What Does Galatians 2:8 Mean?

(for He who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the Gentiles),

Galatians 2:8(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

All Christ’s chosen apostles were men who accompanied the Lord Jesus from the very beginning, until the day He ascended into heaven. They all witnessed His resurrection and were all men who travelled with Jesus when He started to go in and out among them, during John the Baptist’s ministry - when he challenged the lost sheep of the house of Israel to repent of their sins, for the kingdom of heaven was at hand and their King was in their midst.

There was one apostle, however, who was not with the disciples from the beginning, who justifiably described himself as a being born out of time. That man was the apostle Paul. Although he did not meet with the resurrected Lord Jesus before He ascended into heaven, Paul was a chosen instrument of the Lord Jesus.

The resurrected Lord Jesus appeared to Paul on that road to Damascus – thus fulfilling the biblical basis for apostleship. The biblical criteria for true apostleship is to have met the risen, ascended, glorified Lord Jesus. And Paul was personally commissioned by Jesus to be His chosen apostle.

Paul always referred to himself as the least of the apostles, because he had persecuted Jesus, by hunting-down Christians to the death – binding and putting both men and women into prisons. But God, in His grace arrested Paul on his murderous journey, that day, and brought this arrogant Pharisee to his knees – when he met JESUS face to face.

Saul of Tarsus became Paul the Apostle of Christ, after Jesus met and commissioned him, for His own service. Paul was a chosen instrument of Christ, who was to bear His name to the Gentile. He was commissioned to preach to kings and to princes, as well as  to Gentiles and the sons of Israel.

Paul was entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised and is often referred to as ‘the Apostle to the Gentiles’, while Peter received a responsibility towards the circumcised – i.e. the Jews.

It was in his letter to the Galatians that Paul laid great emphasis on his apostolic calling, because these Galatian believers were perverting the gospel of Christ by reverting to Judaism and placing themselves back under the Law of Moses.

They also challenged Paul’s calling, his apostleship and the revelations he had received from Christ, because his gospel conflicted with their biased thinking. This required Paul to emphasise his calling and God-given authority. Paul explained that He (the Holy Spirit of God) Who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised,  effectually worked in ME also to the Gentiles).

Paul wanted to make it clear that the same Spirit of God who had empowered Peter for his God-authorised apostleship among the Jews is the same Holy Spirit Who was working powerfully in his own ministry and apostleship to Gentile believers.

Just because Paul may not have appeared to be deserving of the high office to which he was called, or that certain men disapproved of him, does not revoke his responsibility. Paul’s biblical authority is not invalidated, because others are prejudiced against him, have misgivings about him or are jealous of his ministry.

All believers are given gifts and graces, roles and responsibilities but not all vessels are used for the same purpose and not all Christians are required to participate in ministries that meet with our approval! What each one of us is to do is to remain faithful to the work that God has called us to do. We are to use the gifts and graces that we have been given in the service of God and we are to live our Christian lives in a manner that honours the Lord, as laid out in Scripture.

May we seek to be faithful in our service and give Christian encouragement to others in the God-given ministries with which we have been entrusted. May we redeem the time we have left on this earth so that God is glorified through us, and others are encouraged by us. 

May we so grow in grace and walk in spirit and truth, that the Spirit of God may work effectually through us, for His praise and glory – in the place where God has chosen to plant us. 

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the ministries of Peter and Paul and for all those whom You have used to pen the scripture. Thank You for those that have helped and encouraged me in my own Christian walk and I pray that I may carry out the work You have prepared for me to do, to Your greater praise and glory – this I ask in Jesus name AMEN.

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