Galatians 1: No Other Gospel

I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:11-12

Introduction. 1:1-5

Paul immediately affirms his position as an apostle, authenticated and sent by Jesus himself.  He also refutes the moral accusations made against his gospel.  There is no immorality associated with grace.  In fact, Jesus died for our sins to rescue us from the power of that evil which infects human society.

Chapter 1. Paul and His Gospel

No Other Gospel; 1:6-10. Paul uses the word “gospel” some sixty times in his letters.  Six of them are found in this brief paragraph!

The Greek word “gospel” means “good news.”  The earliest presentation of the gospel, found in Acts 2 and 3, emphasizes the historical life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  It shows that all this happened in accordance with OT prophecy and proclaims forgiveness of sin for all who believe in Jesus.  This is the unmixed “gospel of grace” which Paul preached in Galatia and which these new believers “are so quickly deserting”  (Gal. 1:6) for a different and perverted gospel.

The “other gospel” is a mixture of faith and works, of grace and law, taught by Judaizers who insisted that faith in Christ is not sufficient for salvation.  They also taught that faith does not provide sufficient guidance for holy living, and that OT law must be added to Paul’s teaching to complete it.  This issue is not a minor one.  It is so vital to true Christianity that Paul pronounces anathema on those who teach it:  “let anybody preaching a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned” (1:8, 9).

1 Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2 and all the brothers and sisters with me, To the churches in Galatia:

3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!

10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Paul’s Commission –  Called by God; 1:11-24.  One objection to Paul, raised by the Judaizers, was that he head no real authority to present his “incomplete” gospel.  He had never been authenticated by the leadership in Judea.

Paul responds to this argument here, and in chapter 2.  He begins by reviewing his calling.  Paul did not receive the gospel he preached from any man (so obviously no human “authentication” of his authority was possible).  Instead he “received it by revelation from Jesus Christ” (11, 12).  Both his message and his call come direct from God, the highest of all authorities!

[So he didn’t go to a theological seminary and earned a degree.  Dr. or Rev. of something.  But his calling came directly from God, the highest of all authorities.]

After Paul’s conversion he spent time alone, studying out the meaning of Christ’s first coming.  The “revelation” Paul speaks of here may have been Spirit-guided understanding of the OT prophets.

After this, his early contact with the apostles in Judea was a brief visit with James and Peter.  Then Paul returned to Syria, and there boldly preached the gospel of Jesus, whose followers he had once persecuted.  This witness caused only praise in Judea.

11 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

13 For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. 17 I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus.

18 Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother. 20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie.

21 Then I went to Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they praised God because of me.

[Change, conversion and transformation is what Christian faith is all about.  People never change – is what the wisdom of this world says.  But in the Bible, we see not just changes but complete turnaround and transformation of those who got to know Jesus.  His disciples who were petty and selfish in the beginning, his brothers, Apostle Paul, and Mary Magdalene etc.  Their former states no later matter.]

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