February 21 I Friday
“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
Before we even reach the heart of Paul’s letter to the Galatians, we are already compelled by Paul’s defence that there is no other gospel. Even though the adversary will always try to confuse, pervert and twist Scripture, it is false news if it is anything plus Christ. Paul warns the churches of Galatia, if anyone were to preach a different gospel to them for that person to be accursed. Why was Paul able to speak with such authority about the Judaizers and about the gospel reality that the Mosaic Law is irrelevant? Because he was one of them.
Paul was more Jewish than any other Jews; he was a Pharisee. He had given his life to the Mosaic Law, where he was blameless according to the Law. He rested all his hope on his faithful obedience. In fact, Paul’s deep zealousness motivated him to travel to Damascus with the purpose of persecuting, arresting and putting Christians to death or in prison. It was on the road to Damascus when Jesus appeared before Paul in a brilliant revelation.
Forever ingrained in his heart, that day gave Paul the realization that his hope in the Mosaic Law was fruitless, empty, null and void in comparison to the light of Jesus’s holiness. Paul’s own righteousness was considered filthy rags and he could bring nothing to the table because he himself needed rescuing.
To the Galatians, Paul defends the gospel he preaches is not from human origins but a revelation he received from Jesus Christ. He explains, “…my immediate response was not to consult any human being. I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia” (Galatians 1:16-17). In other words, Paul did not go to Jerusalem after his conversion to meet the apostles. Rather, he tells us, “…after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days” (Galatians 1:18). When Paul finally met Cephas––another name for the apostle Peter––it was confirmed that the gospel Paul was proclaiming was the exact same gospel Peter was also preaching. There was no collusion or discussion between the two men who lived in separate parts of the world. The only way for this to have been possible is that the gospel they both preached is from heaven, revealed by Jesus Christ Himself.
Paul ascribes the ultimate authority of the gospel to God Himself and there is no other gospel apart from it. Doesn’t Paul’s defence just give us comfort? The gospel we believe in is not a story with many variations but one consistent message from heaven.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You that You are a God that never changes and Your gospel remains the same today as it was 2,000 years ago. Praise You!