Galatians Chapters 1 & 2: Paul’s Conviction to the Source of His Revelation
“I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:11–12).
“As for those who were held in high esteem—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not show favoritism—they added nothing to my message. On the contrary, they recognized that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised. For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles” (Gal. 2:6–8).
“We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law, no one will be justified” (Gal. 2:15–16).
Paul needs to make a case to the Galatians for his revelation of the Gospel coming directly from Jesus because the Judaizers led them to believe that his message was flawed.
In chapters 1 and 2, he recounts his own Road to Damascus experience and the source of his revelations.
In verses 11 and 12 of chapter 1, Paul makes the claim that his revelations came directly from Christ. In support of that argument, he points to the fact that the leaders in Jerusalem acknowledged this by not insisting that Titus be circumcised. Nor did they add anything to Paul’s message (Gal. 2: 6). This was independent evidence that gave credence to his claim because he had not previously consulted with the other 12 Apostles on two trips to Jerusalem.
Paul was convinced that the Good News (i.e., the Gospel) he presented was true and that God Himself commissioned him (as an Apostle comparable to the Twelve) to proclaim it.
A Moment to Reflect:
It took enormous courage at the time for Paul to remain true to his convictions and to express them in this way to his detractors. He wasn’t simply expressing this to Jews of the period. He was also proclaiming it to those who claimed to be followers of Christ but who had a fundamentally different view of how believers should live their lives.
Do you ever feel reluctant to express your faith openly among family, friends, coworkers or strangers? I firmly believe that God presents such opportunities for us, and when we hesitate or resist, we should remember Paul’s courage and be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.