A Solemn Agreement

by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

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The Apostle Paul, referring to his journey to Jerusalem to tell the apostles and elders there about the good news that had been committed to him, says:

“And I went up by revelation and COMMUNICATED UNTO THEM THAT GOSPEL WHICH I PREACH AMONG THE GENTILES, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain… And when James, Cephas [Peter] 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 [Gentiles, nations], and they unto the Circumcision [Israel]” (Gal. 2:2-9).

Here, by solemn agreement, Peter, James and John promised publicly to confine their ministry to Israel while Paul went to the Gentiles with his “gospel of the grace of God.” This is striking in view of the fact that the twelve, not Paul, had originally been sent into all the world.

Were they all out of the will of God in making this agreement? By no means! Subsequent revelation proves that they were all very much in the will of God and that with the rejection of Christ God had ushered in a new program.

In the light of these Scriptures it is difficult to understand how anyone can argue that Paul’s ministry was merely a perpetuation of that of the twelve, or that “the gospel of the kingdom” and “the gospel of the grace of God” are identical.

If the above passage teaches anything clearly, it teaches the unique character of Paul’s apostleship and message. The Apostle devotes almost two chapters of his letter to the Galatians to the fact that he had not received his message from the twelve, but rather had communicated to the twelve.

He stresses the fact that those who had first been sent to all nations, “beginning at Jerusalem,” had now, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, agreed to turn over their Gentile ministry to him that he might proclaim far and wide “the gospel of the grace of God,” as found in Eph. 2:8,9 and Rom. 3:24.

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.

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