The Transformation of Paul: Part 1
Are you ready for some good news?
If a revelation of Jesus Christ was powerful enough to transform the leading persecutor of first century Christians into the chief preacher of the Gospel, how much more can the revelation of Christ transform us!
“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, ESV)
Most scholars suggest that the Judaizers (false teachers who were urging the Galatian Christians to embrace the Old Testament ritual of circumcision) were discounting Paul’s authority as an apostle because he hadn’t actually been with Jesus physically. So Paul insists that he didn’t receive the Gospel from a teacher or a council in Jerusalem; it was directly from the Lord.
Poignantly, Paul asserts that he did not give authority to the Gospel; the Gospel gave authority to him. Paul wasn’t so much defending his own apostolic legitimacy as he was elevating the place of the Gospel.
To Paul (and therefore to us), the Gospel is not Christian doctrines to which we give mere mental assent. The Gospel is something alive and powerful. Elsewhere Paul declares that the Gospel is “the power of God unto salvation.”
In short, the Gospel speaks for itself. The Gospel is authoritative because, in it, God Himself speaks.
Therefore, Paul opens his letter to the Galatians, essentially asserting: I don’t have to tell you about my legitimacy. I just have to tell you the Gospel.
It’s incredible (literally unbelievable) that God would overshadow the chief persecutor of the Christians and transform him into the primary preacher of the message of Christ. But that’s how powerful the Gospel is. God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above and beyond what you could ask or think. And that’s the Gospel!
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