God's Gospel
Galatians 1
Let the Gospel become so much more valuable to us. For it is constantly being tampered with by people who want to please man.
Published October 8th, 2018; Updated October 8th, 2018
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Galatians 1
Please give constructive criticism
I Paul, am God's chosen apostle. I pray that our God would bless you. Why on earth are you leaving God's Gospel that I have given you?
Galatians 1
Galatians 1:1-24
Paul, an a apostle—
b not from men
nor through man,
but c through Jesus Christ
and God the Father,
d who raised him from the dead—
and all e the brothers 1 who are with me,
To f the churches of Galatia:
g Grace to you and peace
h from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ,
i who gave himself for our sins
to deliver us from the present j evil age,
according to the will of k our God and Father,
to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
I am astonished
that you are l so quickly deserting m him who called you in the grace of Christ
and are turning to n a different gospel—
o not that there is another one,
but p there are some who trouble you
and want to distort the gospel of Christ.
But even if we or q an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you,
r let him be accursed.
As we have said before,
so now I say again:
If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received,
r let him be accursed.
Identical statment
For am I now seeking the approval of man,
or of God?
Or am I trying s to please man?
If I were still trying to please man,
I would not be a t servant 1 of Christ.
For u I would have you know, brothers,
that v the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. 1
w For I did not receive it from any man,
nor was I taught it,
but I received it
x through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
For you have heard of y my former life in Judaism,
how z I persecuted the church of God violently
and tried to destroy it.
And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people,
so extremely a zealous was I for b the traditions of my fathers.
But when he
c who had set me apart d before I was born, 1
and who e called me by his grace,
was pleased to reveal his Son to 1 me,
in order f that I might preach him among the Gentiles,
I did not immediately consult with anyone; 2
nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me,
but I went away into Arabia,
and returned again to Damascus.
Then g after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas
and remained with him fifteen days.
But I saw none of the other apostles except James h the Lord’s brother.
(In what I am writing to you, i before God, I do not lie!)
j Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.
And I was still unknown in person to k the churches of Judea that are in Christ.
They only were hearing it said,
“He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.”
And they glorified God because of me.
Vs 1 Pauls call to be an apostle was not a self-declared mantle, but was rather placed upon him by God: who raised Jesus from the dead. This is actually very significant for Paul to establish. The Galatians need to understand that this is GOD's word and not just a man-made letter. See vs. 11-16 , 1 and 2 Corinthians 1:1, 1 and 2 Timothy 1:1 Ephesians 1:1 Collosians 1:1 Titus 1:1 Romans 1:1 Vs 2 All of those who were with Paul are also behind this letter
Vs 3 It is completely Biblical to pray to God for more Grace and Peace. In this context Grace obviously isn't speaking of saving grace but rather of supernatural strengthening in our spiritual walk. ( See Acts 4:33, 6:8, Romans 12:6, 15:15, 2 Corinthians 7:1-2; 8:7; 9:8, 14; 12:9, Ephesians 3:2 , 7 , 8) God can grant us as believers greater "Grace" in order for us to be empowered to love Him and others even more. 2 Peter 3:18 says, "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ..." We are supposed to grow in Grace and in the Knowledge of Christ( ie. knowing God) God wants us to pray for Grace over ourselves and the rest of the Church. Paul is praying that God would release grace to them so that they may walk in even deeper love and truth for him. Vs 4 This Grace comes only from our Heavenly Father and His son Jesus. This Jesus gave himself up freely for our sins so that we might be saved from this world that is filled with unrighteousness. We live in evil times and we needed a redeemer who would come down to our rescue. Even though he chose of his own will to come he also walked in in perfect obedience to God the Father's will. He freely chose to obey God's will. He wasn't forced to and didn't need any persuasion. He loves us. Vs 5 God is worthy of all glory forever and ever. We will worship Him as long as we live and into eternity, because of all the good thing he has done for us. ( Ephesians 2:6-7 ) We will never exhaust ourselves in eternity as we respond to the revelation of His amazing kindness towards us through Christ sacrifice.
Vs 6 Paul is shocked at the deception that has come upon the Galatians. He describes following a different Gospel as, "deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ". Following a different Gospel is deserting God. This is very serious. God's "Good News" is never to be tampered with. The Gospel is a non-negotiable. To turn from the Bible's teaching on it is to turn from God. God has called us by the Grace that comes through Jesus. Why would we turn from him who loved us and called us to be holy and beloved people? Why would we turn to "works of the law" when we were called by grace? We weren't called because of our so-called "good deeds"! Vs 7 Now obviously we know that there aren't many Gospels. We can't pick and chose which Gospel we want to hold to. There is only one true Gospel! (Acts 4:12) It is not an interchangeable doctrine. There is in the secular world a heart position that resists dogma as if it is oppressive. Although there are some things which we shouldn't be dogmatic about there must be something dogmatic in this world. There must be truth. Something we can believe with certainty. This is the Gospel. A rock solid foundation that we can build upon.( 1 Corinthians 3:11 ) Jesus is the only one. Paul is hitting hard on this so that that the Galatians realize that they have turned away from the truth. There are people who come into the Church and trouble them. They are disturbers. The may look like really good Bible teachers, but really they just distort the Gospel. The last days are characterized with such people. (Matthew 24:11, 7:15, 24:24, 2 Timothy 4:3-4) There will be false teachers. It isn't just a probability. Jesus and Paul make it extremely clear that this will characterize. the "Last Days" Distorting the Gospel is not a small issue.
Vs 8 Paul makes a really drastic statement to show how serious it is. Even if Michael the Archangel would tell someone a distortion of the Gospel he would be accursed. A heavenly Angel getting cursed? What!? If even Paul were to all of sudden start changing what he first preached, then he too would be accursed. Vs 9 He says pretty much the exact same thing again to really get this point across. The Gospel doesn't change even if the person who told you the truth at first changes it. People's opinions may change, but God's word doesn't. Distorting God's Gospel is distorting the way people view God and leads to deception. Paul, couldn't care less about anybody's credentials. If they don't preach the true Gospel then they put themselves under God's wrath.
Vs 10 Who is the Gospel supposed to please? Man or God? If it was made by man then it would need to please man. But, if we are trying to please man then we can't be servants of Christ. A servant seeks to please his master and no one else. (see Romans 1:1, Ephesians 3:1-7) God called Paul to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. He set him apart. How could Paul possibly live now to please man when it was God who called him and set him apart by grace?(see vs 15) Vs 11 Paul tells them why he can't please man while being Christ's servant. Because the Gospel he preached was not man's Gospel Vs 12 The Gospel didn't come from any man! Paul did not receive it from any man, but from a revelation of Jesus Christ. WOW! The Gospel is God's. To try and change and pervert it is to desert him by being man-pleasers. The Gospel is a God-pleasing and God-glorifying message. Its boast is only in God and not one bit in any manly effort. We would be wise to take this to heart. How do we portray the Gospel as a Church and as individuals? Are we pleasing man or God? If we are pleasing man then it is not the Gospel.
Vs 13 Paul had been a very zealous Pharisee. He hated the Church. His goal was to destroy it by fiercely persecuting them. He obviously thought that God was on his side and that he was purging evil from their midst. The Church was heretical in his eyes. ( see Acts 8:1-3 and Acts 9:1-2,13,21 ) He was raging against them. Vs 14 This pleased many of His leaders and caused him to advance in Judaism beyond anyone that was his own age. He was at the top his game. He was zealous for the traditions of His fathers. He may have seen himself as a "Phinehas" who had great zeal for God's honour and was willing to go to great lengths.(see Numbers 25:11-13 ) What could change this man?
Vs 15 God had set Paul apart before he was born. What!? This man was a violent persecutor of the Church. He hated the Church.(see Isaiah 49:1 , 5 ; Jeremiah. 1:5 ; Luke 1:15 ) Before he was conceived God looked at him and said, "I choose that man to bring the Light of the Gospel to the Gentiles." Talk about God's sovereign work in salvation. ( see Romans 1:1, Acts 9:14-16, Ephesians 3:7) God used Paul in his sovereign plan of spreading the Gospel of Christ to all people. Thank you God! God called him by His Grace that comes through Jesus Christ. Not because of his works, obviously. God didn't look at how good of a Pharisee he was and then think to Himself, "Wow, that guy really deserves to be saved". In fact Jesus asks Paul in Acts 9:4, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” God is rich in Grace and always gives it to undeserving sinners. Vs 16 God in his great mercy and love reveals Jesus Christ the Risen Lord to Paul so that he would preach the Gospel to the gentiles. God saved him for so much more than just his individual salvation. The same goes for us. Such grace was lavished upon Him while he was so ignorant of the truth.
Vs 16-17 Surprisingly Paul doesn't go and talk to the Apostles in Jerusalem about the revelation that he received. Why wouldn't he? Was he scared? Did he need to process what he had seen? Maybe he needed to search the scriptures to understand more of his experience. Instead he goes to Arabia and then heads back to to Damascus. It could be that he saw ample opportunity to preach to gentiles there. Vs 18-20 Then Paul heads up to Jerusalem after three years of being in Arabia and Damascus. His purpose was to visit Cephas (AKA- Apostle Peter). He was there for 15 days. Now Paul didn't go there for some light fellowship. I think its very fair to think that they had very serious discussion about his conversion and about their experiences of seeing the risen Lord. Paul probably hoped to meet all the Apostles, but he only saw Peter and James; who is Jesus' brother. Paul puts God as his witness to the truth of what he is saying. He wants only what God approves of. He doesn't want fake and manmade stories. He is still just as zealous for truth. Vs 21-24 Then Paul went to Syria and Cilicia. Believers in Judea hadn't even seen Him. He wasn't wanting to be popular. All we wanted to know was that He was preaching the same Gospel. Yet, they still knew that he had been radically converted and was now preaching Jesus Christ. Wow, what relief and thankfulness they must have felt. Pauls story caused them to glorify God and thats what is important. Paul's life was a trophy of God. His conversion showed how merciful and gracious God is.
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.