No Man’s Gospel
Galatians 1:11-12 (ESV)
For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
How does the manner in which Paul received the Gospel support its validity?
In Acts 9, the apostle Paul was on the road to Damascus. He was such a passionate Pharisee that he didn’t just disagree with Christians, he wanted them imprisoned and even killed. In his mind, he was doing the work of the Lord. But while he was traveling to hunt down Christians in Damascus, Paul experienced a miraculous revelation. The risen Lord Jesus appeared to him on the road and Paul was blinded by the light of His glory and was unable to see for 3 days. After that, the trajectory of his life was changed forever.
In today’s verses, Paul refuted the charge leveled against him that he was a self-appointed apostle. He did not appoint himself. He was divinely appointed by Jesus. He said, “I would have you know, brothers'' meaning, “let me clear this up once and for all—I received the Gospel message through a revelation of Jesus Christ!”
Ironically, the Judaizers accused Paul that he was a self-appointed apostle, but they themselves had turned to a false gospel that was the creation of men! The Judaizers received most of their religious instruction from rabbis and their interpretations of Scripture rather than from Scripture itself. They tried to mix the Gospel of grace with laws and rituals. The Judaizers taught that in order to be truly saved people must observe Jewish practices, especially circumcision. Traditions informed their religious beliefs while Paul and the other apostles were preaching truth that not only corroborated with Scripture but was revealed to them directly by Jesus Christ Himself.
In his commentary on Galatians, John MacArthur pointed out that if man had designed the Gospel, it would have been based on human works rather than on works of God. He wrote: “Man’s sinful pride is offended by the idea that only God’s mercy and grace can save him from sin, and he therefore insists on having a part of his own salvation. The very fact that Paul preached a message of salvation in which works play absolutely no part was itself evidence that his message was from God and not…man.”
As we continue to study Galatians, Paul will tell us more about his conversion story and we’ll see even more evidence that his message of grace was from God and not man. But for now, rest in the truth of the Gospel which is this: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God…” (Ephesians 2:8). You cannot earn your own salvation. The idea that you can is a false gospel invented by man. But the true Gospel from God is that He saved us. Grace and peace to you.
Lord, thank You for Your amazing grace. I confess that at times, it seems too wonderful. Forgive me for ever thinking that I could do enough to earn favor with You. I trust and rest in the promise of Your Gospel—the gospel of grace and peace. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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