Tuesday, July 5, 2011

the gospel received

For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
Galatians 1:11-12

Paul chides the Galatian church for slipping away from the truth and falling under the teaching of a different gospel. He spends the first part of the book in an elaborate explanation of his own background and apostleship. This is key to understanding the book. The point he is arriving at is that legalistic religion is NOT the gospel. It was the "different" gospel then he had preached to them.

Paul's starting point is his own conversion. It was at that point that he received the gospel directly by revelation from Jesus. It is not just what was revealed to him on the Damascus road. It came from his conversion. He did not receive it from any human agent. It appears that somewhere in the three year period of time in the Roman province of Arabia, these revelations occurred (Galatians 1:15-16).

And Paul was passionate about the gospel. In this book of Galatians, he defends the purity of the gospel against mankind's contrived religions that seek to add to it or distract from it. He shows that he has been combatting this sort of thing from the very beginning of his ministry. We do not need to desert the gospel for religion. But it is a great danger and an unfortunate consequence for many in Christianity. My prayer while I read Galatians over the next couple of weeks: "Lord, open my eyes to the pure gospel and show me where I may have deserted it for less than fruitful religion."

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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