GRACE: NOT BY MAN
Preaching the Faith – Galations 1:18-24
Paul had the testimony of the Old Testament Scriptures, and he had heard some of what this new Gospel message was (Acts 7:1-60. See verse58). When the Lord had knocked him out of his saddle, so to speak, this made him aware of the grace of God through Jesus Christ alone.
It is necessary that Paul give us 6 defenses for his message and ministry.
Verses 18-19 – One question has come to many a Bible students mind, “Was the gospel Paul preached the same gospel as that of the other apostles?” The answer to that question must be a resounding “YES!”
Paul did not come up with the same gospel from the apostles. He spent time in the Arabian desert; for three years; with the Lord, in the Scriptures [Old Testament], praying, and with what the Lord Himself was speaking by the Holy Spirit to him.
This period where Paul goes to Jerusalem is most likely the same time mentioned in Acts 9:26-29. No one can make a ligitimate claim against Paul that he learned the gospel fromt he apostles. He received it by revelation of God (Matthew 16:17).
Peter and James was the only apostles he went to see; but not to be trained by them, but to introduce himself as a believer, and to get to know them.
Verse 20 – There are times when you meet someone who will obnoxiously want to persuade you by saying something like, “Oh, I’m not lying”, “If I’m lying; I’m dying” or something like that; before anyone even accuses them of lying. Paul’s statement “I lie not” is following accusations from legalist that Paul is a liar. If Paul is lying about his encounter with the Lord, and his time in Arabia learning from the Lord; then his words concerning grace could not be trusted either.
The Holy Spirit taught Paul the things he had learned and was teaching. The Holy Spirit confirmed what Paul teaches with that of the apostles at Jerusalem. The lies of men; preachers, politicians, teachers, etc. eventually come out.
When someone claims a new message from the Lord, and it has manmade requirements for salvation, then it is “Another gospel” and is accursed.
Verses 21-23 – The apostle Paul had met with Peter for a fifteen day period, and met with James. Their teachings had complemented the other; and would have strengthened the other as well.
Paul was not seeking recognition from them; he already had the Lord’s calling and anointing on his life; that was all he needed.
In Syria and Cilicia, the area of Paul’s hometown – Tarsus – Paul preached for several years pastoring the church at Antioch, and many came to faith in Jesus Christ. It is during Paul’s time there we find that “The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” (Acts 11:26).
The church in Judaea had heard of Saul, now called Paul; and of his repentance and faith in Christ.
Verse 24 – The Christians in Judaea were praising God for Paul’s conversion and faith in Christ.
-Tim A. Blankenship