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    • July 6, 2016 5:40 PM EDT
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      GALATIANS 1

      GALATIANS 1
       
      OPENS WITH PAUL CHALLENGING A DIFFERENT GOSPEL
       
      Verses 1-2 tells us the writer and the readers.
       
      "Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead), and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia."
       
      Paul wrote this book; his authorship of this magnificent letter is virtually unquestioned, even by more "liberal" scholars.
       
      And what a magnificent letter this is! Galatians has been called the "Declaration of Independence of Christian liberty."
       
      Martin Luther especially loved this letter; he called Galatians his "Catherine von Bora," because, he said, "I am married to it."
       
      Leon Morris wrote, "Galatians is a passionate letter, the outpouring of the soul of a preacher on fire for his Lord and deeply committed to bringing his hearers to an understanding of what saving faith is."
       
      Many Bible scholars believe that Galatians was written in the late 40's or the early 50's; an approximate date of 50 A.D. is often given.
       
      It seems that Paul wrote this letter BEFORE the Jerusalem Council mentioned in Acts 15, because although he mentions several trips to Jerusalem, he makes NO mention of the council.
       
      WHY?
       
      Because the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15 dealt with the exact issues Paul writes about, it would seem strange if it had already happened, yet he made no mention of it. If it is true that Galatians was written around 50 A.D., then Paul would have been a Christian for about 15 years, being converted on the road to Damascus around 35 A.D..
       
      Paul, an apostle...
       
      The emphasis on Paul's apostolic credentials is IMPORTANT.
       
      WHY?
       
      Paul has STRONG words for these Galatians, and they must understand that he writes WITH authority, apostolic authority.
      Every one of us must answer the question, "What will I respect as an authority in my life?" Paul EXPECTED that Christians WOULD respect his authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ.
       
      WUEST tells us, "The word apostle as Paul uses it here does NOT merely refer to one who has a message to announce, but to an APPOINTED representative with an official status who is provided with the credentials of his office."
       
      SO IT IS OUR DUTY to also respect Paul's authority as an apostle. We do this by regarding this book as the Word of God, and taking it seriously to heart.
       
      Paul TELLS GALATIA AND US his calling as an apostle was NOT from man, nor was it THROUGH man.
       
      IN OTHER WORDS, his message, his teachings, DID NOT originate WITH man, and it DID NOT come THROUGH man. ALL that he teaches, all of his learning, all his understanding were personally given to him, taught him by Jesus Christ as he was in the desert wilderness for 3 years.
       
      It ORIGINATED with God, and came directly from God. His standing as an apostle was NOT based on opinion polls or any human council. It is based on a Divine call, made through both the Father and the Son.
       
      ROBERTSON explains WHY Paul said this, "The bluntness of Paul's denial is due to the charge … that Paul was not a genuine apostle because HE WAS NOT one of the twelve."
       
      Paul gives greetings from all the brethren who are with him; but the use of I in the letter (such as in Galatians 1:6) shows that it was not really a "team effort" written by Paul and his coworkers. Paul is writing this letter personally, and sends greetings from his friends as a matter of courtesy.
       
      WE ALSO NOTICE...This IS NOT written to a SINGLE church in a SINGLE city. For example, 1 Thessalonians is addressed to the CHURCH of the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 1:1). But this is addressed to the CHURCHES of Galatia, because Galatia was a REGION, not a city, and there were SEVERAL churches among the cities of Galatia.
       
      OF GALATIA'S HISTORY...MORRIS tells us , "During the third century B.C. some Celtic peoples (or Gauls) migrated to this area and, after fighting with the people they encountered, they settled into the NORTHERN part of Asia Minor. In due course they came into conflict with the Roman, who defeated them, and from this time they remained under the authority of the Romans as a dependent kingdom. SO, the name 'Galatia' covered the territory settled by the Gauls."
       
      AND HISTORY tells us there were essentially TWO regions of Galatia, one to the north (including the cities of Pessinus, Ancyra and Tavium) and one to the south (including the cities of Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe). There has been considerable - though mostly unimportant - debate as to if Galatians was written to the northern region of cities or the southern.
       
      WHY?
       
      Because there was a HUGE difference between North and South Galatia in respect to language, occupation, nationality, and social organization." The northern region of Galatia was made up of small cities and mostly agricultural development. The southern region of Galatia was full of cities and commerce.
       
      BUT KNOWING PAUL'S HABIT AND FOCUS AND HIS MISSION FROM THE LORD JESUS, we can know that Paul intended his words to have a WIDE circulation in ALL the regions of Galatia. The letter would be taken to each centre and read there, or several copies would be made and one taken to each church.
       
      AND ACTS 13:13 through ACTS 14:23 confirms Paul was in SOUTHERN Galatia on his FIRST missionary journey.
       
      ACTS 16:6 confirms Paul went through NORTHERN Galatia on his SECOND missionary journey.
       
      ACTS 18:23 confirms Paul went to Galatia a THIRD time.
       
      So was this letter written to the Christians of the northern region of Galatia or the southern region of Galatia?
       
      In the end, it does not REALLY MATTER, because this is a letter that has something to say to EVERY Christian.
       
      Verses 3-5 tells us Paul sends his apostolic greeting.
       
      "Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen."
       
      Grace to you and peace...
       
      This is Paul's familiar greeting, drawing from the traditional greetings in both Greek (grace) and Jewish (peace) cultures. Paul uses the exact phrase of verse three FIVE other times in the New Testament.
       
      AND WE NOTICE...Grace is always FIRST, peace always SECOND. This is due to the fact that grace is the source of peace. Without grace there is and can be no peace, but when grace is ours, peace must of necessity follow, AMEN?!
       
      AND DID YOU KNOW...Paul uses the word GRACE 100 times in his writings. Among all the other writers of the New Testament, it is only used 55 times. Paul was truly the apostle of grace.
       
      Who gave Himself for our sins...
       
      Paul wished grace and peace unto his readers from both God the Father and God the Son. Now, Paul will briefly expand on the work of God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The first thing he says about Jesus is that He GAVE Himself for our sins.
       
      Throughout the epistle Paul points the Galatians to the centrality of the cross.
       
      JESUS GAVE...
       
      We know from John 3:16 that God the Father so loved the world that He GAVE His only begotten Son. But the Father didn't do the only giving. Jesus gave. Jesus is a loving, giving God, and a loving, giving Saviour.
       
      Jesus gave Himself.
       
      What did Jesus give? He gave the greatest thing anyone can give - Himself.
       
      Of course, there are those who CHOOSE to debate if it was MORE A GIFT for the Father to give the Son (as in John 3:16), or if it was more of a gift for the Son to give Himself.
       
      Jesus gave the greatest gift He could; He gave himself. There is a sense in which we do not even begin to give until we give ourselves.
       
      Jesus GAVE Himself for OUR sins. This is why Jesus had to give Himself. Our sins had put us on a road to ruin and destruction. If God did not do something to save us, our sins would destroy us. So out of love, Jesus gave Himself for our sins! The love was always there; but there would never have been the need for Jesus to give Himself if our sins had not placed us in a terrible place.
       
      The word for in this passage clearly has the idea of SUBSTITUTION. Someone who wrote a letter for someone else could use this word to say he did it for that one. This meaning of the word translated for here is also clear from how it is used in passages like John 11:50 and 2 Corinthians 5:14.
       
      CALVIN says it well, "These words, 'who gave himself for our sins', are very important. He wanted to tell the Galatians straight out that atonement for sins and perfect righteousness are not to be sought anywhere but in Christ … So glorious is this redemption that it should ravish us with wonder."
       
      Why did Jesus give Himself for our sins?
       
      That He might deliver us from this present evil age. In many ways, the Galatians were battling with and sometimes losing against this present evil age. They needed to know that Jesus had come to save them from this present evil age.
       
      DID YOU KNOW...the particular word for EVIL denotes someone who is NOT content in being corrupt themselves; they also must corrupt OTHERS, and draw them into their SAME destruction.
       
      The idea behind the word DELIVER is not deliverance FROM the presence of something, but deliverance from the POWER of something.
       
      We who love Jesus Christ and His word KNOW we will NOT be delivered from the PRESENCE of this present evil age until we go to be with Jesus. But we can be experience deliverance FROM THE POWER of this present evil age RIGHT NOW.
       
      According to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever...
       
      The purpose of this saving work is NOT primarily to benefit man (though that is part of the purpose). Instead, it is to GLORIFY God the Father.
       
      SO WHAT WAS THE REAL SERIOUS BATTLES AND PROBLEMS WITHIN THE GALATIAN CHURCHES?
       
      FALSE DOCTRINE.
       
      FALSE DOCTRINE was a REAL AND VERY SERIOUS problem in the Galatian churches, and their false doctrines ROBBED God of some of the glory DUE TO HIM. By emphasizing the rightly recognized glory of God and His plan, Paul hopes to put them more on the RIGHT TRACK.
       
      PAUL NOW EXPLAINS THE DANGER OF A DIFFERENT GOSPEL.
       
      Verse 6 tells us Paul's amazement.
       
      "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel."
       
      Paul seems amazed not so much that they are turning away (this might alarm him, but not amaze him), but that they are turning away so soon.
       
      DO YOU NOTICE WHAT IS MISSING HERE IN THE BEGINNING OF THIS LETTER?
       
      Missing here are the expressions of THANKS OR PRAISE that Paul often wrote in the beginning of his letters. Romans 1:8-15, 1 Corinthians 1:4-9, Philippians 1:3-11, Colossians 1:3-8, and 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10 are each example of Paul giving thanks and praising the churches in his greeting.
       
      But NOT here. Paul gets right down to business.
       
      LIGHTFOOT reminds us the SEVERITY OF THIS..."This is the ONLY instance where Paul omits to express his thanksgiving in addressing any church."
       
      WHY?
       
      The Galatians are turning away FROM a Person (from Him who called you) as they turn TO a false idea (to a different gospel). To turn away from the true gospel is always to turn away from the Person of Jesus Christ.
       
      From Him who called you in the grace of Christ also connects their turning away to a turning away from the PRINCIPLE of grace. However the Galatians were turning, it was AWAY from the grace of God, NOT towards it.
       
      Verse 7 tells us THREE FACTS about this DIFFERENT gospel brought to the Galatians.
       
      "Which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ."
       
      Galatians 1:7 PAUL TELLS US THREE DANGEROUS AND IMPORTANT things about this different gospel.
       
      FIRST, it is an ILLEGITIMATE gospel (which is not another).
      SECOND, it is NOT good at all but trouble (who trouble you).
      THIRD, it is a DISTORTION of the true gospel (pervert the gospel of Christ).
       
      Which is not another...
       
      Paul recognizes that this different gospel is not really another gospel at all. Those who promoted this different gospel perhaps said, "We know our message is different than Paul's message. He has his truth, and we have ours. He has his gospel, and we have ours."
       
      SOUND FAMILIAR?...JUST LOOK AT ALL THE DIFFERENT BIBLES, AND DIFFERENT GOSPEL TRANSLATIONS OUT THERE. THERE IS THE MUSLIM BIBLE, CATHOLIC BIBLE, THE MORMON BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL BIBLE, THE WOMEN'S LIB BIBLE, JEHOVAH WITNESS BIBLE, THE SATANIC BIBLE, THE NEW PATH BIBLE, THE NEW AGE BIBLE, THE QUEEN JAMES BIBLE, THE NEW TRANSLATION BIBLE, WHICH ARE ALL "DIFFERENT" AND ALTERNATIVES TO ALMIGHTY GOD'S GOSPEL.
       
      Paul REJECTS the idea that their message is a legitimate "alternative" gospel in ANY way.
       
      The word gospel literally means "good news."
       
      Paul is saying and warning, "There is NO 'good news' in this message. It is ONLY bad news, so it really isn't a 'different good news.' It is bad news. This is not another gospel at all."
       
      OTHER TRANSLATIONS TRANSLATE, "unto another gospel: Which is not another."
       
      Actually, the New King James Version translation is much better, because it makes a DISTINCTION between DIFFERENT AND ANOTHER, because there are TWO distinct Greek words used.
       
      DIFFERENT has the idea of "another of different kind".
      ANOTHER has the idea of "another of the same kind." It is as if
       
      Paul writes, "They brought you a completely different gospel. They claim it is just an alternative gospel of the same kind, but it isn't at all. It is all together different."
       
      There are some who trouble you...
       
      Those who brought this "other gospel" to the Galatians brought them TROUBLE. They didn't advertise their message as trouble, but that is what it was & still is today.
       
      Some who trouble you means that someone BROUGHT this false gospel to the Galatians.
       
      False gospels DO NOT just happen.
       
      People BRING them, and the people who bring them may be sincere, and have a lot of charisma, BUT IT IS STILL A FALSE GOSPEL. IT IS STILL AN ALTERNATIVE GOSPEL. IT IS DANGEROUS AND WRONG.
       
      LUTHER says, "Note the resourcefulness of the devil. Heretics do not advertise their errors. Murderers, adulterers, thieves disguise themselves. So the devil masquerades all this devices and activities. He puts on white to make himself look like and angel of light."
       
      THE TRUE PURPOSE OF THIS DIFFERENT AND/OR ALTERNATIVE/ANOTHER GOSPEL?
       
      To PERVERT the gospel of Christ...
       
      The "other gospel" was really a perversion or a distortion of the true gospel of Jesus Christ. It didn't "start from scratch," making up a new name for God and pretending to have a new Savior. It used the names and ideas FAMILIAR to the Galatian Christians, but it slightly TWISTED GOD'S WORD, JESUS COMMANDS & TEACHING, and this made their message all the more DECEPTIVE, POLLUTED, PERVERTED, DANGEROUS, AND WRONG IN THE EYES OF GOD THE FATHER, JESUS CHRIST, AND PAUL.
       
      MANY BIBLE RE-CREATORS AND COMMENTARIES SAY, WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL, MY NEW TRANSLATION ONLY CHANGED OR OMITTED THE ARTICLES OF GRAMMAR...IT IS STILL THE SAME GOSPEL.
       
      BUT IS IT?
       
      FOR EXAMPLE, THE KJV/NKJV, STATE ALL THROUGH THE OLD TESTAMENT..."THE ANGEL OF THE LORD" AND OTHER TRANSLATIONS SAY "AN ANGEL OF THE LORD."
       
      WHY IS IT A BIG DEAL...BECAUSE "THE ANGEL" OF THE LORD CAN ONLY BE JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF. BECAUSE HE IS THE HIGHEST, THE LEADER, THE COMMANDER OF ALL THE ANGELS OF ALMIGHTY GOD.
       
      WHEREAS, AN ANGEL OF THE LORD COULD BE ONE OF ANY OF THE TENS OF TEN THOUSAND ANGELS IN THE ANGEL ARMY OF THE LORD.
       
      I HAVE BEEN READING THE KJV BIBLE SINCE I WAS A CHILD, THE BEAUTY OF THE LANGUAGE AND THE POWER OF THE WORD PICTURES ARE MASTERPIECES TO OUR EARS...BUT I HAVE READ THROUGH AND FLIPPED THROUGH, AS WELL AS HEARD PREACHERS AND EVANGELISTS STAND IN THE PULPIT AND QUOTE FROM THESE NEW TRANSLATIONS THAT ARE BEING CRANKED OUT...AND I CAN NOT EASILY IDENTIFY EVEN THE WELL KNOWN CHILDHOOD SCRIPTURE I HAVE LEARNED...BECAUSE THE TRANSLATIONS ARE SO VERY DIFFERENT IN THEIR FADIC MODERN RECREATIONS.
       
      THAT IS THE LEAST OF WHAT PAUL IS REFERRING TO HERE...THEY CHANGED THE WORDS OF ALMIGHTY GOD AND THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND HIS DISCIPLES AND THAT WAS SERIOUS SERIOUS TROUBLE FOR THEM.
       
       
      The gospel of Christ...
       
      Notice PAUL'S HUMILITY...
       
      Paul is really NOT contending for the gospel of Paul, though it is his gospel also. But Paul's gospel was only worth defending and fighting for because it was in fact the gospel of Jesus GIVEN TO HIM DIRECTLY.
       
      AND PAUL EXPLAINS WHY THEY DO THIS...
       
      THEIR TRUE GOAL, TRUE FOCUS, IS THEY want to pervert the gospel of Christ: Paul plainly says that these people want to DISTORT the good news of Jesus.
       
      SO THE QUESTION THAT POPS INTO OUR MINDS IS WHY? Why would anyone WANT to pervert the gospel of Christ?
       
      TO PARAPHRASE TODAY'S MEGA CHURCH LEADERS, OVER MANY RELIGIOSITIES, THAT NO LONGER SAY THE NAME JESUS CHRIST, THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, ISAAC, & JACOB, BY NAME OR TITLE, BUT SIMPLY SAY GOD, LITTLE "G" (WHEN THERE ARE 1000S OF GODS OUT THERE THAT LOST DECEIVED AND DECEIVING MANKIND CHOOSE TO WORSHIP) OR THEY SAY THE CREATOR, MUCH LESS NOW THEY DO NOT SAY SATAN, THE DEVIL, THE EVIL ONE, BUT NOW SAY THE ENEMY, OR THAT THERE IS NO REAL PERSON/CREATURE NAMED SATAN, NOR ARE THERE DEMONS, IT IS ONLY SYMBOLIC, A VISUAL FOR MAN'S BAD CHOICES. JUST AS THEY NOW TEACH THAT THERE IS NO HELL, NO LAKE OF FIRE...THEY DO NOT PREACH THE GOSPEL...ONLY THEIR OWN DISTORTIONS.
       
      WHEN PASTORS SAY, SUCH AS JOEL OSTEEN ON CNN SAID WHEN ASKED ABOUT THE SUPREME COURT DECISION FOR GAY RIGHTS..."WE HAVE WONDERFUL GAY MEMBERS IN LAKEWOOD, WE LOVE THEM, THEY ARE MY FRIENDS, AND ABSOLUTELY VICTORIA AND I WOULD ATTEND THEIR WEDDINGS AND WOULD OFFICIATE THEIR MARRIAGES IF ASKED."
       
      VICTORIA OSTEEN ADDED FROM THE PULPIT..."DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY AND COMPLETES YOU..DO NOT DO IT FOR GOD, DO IT FOR YOURSELF, BECAUSE GOD IS HAPPY WHEN WE ARE HAPPY AND ENJOYING DOING WHAT WE CHOOSE TO DO."
       
      COMMENTARY LIKE THIS...IS SHOCKING AND VERY HARD FOR THOSE OF US WHO STUDY THE BIBLE, ARE LEARNING WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES, THEN HEAR ICONIC, WEALTHY, WORLD RENOWN "PREACHERS, TEACHERS, AND EVANGELISTS" SAY THINGS LIKE THIS THAT ARE TOTALLY DIFFERENT...TOTALLY ANOTHER KIND OF GOSPEL, BUT NOT THE SAVING AND REDEEMING AND CALLING TO REPENTANCE GOSPEL OF JESUS AND THE BIBLE, AS WELL THE DISCIPLES, AND PAUL.
       
      It is hard for us to understand sometimes, but there is something about the message of the TRUE gospel of Jesus Christ that is DEEPLY OFFENSIVE to lost human nature. To understand this, we should first understand what the true gospel OF JESUS CHRIST is.
       
      Paul states his gospel most succinctly in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4: "I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved … For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures."
       
      SO THE QUESTION REMAINS...What is there in that message that would make ANYONE want to PERVERT the gospel of Christ?
       
      What is there in that that is OFFENSIVE to human nature?
       
      FIRST, the gospel of Jesus Christ offends OUR PRIDE.
       
      It tells us we NEED a savior, and that we CANNOT EARN NOR SAVE ourselves. It gives NO CREDIT TO MANKIND for any or all of their good deeds, moral lives AT ALL FOR OUR OWN SALVATION; it WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE ALL THE WORK OF JESUS CHRIST FOR US.
       
      SECOND, the gospel of Jesus Christ offends OUR WISDOM.
       
      It saves us by something many consider foolish - God becoming man and dying a humiliating, disgraceful death on our behalf.
       
      THIRD, the gospel of Jesus Christ offends OUR KNOWLEDGE.
       
      It tells us to believe something which goes against MANKIND'S CREATED THEORIES, scientific knowledge and personal experience - that a dead man, Jesus Christ, rose from the dead in a glorious new body that would never die again.
       
      Verses 8-9 tells us A SOLEMN CURSE upon ANY who bring a false gospel.
       
      "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed."
       
      But even if we, or an angel from heaven...
       
      Paul DOES NOT CARE who brings a false gospel. Even if it is himself, or an angel from heaven, it is to be rejected. Any person who spreads a false gospel, THAT DOES NOT PLAGIARIZE THE HOLY BIBLE is worthy only of a particular curse from God (let him be accursed).
       
      AND WE HAVE PROOF OF ANGELS SUPPOSEDLY from heaven APPEARING TO PEOPLE AND PROCLAIMING THEY ARE MESSENGERS FROM ALMIGHTY GOD WHEN THEY ARE NOT.
       
      WHO?
       
      MOHAMMED WENT TO A CAVE TO MEDITATE, HE SAID AN ANGEL APPEARED TO HIM, CALLED HIMSELF GABRIEL, AND TOLD HIM THAT HE WAS GOD'S (ALLAH) CHOSEN PROPHET...THAT HE WOULD BRING ISLAM, THE TRUE FAITH INTO THE WORLD WITH VIOLENCE AND DESTRUCTION TO INSURE THAT ONE DAY THEIR HOLY ONE, THE FIFTH IMAM, THEIR MESSIAH WOULD COME AND DESTROY THE INFIDELS, THE UNBELIEVERS IN THE WORLD AND CLAIM THE THRONE OF THE WORLD AND REIGN WITH HIM FOREVER.
       
      JOSEPH SMITH HAD A SIMILAR "ANGEL MESSENGER" EXPERIENCE, AND SAID GOD'S ANGEL CAME AND GAVE HIM THE NEW, THE TRUE, THE REAL GOSPEL AND THUS BEGAN THE MORMON RELIGIOSITY.
       
      WHY ARE PAUL'S WORDS OF WARNING SO UNBELIEVABLE AND SO OFFENSIVE?
       
      AND THINK ABOUT THIS...TODAY, THEY CITE THAT IDENTITY THEFT HAPPENS EVERY 60 SECONDS OF EVERY DAY...PEOPLE STEALING AND USING OUR NAMES, OUR IDENTITY, OUR CREDIT IN ORDER TO STEAL, KILL, AND DESTROY OUR NAMES AND OUR LIVES...SO WHY DO WE DOUBT THAT SATAN, AND HIS DEMONS, AND DECEIVED AND DECEIVING MANKIND CAN NOT APPEAR AS PREACHERS AND PROPHETS OF GOD OR ANGELS OF LIGHT TO DECEIVE THE NATIONS AS WELL??
       
      AND BRUCE CLARIFIES AND CONFIRMS THIS SCRIPTURE by saying, "The gospel preached by Paul is not the true gospel because it is Paul who preaches it; it is the true gospel because the risen Christ gave it to Paul to preach."
       
      Let him be accursed...
       
      THESE ARE POWERFUL, FRIGHTENING, AND SET IN STONE JUDGMENTS UPON ANY...ANYONE WHO PERVERTS, CHANGES, ALTERS, GIVES ALTERNATIVE AND DIFFERENT GOSPELS.
       
      Paul REMINDS US of the solemn curses pronounced by God upon those who break His covenant (Deuteronomy 27).
       
      THIS IS AN ETERNAL DAMNATION PRONOUNCEMENT GIVEN TO PAUL BY JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF.
       
      SO DANGEROUS AND SO VERY VERY SEROUS IS IT for Paul, it WAS NOT enough to say, "Don't listen to these people." It was more than just not listening to them. Paul soberly thought that they should be cursed!
       
      So now I say again...
       
      The curse is repeated for EXTRA emphasis; it is really impossible for Paul to express this idea with any more strength than he does here.
       
      THERE ARE THOSE WHO READ THIS CHAPTER OF GALATIANS AND SAY...SO MUCH FOR THE GOSPEL OF GRACE...THE GOOD NEWS...SOME SAY, "Where is Paul's love?" He asks for a "double curse" on people - people who spread a false gospel. He doesn't just ask God to curse the message, but to curse the people who spread the message. So, where is Paul's love?
       
      THIS IS THE BEST LOVE PAUL OR ANY OF US CAN GIVE...THE TRUTH AND WARNING SPOKEN IN LOVE.
       
      Paul's love is for souls that are in danger of hell. If a gospel is false, and not "another good news" at all, then it can't save someone.
       
      PAUL WAS NOT INTERESTED IN BEING ICONIC, BELOVED, FAMOUS, WEALTHY AND PUBLICLY LAUDED...HE WOULD FAR RATHER THE LOST HEARD THE REAL GOSPEL, THE REAL TRUTH, THE REAL WORD AND WARNINGS OF ALMIGHTY GOD AND JESUS CHRIST AND TURN FROM THEIR HELLBOUND HAPPY LIVES, AND BE SAVED.
       
      GUZIK gives a great visual analogy..."Think of a sinking ship, and the waters fill with people about to drown. Two ships come to rescue people in danger, but one of the rescue ships carries a load of dynamite, and for some reason you know that that ship will explode before it reaches port, and everyone on it will be killed. The most loving thing you could do is help everyone to get on the right rescue ship! Getting on the wrong rescue ship would seal your doom! Paul looks at this false gospel, this perverted gospel, and says, "That is a rescue ship about to sink! It's destination is the Lake of Fire not Heaven. It can't save anyone! I want to do everything right before God to warn people away from the wrong rescue ship!"
       
      AND NOW PAUL TELLS US THE DIVINE SOURCE OF THE GOSPEL HE PREACHED.
       
      Verse 10 tells us Paul's gospel did NOT come from a desire to please man.
       
      "For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ."
       
      For do I now persuade men, or God?...
       
      Paul's idea is not "I want to persuade God to my point of view." The idea is God is his audience. When Paul speaks, he speaks first to God, not to man.
       
      Or do I seek to please men?
       
      Paul's FIRST obligation was to please God, NOT to please men. He would NOT fashion and shape his message just to please his audience. He was more concerned about pleasing God and SAVING LOST MANKIND.
       
      Though it is not specifically said, we sense that Paul is making a contrast between himself and those who brought the different gospel. Apparently, in some way, that different gospel was built around the idea of PLEASING man...preaching and teaching and telling their listeners, their congregations what THEY WANTED TO HEAR...not what they NEEDED TO HEAR.
       
      MANY OF THE FAITHFUL PREACHERS, TEACHERS, AND BIBLE STUDY GIVERS DOWN THROUGH TIME, AS WELL TODAY, WHO SPEAK THE GOSPEL, WHO PLAGIARIZE IT, IN OTHER WORDS, IT IS ALL JESUS AND HIS WORD AND NONE OF OUR OWN...HOW MANY TIMES HAVE WE ALL BEEN TOLD, YOU SHOULD HAVE LEFT THAT OUT...IT MIGHT HURT SOMEONE'S FEELINGS, YOU SHOULD NOT TALK ABOUT THAT, IT IS SOBERING, IT IS FRIGHTENING, IT SCARES PEOPLE. PEOPLE NEED TO HEAR ONLY THE GOOD NEWS...THE LOVE, GRACE, MERCY, AND GIFT OF HIS SON THAT ALMIGHTY GOD GAVE TO SINNING, LOST MANKIND.
       
      NOT HEAR THE FRIGHTENING STUFF OR PEOPLE KNOW WHAT GOD SAYS ABOUT THE BAD STUFF...YOU NEED TO TELL THEM ONLY THE GOOD.
       
      LOST MANKIND, DECEIVED MANKIND, FALSE TEACHERS AND PREACHERS GIVING THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT TO HEAR, JUST THE GOOD STUFF, AND SHY AWAY FROM THE TRUTH...DO NOT REALLY LOVE THE LOST, THE BLIND, THE SEEKING, AND THE DECEIVED...
       
      WHY?
       
      THEY ARE MORE INTERESTED IN BEING APPLAUDED, LAUDED, AND LIKED...THEY ARE MORE INTERESTED IN PLEASING PEOPLE THAN IN PLEASING THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.
       
      THAT IS A VERY VERY DANGEROUS PLACE AND MINDSET TO HAVE...BECAUSE ONE DAY, ALL THOSE WHO HAVE PREACHED, TEACHED, AND PROCLAIMED ALTERNATIVE GOSPELS, THEIR OWN IDEOLOGIES, A DIFFERENT GOSPEL...ANOTHER RE-CREATED AND EDITTED KIND OF GOSPEL WILL STAND BEFORE JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF AND ANSWER FOR ALL THOSE WHO ARE NOW SITTING IN THE WAITING PRISON OF HELL, AWAITING THE GREAT THRONE JUDGMENT BECAUSE THESE MEN AND WOMEN WHO SELF-PROCLAIMED THEMSELVES TO BE CALLED OF GOD, ANOINTED OF GOD, GIVEN A MANTLE, CHOSEN BY JESUS, ARE APOSTLES OF JESUS, ARE PROPHETS AND PROPHETESS OF GOD...WHO PROCLAIM THEY ARE VISITED DAILY BY GOD, SPEAK TO GOD FACE TO FACE, HAVE JESUS COME VISIT AND ASK THEM FOR HIS OR HER ADVICE...WHO HAVE PROCLAIMED THEMSELVES AND ALL THEIR MEMBERS TO BE GOD'S EQUAL, JESUS CHRIST EQUAL AND ARE BEYOND SIN, WHATEVER THEY CHOOSE TO DO, TO PLEASE THEMSELVES, LIVE FOR THEMSELVES, MAKE THEMSELVES HAPPY...WHO SAY, FOLLOW ME, AND YOU WILL BE HEALTHY, WEALTHY, AND WISE AND SAVED. WHO SAY, IF YOU ARE SAVED, REALLY SAVED, YOU WILL NEVER BE SICK, NEVER SUFFER REJECTION, NEVER SUFFER LOSS, NEVER STRUGGLE FINANCIALLY...WHICH ARE ALL LIES STRAIGHT FROM THE PITS OF HELL AND SATAN HIMSELF...WILL PAY A FAR HIGHER PRICE THAN ANYONE OTHER THAN SATAN FOR SUCH LIES, DECEPTIONS, AND SELF PRIDE, AND SELF-AGGRANDIZEMENT...
       
      THEY ARE AND WILL BE SEEN AS PROSTITUTING JESUS CHRIST AND HIS WORD, AND THE BIBLE TELLS US THERE IS A SPECIAL PLACE IN THE LAKE OF FIRE FOR THEM....THEY WILL NOT SPEND ETERNITY WITH JESUS CHRIST, THEY WILL SPEND ETERNITY IN THE LAKE OF FIRE WITH SATAN.
       
      MORRIS says it well, "There have always been preachers who have sought popular acclaim above all else, and there are some still. It is part of fallen human nature that even those charged with the responsibility of proclaiming the gospel can fall into the trap of trying to be popular rather than faithful."
       
      For if I still pleased men, I would not be a servant of Christ...
       
      For Paul, it was one or the other. He could NOT direct his ministry towards pleasing men and at the same time direct it to pleasing Jesus Christ. And if his concern is not FIRST to please Jesus Christ, then he is NOT a servant of Christ.
       
      Servant perhaps is not the best translation here; it may be better translated slave. "It is unfortunate that … our English translations should so consistently fail to give this word its true meaning, thereby encouraging the false conception of Christian 'service' (as something essentially voluntary and part-time) so characteristic of modern religious idealism. The 'bond-servant of Christ' is not free to offer or withhold his 'service'; his life is not his own, but belongs entirely to his Lord."
       
      Verses 11-12 tell us the Divine source of Paul's gospel.
       
      "But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ."
       
      Is not according to man...
       
      In contrast to the different gospel brought by others, Paul's message was a revelation from God. Paul's message was not a man's attempt to reach up and understand God; it was God's effort to bow down and communicate with man.
       
      MANY TAUGHT AND TEACH THAT PAUL LEARNED OF JESUS CHRIST AND HIS GOSPEL THROUGH THE DISCIPLES...BUT PAUL WANTS TO MAKE IT CLEAR, JESUS CHRIST REVEALED HIMSELF TO PAUL FIRST ON THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS, AND THEN SHORTLY THEREAFTER PAUL SPENT 3 YEARS IN THE DESERT/THE WILDNESS WITH JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF, BEING TAUGHT ALL THINGS ONE ON ONE BY JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF.
       
      AND PAUL REMINDS...Men may have many marvelous things to teach us, but God's revelation has all things which pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3); now more than ever, the world DOES NOT need the good advice and wisdom of man, it needs a revelation from God.
       
      Did Paul's message - the message of the Bible - really come from God, or is it a fine achievement of man's spiritual and moral search for God?
       
      If Paul's gospel, the message of the Bible, really came from God, then it is the most important fact in the world. If it is just a human invention or achievement, then it is the most dangerous lie in the world.
       
      WHEN WE TEST THE SPIRITS OF PAUL'S TEACHING, WE SEE THAT THEY PLAGIARIZE AND LINE UP PERFECTLY WITH OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT TEACHINGS, PROMISES, COMMANDS, AND PROPHECIES OF ALMIGHTY GOD, JESUS CHRIST, AND HIS HOLY SPIRIT.
       
      THEN AND NOW, There isn't any shortage of people who CLAIM that they have a revelation from God. But we have to be careful to not regard a message as being from God if it isn't.
       
      SO HOW CAN WE KNOW that the Bible is really from God and not man?
       
      FIRST, we know that the Bible is reliable, accurate and trustworthy as an ancient document. We know this because the text itself is reliable (we know this from the study and comparison of ancient manuscripts).
       
      We know this because archaeology has consistently confirmed and supported the Biblical record, and has never contradicted the Bible.
       
      We know the people, places, and events in the Bible are repeatedly verified by archaeology.
       
      SECOND, we know that the Bible is unique, and special among all books ever written. It is unique in its continuity, being written over 1600 years, over 60 generations, by more than 40 authors, on three different continents, in different circumstances and places, in different times, different moods, in three languages, concerning scores of controversial subjects, but it speaks with ONE UNITED VOICE.
       
      It is UNIQUE in its circulation, being the most published and popular book ever.
       
      It is UNIQUE in its translation, being the FIRST book translated, and having been translated into more languages than any other book.
       
      It is UNIQUE in its survival, having survived the ravages of time, manual transcription, persecution, and criticism.
       
      It is UNIQUE in its honesty, dealing with the sins and failures of its heroes in a manner quite unknown among ancient literature.
       
      It is UNIQUE in its influence, having far and away a greater influence on culture and literature than any other book in existence.
       
      THIRD, the Bible is a book of PREDICTIVE prophecy, literally fulfilled. For example, there are some 300 prophecies concerning the Messiah that were exactly and literally fulfilled by Jesus, such as His birth at Bethlehem, His manner of death and burial, and so forth.
       
      Another example is that the Bible describes the rise of four successive world empires (Babylonia, Persia, Greece, Rome) with such accuracy that all critics can do TO TRY AND DISPUTE IT IS TO CLAIM that the passage was actually written after the events happened.
       
      FOURTH, the Bible is a book that has profoundly CHANGED the lives of millions, irrespective of their race, class, era, sex, locale, age, or social status.
       
      THERE ARE THOSE WHO LOOK AT ALL THE TANGIBLE EVIDENCE OF IT AND SAY, "It doesn't prove that the Bible came from God." The point is granted; but it does give us a TANGIBLE, UNIQUE REASONS TO TRUST AND BELIEVE that it did.
       
      THINK ABOUT IT THIS WAY, WE HAVE ALL PLAYED THE GAME ROUNDTABLE, WHERE ONE PERSON TELLS A SHORT STORY TO THE PERSON NEXT TO HIM/HER, THEN HE/SHE INTURN TELLS WHAT SHE HEARD TO THE NEXT PERSON AND SO ON...AND BY THE TIME THE STORY GOES AROUND THE CIRCLE, THE ROUNDTABLE, AND COMES BACK TO THE ORIGINATOR OF THE STORY, IT IS NOTHING LIKE HIS ORIGINAL STORY.
       
      THE BIBLE (HIS STORY) WAS written over 1600 years, over 60 generations, by more than 40 authors, on three different continents, in different circumstances and places, in different times, different moods, in three languages, concerning scores of controversial subjects, but it speaks with ONE UNITED VOICE. THE BIBLE DOES NOT CHANGE. THE BEGINNING AND THE END OF THE BIBLE REMAINS THE SAME UNITED VOICE OVER THOUSANDS OF YEARS.
       
      In the end, believing the Bible is from God is a step of faith. But it is a step of intelligent and informed faith, not a leap of blind faith.
       
      I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ...
       
      Paul's own relationship to this gospel was unique. Most everyone hears the gospel from someone else; this is God's "normal" way of communicating the gospel (Romans 10:14-15).
       
      But Paul was not "normal" in this respect. He received the gospel FIRST in a dramatic, direct revelation when He encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus.
       
      Acts 9:1-9 describes this remarkable incident. The Lord Jesus spoke to Paul directly on the Road to Damascus, and then Paul spent three days without sight, before a Christian named Ananias came to him. It was probably during this time - either on the road or during the three days - when Jesus brought His gospel to Paul. Paul certainly had the gospel right away, because he was both saved and began to immediately preach the message Jesus gave him (Acts 9:20-22).
       
      AND PAUL THEN SPENT THREE YEARS IN THE WILDERNESS (ARABIA) BEING BUILT UP, TAUGHT DEEP AND POWERFUL THINGS THAT HE WOULD NEED TO FULFILL HIS MISSION TO REACH THE GENTILE NATIONS BY JESUS CHRIST IN THE DESERT.
       
      Verses 13-24 tells us Paul PROVES that his message did not come from man.
       
      "For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord's brother. (Now concerning the things which I write to you, indeed, before God, I do not lie.) Afterward I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. And I was unknown by face to the churches of Judea which were in Christ. But they were hearing only, "He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy." And they glorified God in me."
       
      For you have heard...
       
      Everyone had heard how Paul came to the Lord! Paul's story was familiar to Christians in general and especially to those he had personally ministered to. We can trust that if Paul was among a group a people for a while, preaching the gospel to them, it wouldn't be long until he shared his personal testimony.
       
      The value of a personal testimony is not restricted to those who have a dramatic conversion story like Paul did. We can see the glory of God's work just as much in those who think they have a "boring" testimony.
       
      My former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it...
       
      Paul's credentials as a zealous Jew, persecuting Christians, are beyond doubt. Acts 8:1-3 and 9:1-2 describe Paul's energetic persecution of Christians.
       
      AND REMEMBER THIS...This shows that Paul was NOT looking for some other truth when he was first confronted with the gospel of Jesus. Unfortunately, many of those who are seeking a "new revelation" will find it - and find DECEPTION NOT TRUTH BUT A REVELATION FROM MEN AND ANGELS OF DARKNESS that draws them away from Jesus Christ (like a young Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon church).
       
      But when it pleased God...
       
      Paul did not come to Jesus because any man decided that he should. It wasn't at the pleasure of any man, but when it pleased God. Additionally, God did not choose Paul because there was something in Paul that pleased him; God called Paul through His grace, God's unmerited favor.
       
      We know this call wasn't because of anything Paul did, because he said he was called from my mother's womb. Therefore, God called Paul before Paul did anything to deserve it.
       
      Before Paul was a Christian, the emphasis was on what he had done: I persecuted … I advanced … (I was) more exceedingly zealous. Once Paul follows Jesus Christ, the emphasis was on what God had done: God, who separated me … called me … reveal His Son in me.
       
      Martin Luther says it well, "Did God call me on account of my holy life? Or on account of my pharsaical religion? Or on account of my prayers, fastings, and works? Never. Well, then, it is certain God did not call me on account of my blasphemies, persecutions, oppressions. What prompted Him to call me? His grace alone."
       
      CALVIN says it well too, "He wanted to show that his calling depended on the secret election of God, and that he was ordained an apostle, not because he had fitted himself for undertaking such an office by his own industry or because God had discerned that he was worthy of having it bestowed on him, but because, before he was born, he had been set apart by the secret purpose of God."
       
      SEPARATED is an important word.
       
      The Greek word aphorizo is related to the word used as a title for the religious elite in Paul's day, the "separated ones" known as the Pharisees. Before Paul came to Jesus, he was an important Pharisee (Philippians 3:5), but he wasn't really separated to God. Now, through the work of Jesus, he was really separated to God!
       
      MORRIS reminds us, "The word is akin to that for 'Pharisee', and the Pharisees were in no doubt about it: they held firmly that they were 'separated' to God when they were not."
       
      To reveal His Son in me...
       
      In Galatians 1:12, Paul speaks of how Jesus was revealed to him (the revelation of Jesus Christ). But here is something different, and perhaps more glorious: Jesus revealed in Paul. God wants to do more than reveal Jesus TO us; He wants to reveal Jesus IN us.
       
      That I might preach Him among the Gentiles...
      Does God have a sense of humor?
      THINK ABOUT IT.
       
      OUR TRIUNE GOD selects a man before he is born for the job of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles. And that man grows up HATING Gentiles, and believing that the only reason God made Gentiles was so they would fuel the fires of hell.
       
      Additionally, upon his conversion, Paul did not immediately confer with flesh and blood (even the eminent apostles in Jerusalem) to discover the content of the gospel. He didn't need to, because the gospel was revealed directly to him by Jesus.
       
      MAKE NO MISTAKE...We shouldn't think that Paul is saying here that it is WRONG to hear of the gospel through others, or that those who do have an inferior salvation. The point is simply that the gospel Paul preached was NOT a gospel of man, and this is settled forever because he did NOT receive it from any man.
       
      AND MANY HAVE ASKED...ARABIA? IS THAT SAUDI ARABIA WHERE PAUL STAYED WITH JESUS TO BE TAUGHT FOR THREE YEARS?
       
      NO...Paul did not travel to what we would call Saudi Arabia. The area known in that day as Arabia in his day extended all the way to the city of Damascus. Paul probably lived in some quiet desert place OUTSIDE of Damascus.
       
      Then after three years...
       
      Paul did not learn the gospel from the apostles, because he had been a Christian for THREE YEARS before he even met the apostles Peter and James.
       
      MORRIS reminds us the UNIQUENESS OF PAUL AND HIS KNOWLEDGE AND MINISTRY... "A new convert, especially one who had been foremost in persecuting the believers, would surely touch base with the leaders of the movement he was now espousing, if only to make sure that he now had a correct understanding of what the Christian movement was teaching. But Paul did not do this."
       
      Nor was Paul "COMMANDED" to appear before the apostles in some kind of examination. It is indicated when Paul wrote, "to see Peter." The word for to see speaks of someone coming as a tourist. The idea is that Paul was NOT commanded to come to Jerusalem to give an account to Peter or the other disciples, but he came of his own accord, and visited as a "tourist."
       
      They were hearing only, "He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith he once tried to destroy." If Paul did not learn the essential content of the gospel from any man, then it is also true that the early Christians were slow in learning just who Paul was in Jesus. All they really knew was that he had been dramatically converted - for which they glorified God. After his conversion, Paul was a "normal Christian" for many years.
       
      Paul's status as unknown is certainly different from our own habit of puffing up any prominent convert as soon as they come to Jesus. Paul was happy and well served to spend many years in obscurity with Jesus before God raised him up.
       
      In this whole section, Paul shows there was enough contact between him and the other apostles to show that they were in perfect agreement, but not so much that it would show that Paul got his gospel from them instead of God.
       
      Paul's whole point in the second part of this chapter is important.
      WHY?
      His gospel was true, and his experience was valid, because it really came from Jesus Christ.
       
      SO PAUL ASKED AND ANSWERED...AND WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO THE SAME.
       
      Does your gospel come from JESUS CHRIST, or have you made it up yourself?
       
      Does your Christian experience come from JESUS CHRIST, or have you made it up yourself?
       
      BEWARE AND AVOID AND DO NOT LISTEN TO ANOTHER GOSPEL.
       
      BEWARE AND AVOID AND DO NOT BELIEVE A DIFFERENT GOSPEL.
       
      Only what comes from ALMIGHTY GOD THROUGH HIS SON JESUS CHRIST can really save us and make a lasting difference in our lives.

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