Saturday, 13 February 2016
…to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, Galatians 1:16
The words “to reveal His Son in me” refer to the calling of Paul through God’s grace. It was this calling that was intended to accomplish exactly that. Paul had fought against Christ by fighting against His church, but God intended to reveal Him to Paul in an act of grace and with the intent that he “might preach among the Gentiles.”
He was uniquely qualified to accomplish this. His attitude, demeanor, learning of Scripture, language abilities, and so much more made him the logical (and even perfect) choice to become the Apostle to the Gentiles. The other apostles could not grasp that this message would go out to the Gentile world. Passages such as Acts 11:18, and the general idea which brought about the Council in Jerusalem in Acts 15, show that there was continued resistance to the truth of the gospel as it was understood by Paul. Peter will also show this resistance in Chapter 2 of Galatians.
But Paul, well trained in the Hebrew Scriptures, was able to pull out the pertinent verses and passages from those same Scriptures to see that how God would work in the Gentiles was how He had actually worked all along. All of his writings methodically show the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith, and they meticulously rely on the very Hebrew Scriptures which he had been so well trained in.
For this reason he says, “I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood.” Rather than relying on the doctrines of man, he determined to immediately turn away from such fallible resources and devote himself further to comprehending the great body of Scripture which he was already well trained in. He would do it without presupposition or the weakened, fallible interpretation of man. Instead, he would do it with the leading of the Holy Spirit who gave the Scriptures to man in the first place.
The term “flesh and blood” is used four times in the New Testament, and each time it is connected to a hint of either human weakness or ignorance. In contrast to this is the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit. A good example is found in Matthew 16:17 –
“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.'”
As he has been doing thus far, he is showing the supremacy of the gospel he preached over the fallible and misguided path those in Galatia had chosen to follow by listening to the false apostles. Scripture can be twisted by any fallible human to produce the most wretched of heresies. But the Holy Spirit will reveal the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who are willing to put aside biases, presuppositions, and lies in order to hold fast to what is properly revealed concerning Christ Jesus.
Life application: Paul’s words are clear and concise, but they are often twisted by those who have a perverse agenda. Peter mentions exactly this in 2 Peter 3:14-16. Never trust the interpretation of man without checking and rechecking what you have been taught.
Heavenly Father, learning the Bible isn’t easy. So many commentaries disagree in their interpretation of verses and passages. So many pastors and preachers claim that others are preaching heresy, implying that they are preaching the truth. But what if they are the heretics? The world is full of trolls, antagonists, and deceitful liars concerning your word. And so Lord, I must come to You and ask that You lead me to proper teachers. And help me to be discerning over the doctrine I assimilate. My heart is set on You, but my level of knowledge is limited. Guide me and protect me from that which is false. Amen.