so receptive when Paul was among them that they seemed to him to be willing to sacrifice to a very large degree in order to be helpful to him, who had taught them the truth.

The sad thing is, and the thing which made Paul marvel, is that when the Judaizing teachers had come to them with a perverted and valueless substitute for the gospel, requiring them to be circumcised, they also received that perverted gospel.  Paul therefore writes this letter in order to overcome the influence of these false teachers and to establish his apostleship.  Paul very plainly and forcefully states that NO ONE has the authority to preach any gospel other than that which has been revealed.

In verse eight Paul writes: “But though we, or an angel from heaven…”  Paul here supposes an impossibility in order to make his point to these brethren.  Paul uses the word angel to make a very strong point that it matters not WHO it is that preaches a perverted gospel.  This very concise statement will include all men, even Paul himself.

He continues: “…should preach any other gospel unto you…” That would specifically be any gospel not dependent upon the grace of God.  Those Judaizing teachers tried to make salvation dependent upon the fleshly covenant of circumcision.  Others may make different changes, but none of the changed gospels is to be accepted.  At the beginning, near the middle, and at the ending of God’s written revelation to man, He makes clear that no additions nor subtractions are to be allowed (Deut 4:2; Prov 30:6; Rev 22:18-19).  Jude 3 makes plain that the gospel has now been once and for all delivered.

And Paul continues by writing: “…than that which we preached unto you…” Paul preached the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor 15:1-5).  He preached belief in and confession of Christ (Rom 10:9-10).  He preached repentance from sin (Acts 17:30).  Paul preached baptism INTO Christ (Gal 3:27).  He preached that submission to the gospel of Christ makes a “new creature” (2 Cor 5:17).  The gospel Paul preached was a distinctive one and a universal one that could be understood easily!

Paul wrote for that one who makes changes in the gospel he preached: “…let him be anathema…” Paul devotes any who would pervert the gospel of Christ to destruction.  Consider some of the many passages from God’ s revelation about the utterly repulsive nature of false teaching (Jer 23:2; 50:6; Titus 1:10-11; Rom 16:17-18; 2 Jn 9-11; Mt 7:22-23).  Paul uses a very strong term in this verse to indicate the greatest possible abhorrence of any attempt to pervert the gospel of Christ.  Any person who would be a teacher of God’s word certainly ought to have this passage before him constantly.

There is BUT ONE GOSPEL.  It is not possible to preach a changed gospel and still be pleasing to God.  We need to understand clearly that a solemn and serious responsibility rests upon the shoulders of all who would teach the word of God (James 3:1).

Brethren, today there is great pressure to change with the changing times.  There are very many people who are quite willing to listen to perverted messages.  Let us be the ones who shun all such perverted gospels.  Let us be the ones who are in opposition to these twisted messages, rather than being the ones to praise and give thanks for them.  Paul’s warning to his Galatian brethren in the first century is indeed one that deserves another hearing TODAY!  Let us hear it well.