Friday, July 14, 2017


Welcome to 1888 Message Study Committee! > Resources > Sabbath School
Insights > 2017 Quarter 3: Jul - Sep >
INSIGHT #3 JULY 15, 2017
JULY 15, 2017

"Till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of
the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the
fullness of Christ;" Eph. 4:13, NKJV.

Our primary passage of consideration this week, found in Galatians
2:1-14, brings out several principles that are essential for unity.
Each of these principles derive from the gospel itself - from the good
news of God's revelation in Christ, and the practical experience
(i.e., commandment keeping) of the Faith of Jesus. The unity of the
gospel is truly unity of the Faith of Jesus. It is what unites the
remnant, following the perfect example of the Lamb, in patient
endurance in the final conflict. This conflict results from the
confused Babylonian denial of a loving Creator which overtly and
covertly promotes "me first" theology, threatening all humanity with
division and destruction. (Rev. 14:1-12)

Divine Direction (vs 1, 2)

Paul exercised the Faith of Jesus by waiting for God to direct him as
to time and place for his work. He went up to Jerusalem because he was
paying close attention to God's voice in the Scriptures and through
the Spirit. The same was true of Christ, who believed and acted on the
prophetic word (Mark 1:14, 15), and was directed in word and action by
the Father through the Spirit (John 14:10-12; Luke 4:1).

Humility (vs 2)

Prior to becoming a power proponent of his understanding of the
gospel, Paul submitted to the scrutiny of those who had the reputation
of personal connection with Christ and the direction of the Spirit. He
had a strong desire to "run with it," but wanted to make sure he was
not running in vain. Christ also had a will to win in His conflict,
but humbly submitted His will to that of the Father all the way to the
cross (Luke 22:42; Phil. 2:5-8)

Freedom (vs 3-5)

Paul understood the freedom that comes in Christ - freedom from
submitting to mere human tradition or expectation. This freedom gave
him understanding of the sneaky methods used to spy out and disrupt
the power of this freedom. Only Christ brings freedom from sin:
"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." John
8:36. Jesus was under the same scrutiny by spies, but used the
Scriptures under the direction of the Spirit to confound their efforts
(Luke 20).

Confidence (vs 6)

Although Paul was willing to submit his understanding and experience
to others of like mind, in no way did he derive his confidence or
assurance from those in authority. His confidence arose from the
understanding that God has no favorites - that in salvation His love
and forgiveness are generated and expressed freely, and that our
acceptance and experience of that love is by free will, and not by
coercion or fear. (Titus 3:3-7; Rom. 3:23, 24; 4:24, 25)

Affirmation (vs 7-9)

Paul's desire to serve in the body of Christ was strengthened and
affirmed by the church leaders of his day, who gave him "the right
hand of fellowship." True unity is based on the recognition and
appreciation of where God is working, even if it is in ways and in
people that stretch our comfort zones. We should affirm and strengthen
those who are thus blessed by the grace of God, regardless of peer
pressure or our own biases. Christ encouraged his disciples in this
vein. (Mark 9:40; Luke 9:50)

Service (vs 10)

The desired result of unity is service, which all who like Paul truly
appreciate the gospel are most eager to do. We love, because we were
first loved. We want what is best for others, as God does for us:
"Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfillment
of the law." (Rom. 13:10) "For even the Son of Man did not come to be
served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." (Mark

Integrity (vs 11-14)

Paul was not afraid to confront even those who had previously affirmed
his calling and mission, when he saw that self-interest was
undermining the gospel. The integrity of the gospel was paramount. Of
course, Jesus also directly confronted hypocrisy. (Matt. 23:13-29;
Mark 7:6) Talk is cheap, if our gospel does not show love in action.
Do we really believe the universal scope of the sacrifice of Christ?
Are we willing to call others to account for a distorted gospel?

"For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One
died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live
should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them
and rose again. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to
the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh,
yet now we know [Him thus] no longer." (2 Cor. 5:14-16)

Why Paul Went Up to Jerusalem. - The record in Acts says that it was
determined at Antioch that Paul and Barnabas and some others should go
up to Jerusalem about this matter. But Paul declares that he went up
'by revelation.' Gal. 2:2. Paul did not go up simply on their
recommendation, but the same Spirit moved both him and them. He did
not go up to learn the truth of the Gospel, but to maintain it. He
went, not to find out what the Gospel really is, but to communicate
the Gospel which he had preached among the heathen. Those who were
chief in the conference imparted nothing to him. He had not been
preaching for seventeen years that of which he stood in doubt. He knew
whom he believed. He had not received the Gospel from any man, and he
did not need to have any man's testimony that it was genuine. When God
has spoken, an endorsement by man is an impertinence.

The Gospel Not Magic. - The great lesson taught by this experience, to
which Paul referred the Galatians, is that there is nothing in this
world that can confer grace and righteousness upon men, and that there
is nothing in the world that any man can do, that will bring
salvation. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation, and not the
power of man. Any teaching that leads men to trust in any object,
whether it be an image, a picture, or anything else, or to trust for
salvation in any work or effort of their own, even though that effort
be directed toward the most praiseworthy object, is a perversion of
the truth of the Gospel, - a false gospel. There are in the church of
Christ no 'sacraments' that by some sort of magical working confer
special grace on the receiver; but there are things that a man who
believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, and who is thereby justified and
saved, may do as an expression of his faith. The only thing in the
world that has any efficacy in the way of salvation, is the life of
God in Christ. 'By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should
boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good
works, which God hath before prepared that we should walk in them.'
Eph. 2:8-10." E. J. WAGGONER. (December 15, 1898 EJW, SITI 788)

~Todd Guthrie


Raul Diaz
[image: https://]