Summary: The Gospel Paul preached was not of human conception but it came to him directly from God. Now that’s an astounding claim to make, a claim which demanded some kind of proof. Paul provides this proof by pointing to himself.
THE LONG REACH OF GOD’S GRACE
Paul’s theme is that the Gospel he preached to man was not of human conception, nor was it a second-hand tale; no it came to him directly from God. Now that’s an astounding claim to make, a claim which demanded some kind of proof. Paul provides this proof by pointing to himself. He pointed to the radical change in his life as the authentication that he received the Gospel directly from God.
Has your life been so radically changed by Christ that when someone questions the truth of the Gospel you could point to what it did in your life? Could you point to the radical change the impact of Christ has had on your life as proof that God has touched your life? Please look with me now at the origins of the authentic Gospel and how it changed Paul’s life.
I. THE GOSPEL’S ORIGINS, 11-12.
Paul continues to demonstrate the Gospel he proclaims is the only one worthy of the name because it is the only one of divine origins. So here
in verse 11 Paul begins His defense of the source of the gospel. For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.
I would have you know introduces a statement the Apostle would have us pay special attention. The subject he calls our attention to is the gospel he preached. [Was preached indicates that they heard it and are responsible for what they have heard.] The apostle defense of himself is a defense of the gospel and the defense of the gospel is a defense of himself.
This unchangeable permanent gospel he preached is not according to man or
did not originate with man. Paul’s gospel is not the product of human ingenuity, devising or input.
[Man-made religions emphasize human merit and the necessity of human works for salvation. Paul’s message did not.]
Second, the apostle declared that he did not receive the gospel from any human source in verse 12. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
Paul takes us back into his personal history with neither did I receive it from man. The I is emphatic. In no matter whatsoever did the gospel reach Paul from any human source. The gospel was not pass on or down from someone else. Third, Paul affirmed that he did not receive the gospel by means of being someone’s pupil who instructed him in it.
How then did he receive it? Paul received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. Paul declares that Jesus Christ Himself directly revealed the Gospel to him, [as He had the other apostles (Gal. 1:16; 1 Cor. 9:1; 15:8)].
This is the highest authority. How then could the Galatians question his authority and message? And how did they dare deviate from this divinely revealed truth? [Walvoord, John; Zuck, Roy; The Bible Knowledge Commentary. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983-c1985, 591]
We don’t know how or when this revelation occurred. Yes, he had exposure to the gospel message before and after this direct revelation. His point is that the gospel is not his own or someone else’s speculations or ideas.
The gospel of Christ, God’s plan for humanity’s salvation, is no pipe dream concocted by mortal mind. It is God’s plan revealed at God’s time to be spread throughout God’s creation.
In 1998 a space probe landed on the surface of Mars. People gathered to rook at the first close-up pictures of the Martian planet’s surface. Those revelations and discoveries were collected, analyzed, scrutinized, and categorized until scientists finally could develop a host of conclusive, undeniable facts about the rocks of Mars.
We must study the undeniable truths of God’s and savor them with the same passion that scientists brought to their discoveries on Mars. Paul stated that the source of truth is God, the author of truth. Pray that the Holy Spirit will help you distinguish between claims of this world and eternal truths of God.
II. PAUL’S PAST LIFE, 13-14.
In support of his claim that his gospel was not of man Paul’s argument now turns to his former life in Judaism in verses 13 & 14. For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it;
Paul tells of his preconversion life as a Jewish rabbi (Acts 9; 22; 26). (He says they have heard of his former life probably by way of personal testimony when he was preaching the Gospel.) In his past he was a fanatic persecutor of the church. Standing before Herod Agrippa II, Paul summarized his frenzied oppression of Christians (Acts 26:9-11). When he was Saul of Tarsus he even consented to the murder of Stephen. Then he raise havoc for the early church by putting its leaders in prison. He was determined on destroying the church, breathing threats and slaughter (Acts 9:1) and wanted believers stopped or killed (Acts 22:4-5; 26:9-11). Paul thought Jesus a blasphemer and His gospel a lie. He championed his own faith, Judaism, and beyond all measure persecuted believers in his personal campaign to destroy the church of God or Christianity. [The word destroy or waste ( from ) is the word for utterly sacking a city. He lead a scorched earth policy against Christians.]