World English Bible translation
1:11But I make known to you, brothers, concerning the gospel which was preached by me, that it is not according to man. 1:12 For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ. 1:13 For you have heard of my way of living in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the assembly of God, and ravaged it. 1:14 I advanced in the Jews' religion beyond many of my own age among my countrymen, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.
After the abbreviated introduction, Paul launched directly into the heart of the matter that initiated this letter. The Galatians were turning to another gospel, an alternative gospel that was not really good news in any sense. This alternative gospel was brought to them by a group of individuals that Paul calls "the Judaizers." These men came to the Gentile churches with credentials from the church in Jerusalem. They were telling the Gentiles that in order to be a genuine Christian, one must be converted to Judaism.
It is therefore important that Paul explain exactly where the true gospel that he had originally delivered to them came from. Paul had already told them that he was an apostle, or messenger, sent from Jesus Christ. Now he makes it clear that the gospel that he preached to them did not come from any group of men or any church, even the original church in Jerusalem.
The pure gospel does not come from men but from God. Paul received the gospel through revelation. Here Paul is not simply referring to the first revelation that he received on the road to Damascus but to all the revelation that had been given to him from that day until the present. There was no reason for Paul to be taught by men because the Spirit of God took an active role in Paul's instruction. He was given impressive gifts because God had a specific purpose for Paul's life. Paul would become the apostle to the Gentiles and bring the gospel of Christ to the West.
One of the reasons that Paul was chosen was because he had been persecuting the church. God dramatically changed Paul's life as a demonstration of his grace and his authority. Through Paul, God actively demonstrated that He pardons sinners. Paul was advancing in Judaism and the route for advance that he had chosen was the role of the chief persecutor of the Christians. He was jailing and killing Christians wherever he could find them. That was why he was headed to Damascus that day.
Paul is describing his former life for a purpose. He wanted these Galatians to conclude that if the message that Paul received from God was authentic, then there is no reason to listen to another message that contradicts Paul's message. The message that Paul delivered was God's message. It is the message of the grace and the mercy of God. It is the message of reconciliation and salvation that is available only through Jesus Christ.
Have you heard the message of God's salvation? Who was the one who delivered that message to you?
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