“A Look at Galatians-The Revelation of Jesus Christ”
I. The Revelation Given to Paul
But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother. Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. And they glorified God in me.
A. Paul contends with the church in Galatia that he did not preach a message in which he received from men, but directly from Jesus. This evidently occurred after his Damascus road experience for he tells us that he did not confer with flesh and blood. He received it directly. He also tells us that his pedigree in regard to Judaism was impeccable and that among his peers there was no equal.
B. He declares that God had separated him from his mother’s womb and called him by His great Grace. You are here today because he has called you and separated you for His Glory and by His Grace.
C. Saul’s conversion to Paul took some time before he was recognized by the rest of the apostles. We see in Acts 9 the events surrounding his conversion, but it would be easy to think that they occurred over a weekend where as Paul lets us know that it was years before he ever went up to Jerusalem.
D. Therefore the Gospel or Good News which Paul preached was a message He received directly from the Lord Himself. He tells us that He went down to Arabia. Later in Galatians 4:25 he tells us that Mt. Sinai which is a type of Hagar is in Arabia. We know that not only did Moses spend time before God with the children of Israel at this same place, but Elijah did as well after the victory at Mt. Carmel. (1 Kings 19:8-9) Is at the place that Moses received the law that Paul receives the message of Grace from the Lord Jesus Himself? Whatever the case Paul was very concerned that they not reject or add to the message that he had preached to them for it was the GOSPEL.
II. Submitting the Revelation
Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain. But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery—to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do. (Galatians 2:1-10)
A. Acts 15 which records this visit occurred at least 17 years after Acts 9, when Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus. They felt the need by revelation that they should go up to Jerusalem to meet with the Apostles for validation from them that the Good News they were proclaiming was true. for everywhere that Paul and Barnabas went they continued to run into so-called “apostles” that were trying to once again enslave the new believers under the law and its restrictions.
B. When they showed up the false brothers showed up as well. When God has given you a revelation or a mission, do not think that resistance ever stops. It is the nature of evil to confront. No battle is too big or too small. Thus we need perseverance.
C. Here it appears that the three main leaders in Jerusalem, James the Lord’s brother giving the Word of Wisdom, validate the Gospel that Paul is preaching to the Gentiles and make their determination as to the evidence of true obedience to the faith. Acts 15:13-29.
III. Living the Revelation
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. (Gal 2:11-21)
A. The fact that Paul would “face off” with Peter over this apparent hypocritical inconsistency implies some significant assertions.
1. Peter’s hypocrisy was public therefore it needed to be addressed publicly.
2. Paul felt that it was his responsibility to confront Peter , thereby, showing his “father heart” for the Gentile believers as well as a sense of equal standing with the other apostles of the Lord.
3. He felt this was completely contradictory to what the Jerusalem counsel had determined some time before.
4. It was diametrically opposed to the reality of the Finished Work of Jesus Christ and Faith in Him.
B. How many times do we add to the Good News something of our own efforts to be right with God. We try to bargain with God based on our own “goodness”, wen in reality we can do nothing to make ourselves right with God except place our faith in Jesus Christ.
C. “For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor.” In modern warfare terms the idea of the US military joining forces with Al Qaeda and helping them rebuild would seem insane and prove that we must have been wrong to begin with. If Paul reinstitutes circumcision or observances and the like after having preached the Gospel, he is declaring he was wrong about the Gospel to begin with.
D. Instead of libeling the Law he recognizes that he died to the law and that He now has identified with the crucified Christ and the life he lives now is according to the faith of the Son of God. Oh! How Great is the Gospel of God!