1 Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—2 and all the brothers and sisters with me, To the churches in Galatia: 3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! 10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. 11 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.
A few observations:
- Verse 1 “sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father.”
- Paul acknowledges that his authority comes from Christ and God (cf., 2 Cor. 10:8).
- The apostolic witness to the gospel truth was received without mediation, viz., directly from God Himself (cf., vv. 15-16).
- Christ is set apart from the category of mere, ordinary men.
- Verse 7 “which is really no gospel at all.”
- Paul explicitly affirms there is only one true gospel. All others are counterfeit and, therefore, categorically false (cf., Eph. 4:3-6).
- Verses 8-9 “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned . . . If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” Consider the source!
- It is the message of the gospel that is true, not the messenger.
- Even Satan and his demons are disguised as“an angel of light” or “servants of righteousness” (2 Cor. 11:14-15).
- Was Paul being judgmental? Paul’s judgment was universal and absolute, “eternally condemned.”
- Verses 11-12 “I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.”
- Paul explicitly denies that the gospel is merely human in origin “not something that man made”
- Paul explicitly denies that the gospel was received by tradition “did not receive it from any man”
- Paul explicitly denies that he was coached or trained in the gospel
- Paul explicitly affirms that the gospel he preached (and subsequently penned in the NT) was a direct revelation from Jesus Christ. This revelation was unexpected, distinct, and unparalleled (Acts 9 and the Damascus road experience). However, our response to the revealed gospel is unique to us.
It is this gospel that is from God and possessed by God to which the Apostle Paul was called to a lifetime of devotion. So too are we.