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"The person who can rightly divide Law and Gospel has reason to thank God. He is a true theologian." Martin Luther

Chapter 1

1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)

Paul states who he is, his office of Apostle, who Jesus Christ is and also that Christ is risen! Why is that important? Firstly, to be the Mashiac or Savior of Israel, you cannot be dead! We covered this in our study of Acts, that according to the Jewish religion the Christ, the Messiah or Mashiac cannot die. Secondly that Paul was called and given his authority and power directly by the risen, alive, ascended Jesus Christ himself . Paul had performed powerful miracles and mirrored the very same things as Peter. No man gave Paul his title, message, or power! In Acts 15 he was extended the right hand of fellowship by the Apostles in Jerusalem and his ministry and epistles are accepted by Peter in 2 Pet 3:15. So this is the gospel accepted by the eleven remaining apostles to the Gentiles, not to the Jews.

The words Christ, Messiah or Mashiac, Savior all are the same title ascribed to Jesus and are interchangeable.

2 And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: 3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: 5 To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Written to the churches or assemblies at Galatia. Paul states what Jesus Christ did for us! He gave himself.

Paul doesn't mince words in this letter. He gets right to the point.

6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

another = heteros ετερος G2087 different or seperate

7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

pervert = metastrephos μεταστρεφως G3344 = transmute, turn across

This reminds me of Cancer which metastasis to other places in the body. A person may have colon cancer, but dies from liver cancer. The cancer is still colon cancer, but attacked the liver in the same body.

This metastrephos gospel had its roots as Jesus Christ as Savior to the Jews, but it also transmuted the Laws of Moses as to be included for Gentile salvation, which was not the truth. For the Jewish believer it was truth. For they were still following the Laws of Moses and were EXPECTED TO DO SO, by the apostles in Jerusalem!

Acts 21
20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: 21 And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs....23 Do therefore this that we say....24 and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.

  • The Jews first had to repent, be ceremonially washed or baptized in water, afterwards they were baptized in the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38

  • The Holy Spirit fell upon the Gentiles while hearing and believing the message of Jesus Christ! (Acts 10) No repentance. No water baptism. Just faith brought the salvation of God.

8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

This is such strong language here! First of all Paul is stating no other gospel revelation is coming after this gospel. No angel in the future is going to be delivering a different tiding. Any man or angel doing so be damned! Very strong and very harsh, but eternal lives are at stake!

accursed = anathema αναθεμα G331 doomed to destruction, no hope of redemption - used only 6 times in the New Testament

More importantly Paul is stating that those who impose the Laws of Moses to the Gentiles as part of salvation should be accursed. How important this message is for churches today! Even Martin Luther in his commentary of Galatians, "They confess Christ with their lips, and at the same time deny His power to save", recognized this statement as equal to those holding a form of religion, who were those leaders imposing laws and rituals upon men, while denying the power of God to save man and impart righteousness without the laws and rituals of Moses. Paul is specifically rejecting, here in this letter to the Galatians, the 10 commandments and all the other 603 laws God gave Moses plus even circumcision given to Abraham. None of these affect salvation!

For some reason the modern church has backslid and is no longer relying on grace, but in addition relying on men's efforts or works of self-righteousness to please God. Keeping Moses' laws do not please God! As Paul states later in this epistle, "if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."

Following the Holy Spirit and having fellowship with God is what is pleasing! Loving our fellow believers in Christ is what is pleasing!

When Jesus Christ said, "If you love me, keep my commandments." He was talking at the Last Supper! Before the crucifixion! Before the resurrection! Before Salvation! What was one of the last commandments of Jesus to these men? "Believe Me...." John 14:11. Jesus in John 14:24 clarifies by saying, "If a man loves me he will keep my words." Not the laws of Moses! John 15:12 "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you."

10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. 11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Again Paul emphatically states the source of his gospel. "I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." He is also maintaining his separation from the other apostles and disciples and their message, to persuade the Galatians of the purity of his message.

revelation = apokalupsis αποκαλυπσις G602 making naked or uncovering, disclosure or revelation

The "mystery", musterion μυστηριον G3466, a secret, was only revealed to the Apostle Paul.

Romans 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

Ephesians 3
1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

Make no mistake, unsearchable means Paul's gospel was not revealed anywhere in the Old Testament or even revealed by Jesus Christ in the four gospels. This new revelation came to only Paul.

I have heard preached that God had always prophesied for the Gentiles to be saved based upon Old Testament scriptures, diminishing the revelation to Paul. The Old Testament truly does speak of Gentile salvation, but not like this! Not without circumcision, or Jerusalem, or Israel, or Jewish Mosaic Laws. This was new!

13For 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: 14And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.

Paul's Jewish pedigree is pretty strong.

Phillipians 3
4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

Paul's education is matched by no other.

Acts 22
3 I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day. 4 And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. 5 As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished.

GAMALIEL reward of God.
(2.) The son of rabbi Simeon, and grandson of the famous rabbi Hillel. He was a Pharisee, and therefore the opponent of the party of the Sadducees. He was noted for his learning, and was president of the Sanhedrim during the regins of Tiberius, Caligula, and Claudius, and died, it is said, about eighteen years before the destruction of Jerusalem. When the apostles were brought before the council, charged with preaching the resurrection of Jesus, as a zealous Pharisee Gamaliel councelled moderation and calmness. By a reference to well-known events, he advised them to “refrain from these men.” If their work or counsel was of man, it would come to nothing; but if it was of God, they could not destroy it, and therefore ought to be on their guard lest they should be “found fighting against God” (Acts 5:34-40). Paul was one of his disciples (Acts 22:3).

Paul is having to promote himself above these Judaisers to defend against this falsehood being disseminated and to try to re-establish his authority and position. Basically Paul is saying, "If anyone knows the Mosaic Law the best, it's me!"

15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, 16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

heathen = ethnos εθνος G1484 = gentile, foreign nations or non-Jews

Paul's ministry was to the Gentiles. He immediately began preaching his message. He did not need tutoring in the scriptures. He did not need schooling in the message of grace. He did not need to go to Jerusalem.

The Timeline Begins

Various scholars place the conversion of Paul about seven years after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. 18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. 19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother. 20 Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. 21 Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; 22 And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: 23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. 24 And they glorified God in me.

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Three years later, or ten years after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Paul went to see the Apostle Peter and briefly the Apostle James. (Yes Paul calls James an apostle here.) Not for instruction, but to give account or communicate his history.

to see = historesai ιστορεσαι G2477 where we get the word history

Fifteen days is not enough for doctrinal tutelage and is probably why Paul emphasizes the short stay. We will continue next time with chapter 2.

Your faith in Jesus is enough to save you and is enough for God to complete His work in you and give you everlasting life..