Galatians 1:13-24

GALATIANS 1:13-24

13 For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. 17 I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus.

18 Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother. 20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie.

21 Then I went to Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they praised God because of me.

 

In writing this letter to the Galatians, Paul is trying to counter the false teaching of those who came after him and preached a different gospel.  Let’s take a look at what Paul has said already about the origin of the gospel he shared with the Galatians:

1 Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father

11 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

The true gospel is the gospel that comes from God and not from human origins.  Paul is concerned the Galatians have been deceived by a false, human-made gospel.  He’s writing to persuade the Galatians to return to the true gospel that is revealed from God.

Paul continues on to share the story of how his own life was radically transformed by the true gospel.  He continues developing the idea that the gospel he preaches is revelation from God alone, and not something he learned from another human:

15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being.

Paul was not dependent on anyone else to learn and grow in his faith.  He didn’t have the faith someone else handed to him.  He didn’t wait around for someone to tell him what he should believe.  He had a life-changing encounter with Jesus, and then he devoted himself to searching and studying the Scriptures to learn more!

 

>>>Here’s a few questions to think about:

Go back to Galatians 1:11-12 and 1:15-16 and look for the words “revelation” and “reveal” in how the gospel came to Paul.  Look how the gospel is similarly talked about in Romans:

Romans 1:16 >>> For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

Receiving the gospel is categorically different than learning a history lesson.  As the gospel acts on your life, it comes with the power of God to bring about life  change!  It’s not something to be learned; it’s something to be received and responded to.

How did you first receive the gospel?  Can you relate to the idea that the gospel is supernatural and not just another idea man came up with?

 

Read Acts 9:1-31.  When Paul received the gospel, he spent some time away studying.  He wanted to be sure the gospel he believed and the gospel he preached were not influenced or led astray from another human, but purely the revelation of the gospel of the grace of Jesus Christ.

Is there anything you believe that might be from a human source in regards to the gospel?

What would it look like for you take time to get to know God better for yourself instead of relying on what someone else has told you about God?Have you come to know God yourself

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Galatians 1:10-12

GALATIANS 1:10-12

10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

11 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

We can’t serve Jesus freely and fully if we are preoccupied with people pleasing.  Paul declares that he is free from needing to earn the approval of others.  He knows his worth is already secure in Christ.  It’s not something he needs to earn—from God or from others.  Read verse 10 again:

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

If we put our worth up for grabs, and think that we have to earn the approval of others in order for them to confer worth on us, we get sucked into a vicious cycle of people pleasing.

When we realize our worth is not not on the table, it frees us up.  All the energy we expend worrying about what others think and working to impress them can now be redirected.  Instead of being compelled by people pleasing, read what Paul exhorts us to do instead:

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 >>> For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.  And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

Now let’s take a closer look at verse 11:

I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin.

The gospel is not something humanity would ever come up with on our own!  Every other religion teaches how we can save ourselves.  Only the gospel recognizes the root problem of sin and that we can’t save ourselves.  We need a Savior!

>>>Here’s a few questions to think about:

On a scale of 1-10, how much of a grip does people pleasing have on your life?

 

People Pleasing Scale

What is the danger of people pleasing?  In what area of your life are you most tempted to give in to earning the approval of others?

People pleasing is all about motivation.  You might struggle with people pleasing, or there might be another motive you struggle with.  As followers of Jesus, we’re called to be motivated by the love of Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:14 >>>  For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 

What is one specific situation you want to be more motivated by the love of Christ?  

 

Galatians 1 10

Galatians 1:6-9

GALATIANS 1:6-9

6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!

Bible study tip >>> Look for repeated words and phrases.  Go back and look for all the times “gospel” appears in this passage.

Paul is defending the true gospel — the good news that salvation by grace alone and by Christ alone is available for all.  Other teachers have come to Galatia and added works to the gospel, and Paul is furious!

Look at the following verses about the good news that salvation is for all people.

Luke 2:10-11 >>>  But the angel said to [the shepherd], “Do not be afraid.  I bring you GOOD NEWS of great joy that will be for ALL THE PEOPLE.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

Galatians 3:8 >>> The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced THE GOSPEL in advance to Abraham:  “ALL NATIONS will be blessed through you.”

The Gospel is the good news that all peoples of the earth might be saved by the grace of God by placing their faith in Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World.

We can’t earn it.
We don’t deserve it.
We simply have to receive it.

Here’s a few questions to think about:

The gospel is all about GRACE.  Paul is furious that others are trying to add to the requirements of how we can be reconciled to God.

Is there any area of your life where you are living to earn God’s approval instead of living by grace?

You already have God’s approval.  How would it feel to live in a state of grace instead of a race for approval?

The gospel is for ALL THE PEOPLE and ALL THE NATIONS.

Is there anyone you’ve given up on, thinking they’re outside the reach of God’s grace?  

How can you extend grace to all people you come in contact with today?

 

We can't earn it

 

Galatians 1:1-4

 

GALATIANS 1: 1-5

1 Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2 and all the brothers and sisters with me,

To the churches in Galatia:

3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Paul has a unique emphasis in the opening of his letter to the church in Galatia.  In no other letter from Paul does he include this emphasis that he is sent from God and not from men.  This is a theme that will continue to develop in this first chapter.

(Want to dig deeper?  Look for this theme to repeat itself in 1:10-12 and 1: 15-16.  You can also compare this opening to Paul’s introductions in Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians and note how it is different.)

Now let’s take a closer look at verse 4:

[Jesus] gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age.  

Take a look at what happens when you flip the order of this verse:

To rescue us from this present evil age, Jesus gave himself for our sins.

To rescue us from this present evil age, Jesus didn’t rescue us from our circumstances.  He rescued us from our sins.  You and I don’t need to be rescued from our circumstances. We need to be rescued from our sins!

Paul is not writing to offer a worldly solution.  He is writing to point people to the one true solution, the one true source of rescue, the one true way to find grace and peace in this present evil age:  Jesus Christ who gave himself for our sins.

Here’s a few questions to think about:

What are some worldly solutions that other people have offered to try and make life better?

How does Jesus provide a rescue that is uniquely different than anything the world can offer?

What is an area of your life where you need to experience rescue from Jesus?

In verse 3, Paul writes, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”  What is an area of your life where you need to experience the grace and peace that comes only from God?

 

Galatians 1 4