Summary: Jesus can make a difference in your life
What Will Jesus Do for You?
In his 1961 inaugural address, President John F. Kennedy, made the infamous statement, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” This statement was by no means original. Some say Kennedy’s speech writer got it from one of the student essays that Harvard published in 1916 that said, "Don’t ask what can Harvard College do for me?," but "What can I do for Harvard College?" What every the source, President Kennedy made it famous.
In our study of Galatians, Paul is dealing with the gospel of Jesus Christ. There were false teachers distorting the gospel of grace. They were saying, “Don’t ask what Jesus can do to save you, but what you can do to save yourself.” Paul was saying the opposite, “Don’t ask what you can do to save yourself, but ask Jesus to save you.” The only way a human being can experience salvation is through the grace of Christ. It is through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As we noticed in our last study, Paul was very surprised at the fact that the Galatian believers were deserting the gospel of Jesus Christ. They believed that Jesus could save and placed their faith in him, but now they were turning to a different gospel, which really isn’t a gospel at all. There were false teachers who were distorting the gospel of Christ. This distortion, which said that Christ was not enough to save, was causing the desertion of the Galatian believers. They were placing their allegiance in what they could do for salvation instead of what Christ, and only Christ, has done for salvation.
Paul didn’t have kind words for those who distort the gospel. Notice what he says in verses eight, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed.” Paul repeats this curse upon the gospel distorters in verse nine.
Paul continues his defense for his ministry and the gospel in verses 11-24. Notice what Paul says in verses eleven and twelve, “For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” Verse twelve is similar to verse one where Paul talks about his calling, “Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father…” As you can see that Paul says in verse one that his apostleship finds it’s source in God, not man. In verse twelve, the gospel finds its source in God, not man.
What Paul is trying to set forth in verse twelve is the legitimacy of the gospel that he preaches . It’s not a man-made gospel that he is preaching, but God’s gospel. The gospel is truth, not by reason of Paul’s authority as an apostle, but because it is from God. Both the mission and the message of Paul find their source in Jesus Christ.
There are two ways to understand the prepositional phrase “through a revelation of Jesus Christ” in verses twelve. The message of the gospel was revealed to Paul by Jesus Christ. That which was revealed by Jesus Christ to Paul was also about Jesus Christ. The gospel was revealed to Paul by Jesus Christ, and that which he revealed was about Jesus Christ.
Paul will now set out to prove verses eleven and twelve in verses thirteen through twenty-four. He does this by using his autobiography. He will use his conversion to Christ at the means to prove those two verses. In verses thirteen through twenty-four we see Paul’s life before he came to Christ, when he came to Christ, and after he came to Christ. When we look into Paul’s life, we see how Jesus can make a extreme difference. We see what Jesus can do for those who accept him by faith. What will Jesus do? First, we notice that Jesus will change your life.
I. Jesus will change your life
Paul describes his life without Christ in verses thirteen and fourteen, “For you have heard of my formal manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it; and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my cotemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions.”
Paul argues that the gospel that he preached was not from man on account of the religious background that he was saved from. The false teachings that were infiltrating the church stemmed from Judaism. The false teachers were declaring that Jesus was not enough to be saved; one had to become a Jew, before one could become a Christian. This meant that one must be circumcised to be saved.