Galatians 1

Greetings! 

I tend to skim over the opening and closing passages too quickly, so I try to slow down and reflect on what is being said. 

Galatians 1 Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— and all the brothers with me, To the churches in Galatia: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Note how Paul immediately establishes his credentials.  Apostles had to have met face-to-face with Jesus, and Paul did this.  His conversion story is recounted three times in the book of Acts (chapters 9, 22 and 26).  He also gives a brief version of the Gospel: “the Lord Jesus Christ gave himself for our sins to rescue us.”

The next passage is very powerful and should strike fear into false teachers everywhere.  Adding to or subtracting from the real Gospel is a very bad idea. 

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.

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! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

I use the previous verses when speaking to Mormons.  I start by asking if they think Galatians is authoritative as part of the Bible.  Then I ask if their “gospel” (the Book of Mormon) is the same as Paul’s or different.   If they say it is the same, then I point that the Book of Mormon is redundant and unnecessary.  If they say it is different, then I point them to Paul’s warning.

Verse 10 is a good memory verse, as we face the daily challenge of pleasing men or God:

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

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.

For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus.

Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother. I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie.

Later I went to Syria and Cilicia. I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they praised God because of me.

Paul had perhaps the most dramatic conversion experience ever.  He went from a full-time job of persecuting Christians to being the greatest evangelist for Christianity of all time.  His life has at least two great lessons for us:

1. If someone as awful as Paul can be redeemed, there is hope for us.  Jesus’ sacrifice covers all our sins if we will only repent and believe.

2. If an outstanding Jew like Paul still needed Jesus to be saved, then so does every other human on the planet.  Consider Philippians 3:4-6:

. . . If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.” 

Paul had all that going for him but He still needed Christ.

Reflect on what stood out to you in this reading and share your comments and questions if you like.

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5 Responses

  1. We disagree, on this point, as I sated in my earlier reply, I have searched for since 1991, a place to hear or discuss the Word of God. Because I could not, I turned from the physical church, and read myself. I spend 18 hours or more per day reading or listening to the Word of God, 7 days a week. I dream of God, and think what must I do to get closer to my LORD. Which brings me to the issue of our disagreement, the Mormon as like many others relegions are seeking God. God will not condemn them for what their teachers do, this is the purpose of Grace. But, I don’t do good so I will go to Heaven, I do good so my Father will be proud of me as He was Job.

    Every church I have seen or heard, speak their own Words, or Words that tell me nothing about the Words Jesus Christ spoke. The Mormon Churrch, speak often of the 4 Gospels, and have real discussion concerning those things spoken by Jesus. I turn on my TV every morning at 6 am, to hear Shepard’s Chapel, they sometimes speak the Words Jesus gave us.

    Let us discuss things in my heart, Jesus showed contempt for Moses and Peter, I understand, but it is not enough for me to understand, I must be able to debate the issue. I will tell you that I am not convinced it is because he struck the rock instead of speaking to it.

  2. Hi DiscipleABCT – Is every single church in your are teaching a false Gospel? If not, please keep looking for a Bible-believing, doctrinally sound church. I know it is frustrating being in a church that doesn’t get everything right. But as the old saying goes, if you ever find the perfect church, it will cease being perfect once you join.

    Consider the problems the early church had. Much of the New Testament is focused on addressing those problems. So I think we should have high but realistic expectations. We are commanded to worship together and support each other. It is hard to go it alone. Kudos on your devotion to the Word.

    I agree that Mormons preach a false Gospel. They may talk about “Jesus” a lot but when you fully understand how they define him it is clear that the Jesus of the Bible and the Jesus they speak of are not the same.

    I am not familiar with Shepherd’s chapel. Who is the pastor?

  3. Interesting discussion, I have to agree that no church is perfect and the divergence in my opinion comes from those that lean heavier on legalism than others.
    I do not believe this is a denomination wide effect (I have served in many different denoms.) but parish/church specific depending on the leadership there.

  4. Peace be with you, Neil, let us further discuss agreement. I stated that, I long to hear the Words spoken by Jesus, to discuss His Words, to return to my first love. Jesus said; whosoever is ashamed of Him and of His Words, He will also be ashamed. These are the Words which He spoke unto them while he was still with them. For He whom God hath sent speaketh the Words of God. And if any man hear my Words and believe not, I judge him not. He that rejects Jesus and receive not his Words, hath another that judgeth him. Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the Words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself; but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works.
    Father I have given unto them the Words which thou gavest me; and they have received them. and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. Jesus said; if a man love me he will keep my Words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
    If ye abide in me, and my Words abide in you, ye shall ASK what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

    But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send, in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I HAVE SAID UNTO YOU.

    What are the Words Jesus spoke concerning. Jesus spoke the Good News.
    I have foretold you all things. I have given you the true bread from Heaven. I have not come to destroy the Law or the Prophets, I have come to FULFILL. Fulfill what? TRUTH. You shall not KILL. You shall not resist evil, you shall love your enemy, you shall pray for those who use and perscute you, you shall do violence to no man, You shall not commit adultrey.

  5. Hi Ty, God is perfect, I wish to belong to the “Church” made without hands, it is the Church of my LORD and savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus said; destrroy this church, and I will raise it up in 3 days.

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