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February 6, 2012

Back to Basics

Part Seven

Gospel as Revelation

Galatians 1:11-12

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Eternal Life

    Paul has reviewed the spiritual problems plaguing the Galatian assemblies.  He declared that he preached to please God alone, and not men.   Paul focused upon the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who rescued us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom belongs all the glory forever.  Paul approached the entire discussion based upon his personal relationship with the Galatians.  He brought the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them.  He knows their background, and now he compares the true Gospel of Jesus Christ with all the fake teachings.  Paul never rested his preaching upon the wisdom of man, but squarely upon the revelation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which he received directly from God.  Today we will study the Bible, and see that the Gospel of Jesus Christ came to us, through the apostles and prophets of the New Testament, as a direct revelation from God.

For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.

Galatians 1:11

      Not according to Man.   In Galatians 1:11, Paul explained the origin of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  By origin, he meant the source of the truth he preached to them.  Please keep in mind that false teachers were pointing to the Old Testament, and claimed that one must keep the Old Testament laws to go to heaven.  Paul’s opponents claimed the authority of God in the Old Testament to impose those requirements.  On a deeper level, however, Paul also showed that the false teachers were preaching a gospel different from the Gospel of Jesus Christ presented by Paul.  Paul preached that only salvation by faith in Christ Jesus would save a person from their sins.  Never think that this salvation by faith alone was a new idea, unknown in the Old Testament.  In Romans 4:1-25, Paul explained that both Abraham and David were saved from their sins by faith alone, and Abraham lived before the law was given to Moses.  The mystery of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was known in the Old Testament, but the full details of that mystery were not revealed through the prophets and apostles until after Christ took flesh, was crucified, resurrected, and ascended (Romans 16:25-27).  In keeping with Paul’s emphasis upon his apostleship as sent by God, and not by man, Paul told the Galatians that the Gospel of Jesus Christ did not come from any man, but from God.  Paul did not receive this Gospel of Jesus Christ from the apostles in Jerusalem, but directly from God.  This claim shows that God, in His infinite wisdom, revealed the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a Jewish man, born again by the power of God.  As a Jew, Paul hated Christ and His church, but Paul did not know Christ until Christ revealed Himself to Paul on the Damascus road.  This direct contact with the risen Christ characterized Paul’s life and his message.

For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

Galatians 1:12

       Not from Man.  In Galatians 1:12, Paul plainly stated that the Gospel of Jesus Christ did not come from man.  No man delivered the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Paul.  Think about this claim and compare it to your life.  Each of us received the Gospel from some preacher, friend, relative, missionary, or other person.  Of course, as we have just seen, we know the Gospel of Jesus Christ came originally from God, but some messenger preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ to us, and so faith came by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ (Romans 10:16-17).  Paul proclaimed here that the he did not receive the Gospel from any man, and the implications of that turns out to be enormous.  Because Paul did not walk through Israel and Judah with Jesus, and travel those long dusty roads in the company of the twelve disciples, Paul did not feel a drop of peer pressure from them, or anyone else.  Paul knew that the Gospel of Jesus Christ came directly from Jesus, after His resurrection.  In His deep wisdom, God had the twelve apostles proclaiming to the Jews the message of salvation, but God chose another man, a devout Jew, at first a persecutor of the church, to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles. 

      Not Taught It.  As Paul continued to describe the origin of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Paul told the Galatians that he was not taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Again, Paul makes a dramatic point about the relationship of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all other false teachings and false gospels.  All false teachings and false gospels were taught by men and come from men.  No man taught Paul the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  For each of us, we received the Gospel of Jesus Christ after some believer told us about the facts of the Gospel: Jesus Christ lived, died for sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried and He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).  Neither the twelve apostles, nor any other man, taught Paul those truths.  Paul received direct revelation from God about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I am struck by the power and wisdom of the plan of God.  Jesus chose twelve disciples to be with Him as He travelled all over Israel and Judah, but Paul was not among that group.  God had other plans.  Because of the problems with the theological temptation to base salvation upon keeping the Old Testament law, God chose to use Paul, more Jewish than most or all other Jews, to proclaim the one and only Gospel of Jesus Christ.  At first, Paul did not know Peter, James and the other apostles.  He did not receive teaching from them about salvation.  Paul received the Gospel of Jesus Christ directly from God, without any human instruments in between.  This direct connection made all the difference in the way Paul received the Gospel of Jesus Christ and preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ, even when Paul would oppose the hypocrisy of Peter, as Paul described later in Galatians.

      A Revelation of Jesus Christ.  Literally, the  word revelation (“ἀποκαλύψεως”) means to appear, to manifest, to display something previously hidden.  In this case, Jesus Christ revealed the Gospel of Jesus Christ directly to Paul.  When Paul confronted the Galatians with their desertion of Christ, Paul did so on the basis that he knew supernaturally the origin of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Paul did not get the Gospel from studying the Old Testament, or listening to the apostles, or hearing from a missionary.  On the contrary, Paul received revelation directly from Christ.  Our faith rests upon revelation alone.  Our faith resides in the person of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  Paul will develop this theme of direct revelation from God in the following passage, and how his direct revelation from Jesus Christ became the basis for preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Today, we do not need further revelation of God concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because He has already provided the complete revelation to Paul and the other authors of Scripture (Hebrews 1:1-4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).  Paul knew that the Galatians had deserted Jesus, by following false teachings about a fake gospel, which was no gospel at all.  Paul knew about the problems because he knew the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, and anyone appearing and proclaiming a different gospel must  be accursed.

        So we learn more about the revelation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ today.

    ●  The Gospel of Jesus Christ rests upon revelation, not clever teaching or the traditions of men.

    ●  Today, we preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, revealed directly by Jesus Christ.

    ●  God intended for us to know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ came to us by revelation from Him, and it does not come from man.   

Application for Today

     As I walk through life today, I know the Gospel of Jesus Christ came by revelation directly to Paul.  He proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by the power of Jesus Christ, so that I may have continuing faith in Jesus Christ for every aspect of my life.  Will you be living in the revelation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ today?