Over the next week or two, we are going to be taking a look at Paul's letter to the Galatians. We should make sure that we don't just skip over the first part of the letter, but pay attention to it. I don't know about you, but I sometimes fall into the habit of skipping over the start of Paul's letters, and going straight to what may be considered as the start of the letter. So for example, here in Galatians, we may skip over the start of chapter 1 and start 'properly' at verse 6.
We see from the outset of the letter that Paul knows who he is in Christ, who has called him, and what he has been called for. He knows he is an apostle, that he has an apostolic authority, a message to bring to this church in Galatia, and it needs them to pay attention to the letter! And Paul is keen to point out to his readers that he wasn't sent from men or by man, but that he was sent by Christ. And that is where the authority he has comes from, Christ! And it was important for the readers to know and understand Paul's calling, and who he was in Christ. It was important for them to understand so that when they read the letter, they gave it the attention it needed. They needed to hear the message that Paul was bringing to them.
Once Paul had explained this to them, he got straight into his message: "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel - which is really no gospel at all." It seems that these people had heard and received the true gospel, that which is the gospel of grace through faith in Christ. However, just as quickly, their attention was being turned by a different gospel, which is no gospel at all!
The question is: How well do we know the true gospel? Do we know that there is no other way to be saved other than by grace through faith in Christ? And when I ask do we know it, I mean has it come to us by revelation, or is it something that we know merely intellectually, received by man? Paul says, "I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ." The gospel that Paul received was by revelation from Jesus Christ! We will continue this theme tomorrow!