Monday, 8 February 2016
But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. Galatians 1:11
Paul is now going to defend the message he relayed to the Galatians. In doing so, he calls them “brethren.” The word is not without significance. They had departed from the true gospel and instead started following a false one. And yet, he still acknowledges that they are saved. The term “brethren” shows this. The correction then is for those who follow. If they receive a false gospel, they will never be saved. But the salvation of those who first received the true gospel is not in question.
After Paul pronounced his curse on anyone who would present a false gospel, one contrary to the one he first proclaimed to them, he then followed up with, “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ” (verse 10).
Verse 11 logically follows after that. He has shown that his intent was not to seek the approval of men, but rather God. As he was so motivated, he truly was “a bondservant of Christ.” If so, then what he preaches is logically what was preached to him and it was the message of Christ. It was “not according to man.” This corresponds to what he said in verse 1, and this is the first in a list of arguments that he will make concerning the gospel he preaches. As Charles Ellicott notes –
“The Apostle now enters at length upon his personal defence against his opponents. He does this by means of an historical retrospect of his career, proving by an exhaustive process the thesis with which he starts that the doctrine taught by him comes from a divine source, and possesses the divine sanction. My doctrine is not human, but divine; it could not be otherwise.”
Where his doctrine came from will be discussed throughout the rest of this chapter and also chapter 2. It will not be from his earlier years (studying as a Pharisee). It won’t be from those who were there at his conversion. It also won’t come from the other apostles, as he will defend in his words. In fact, they were unaware of the scope of Paul’s ministry for quite some time. Eventually though, they will acknowledge him as a true apostle and they will confirm his ministry to the Gentiles.
These points, and many others, will be seen in the verses ahead. As the other apostles confirmed his ministry and his apostleship, then it had to have been a gospel which came directly from the Lord. No other source had been a factor in what he preached, and yet he was fully accepted by the church leaders and also by proofs of the Holy Spirit.
Life application: It needs to be asserted and reasserted that if the letters of Paul are dismissed by the church, then there is no Gentile church. Only he carries the message of our being brought into the commonwealth of Israel. Further, if Paul is dismissed, then Luke must be dismissed because Luke testifies of Paul in Acts. If Luke is dismissed, then the Gospel of Luke must be tossed out, and thus the other two synoptic gospels are also in question. Further, Peter speaks of Paul in one of his epistles, confirming Paul’s letters as Scripture. Therefore, Peter must be tossed out. If Peter is tossed out, then John and Jude must also be tossed out as their writings are dependent on the truth of Peter’s apostleship. Therefore, there is no New Testament at all. Either Paul is who he claimed he is, or we have no hope at all. Shun anyone who rejects the gospel which Paul proclaims.
Heavenly Father, there is nothing more wonderful than having the surety that You are right here with us because of the work of Christ. Through Him, we have an eternal hope which transcends the difficulties of this world. Though we may have pains, troubles, trials, and afflictions, we have a greater hope than any of these things. Thank You! Thank You for the surety we possess because of our hope in the resurrection unto eternal life! Amen.