“But from those who were influential (whatever they were makes no difference to me; God shows no favoritism between people ) — those influential leaders added nothing to my message” (Galatians 2:6 NET).
When Paul the Apostle met together with the leaders of the church during his visit to Jerusalem, there were no lengthy debates regarding his theology. There were no disputes concerning his doctrine or quarrels about the message of salvation he brought. These influential leaders found no errors, deficiencies, or questionable beliefs within his teaching. On the contrary, these spiritual authorities had nothing to add to the content of Paul’s message.
It’s likely that these prominent members of the first-century church found it easy to reach that conclusion because they recognized Paul’s gospel message for what it was- the same gospel they had been preaching. This helps us put Paul’s brash response into the proper context: “Those who seemed to be important church leaders did not help me. They did not teach me anything new. What they were, I do not care. God looks on us all as being the same” (NLV).
This was not an expression of disrespect for these prominent leaders but a statement of fact: “These important, influential authorities didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know.” That would serve to counter anyone who sought to mislead the Galatian churches into the belief that Paul’s message differed from the gospel of these other first-century leaders.
It also undermined anyone who peddled the claim that one must follow the Old Testament Law in order to find salvation in Christ. Those who were led to believe that Paul had somehow twisted the other Apostle’s message might be surprised to learn that they all agreed that salvation was only available by God’s grace through faith in Christ alone.
Paul then added this sobering reminder: “…God is not impressed with a man’s office” (Phillips). While every generation features men and women who hold positions of status and power, those appointments may not count for much in eternity. No matter what our station in life, the ultimate question remains the same: did we honor God in those areas of responsibility He allowed us to possess?
In the end, the question will not revolve around who we were but what we were. So in light of those future realities, we would be well advised to live, work, and plan with the understanding that the choices and decisions we make in our areas of responsibility will count for eternity.