Summary: In a general way, compares Christianity with all other relgions in the world and demonstrates the uniqueness of the Gospel.
What if its not true? What if everything that you have learned about the Lord Jesus and the Salvation he provides is a combination of wishful thinking and fantasy? What if you have been programmed, duped, hoodwinked, and otherwise misguided? This thought has most certainly crossed your mind from time to time, hasn’t it? You wish that it didn’t; but it does.
It may cross your mind when you notice how bad things seem to be in the world: it leads you to wonder if there is really truly a God who cares.
It may cross your mind when you notice the sincerity of those who practice religions that do not confess Christ. “How can I say that my belief is right and theirs is wrong?” You wonder.
It may cross your mind when you’re watching a nature show on TV, when the subject of evolution is brought up.
So... what if our message, our belief and the basis for our hope is not from God, but rather from man? It is this challenge that Paul, the Lord’s apostle is seeking to address in his letter to the Galatians.
The situation was different: Galatian Christians had been afflicted not by some nature show on the Television, but by an activist group of people known as the Judiazers. These guys came and basically said, “Faith in Jesus who died and rose again for you is not enough...you need more, you need to also observe the traditions of the jews.” They diminished the Gospel by saying it was not adequate in matters of salvation.
They also went after Paul who was the messenger of the Gospel. They said he wasn’t a real apostle because he wasn’t part of the original twelve. They said he made up the Gospel message because he wanted to please people and gather a large following..... They attacked his message, they attacked his motivation, they attacked his position as an apostle and messenger of the Gospel.
Indeed, his situation was different than ours, but the effect was the same: The saving Gospel which is the good news that God saves people by grace through faith in Christ Jesus was being diminished.
It would seem that every attack, no matter which aspect of the truth it is aimed at, ultimately attacks the Gospel. When some point at the bad things world and use that as evidence that God is not merciful they diminish the gospel because they are discrediting God’s grace, his mercy, and his willingness to save.
When others insist that God did not possibly create us, they call into question that he will recreate us and to remake the world through his Son, and therefore they diminish the Gospel.
When people insist that all the religions of the world are the same, they discredit Jesus who said “I am the way the truth and the Life, no one comes to the father except by me.” . If they discredit Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, they, once again, diminish the Gospel.
When attacks are made in any area of the Christian faith, it is ultimately the Gospel that is attacked. Our faith is not merely an assemblage of unrelated beliefs, stitched together like some crazy quilt with no rhyme or reason, it is more like a whole-cloth. You simply can’t remove pieces from it without tearing at and diminishing the whole.
So how did Paul respond to these attacks? He said “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.” He asserts that it was not made up. He asserts that it was a revelation from Jesus Christ.
Now, for us Christians who already believe that God’s word is inspired and that Paul is indeed an apostle of Christ Jesus, this is enough. But those who do not believe like we do or perhaps might be struggling in their belief might respond to Paul by saying: “Dude, is that all you got ” “Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon church also claims to have had a revelation.” “The Watchtower, that mysterious group that writes for the Jehovah’s witness also claim to have revelations of the truth. Mohammed, too, claimed to be on the receiving end of Revelation How is the Revelation the Gospel that we have received from the Apostle Paul any different?”
Because it is the GOOD news. That’s what makes it different. To explain this, I’m going to back up just a little bit and allude to something that was said earlier: many people in this generation are saying that all religions are the same. It might surprise you to know that when they say this, they are not completely off the mark. For the people who follow any religion out there are all responding to the same thing. They have noticed that not everything is right with the world. They have also noticed that not everything is right with themselves. They see that something’s broken, and they aim to fix it; to make things better. And those who practice these other religions, most often, do so in sincerity and with good intentions. Most of them truly believe that what they are doing is right.