“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” (Galatians 2:9).
When Paul shared his new message of grace with the leaders of the twelve apostles, it seemed that James, Peter and John were going to be pillars. That is, it seemed like they wouldn’t receive his new message, that instead they were each going to be as immoveable as a pillar when it came to acknowledging it.
That’s the way the word “pillar” is used in Revelation 3:12, where we read that God will take those who overcome the temptation to take the mark of the beast and make each one a pillar, a permanent part of His temple, the living temple made up of believers (cf. Amos 9:11,12). In that same sense of the word pillar, James, Peter and John looked like they would permanently resist Paul’s new message, and cling to the truth the Lord had given them for the dispensation that was passing away.
By the way, that’s how you should be about the truth that God has given you. You should cling to it with all your might. You know, the way Peter clung to the truth God had given him in the Law when the Lord surprised him with a command to eat unclean animals. Peter replied, “Not so, Lord” (Acts 10:14). He stood there arguing with the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, standing his ground, saying, “Your Word says I can’t eat unclean animals.” Now, if he put up that kind of fight with the Lord, imagine the battle he gave Paul over something new! I expect that ol’ boy gave Paul the fight of his life. “What do you mean there’s an entire new program called the mystery that the prophets knew nothing about?” (cf. Ephesians 3:1-9).
And listen, he was 100% right to do so. That’s the way you should be about the truth that God has given you through Paul, because Paul says the church of which you are a part is “the pillar and ground of the truth” (I Tim. 3:15). When someone attacks the truth, you need to give him the fight of his life. Graciously, of course! (II Tim. 2:24,25). If Stonewall Jackson stood like a stone wall in the onslaught of enemy opposition, you should too. God help us to be like Jeremiah, whom God made “an iron pillar…against the whole land” (Jeremiah 1:18,19). When the dust of this life settles and eternity begins, it will be all that will have mattered.
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.