Salvation by the Hand of God
Salvation by the Hand of God
What makes a man great?
What gives him authority?
With Paul it was God alone.
Paul begins to give his own testimony of salvation and his history after salvation. This he does to affirm his apostleship and authority to the Galatian believers. This section runs through 2:21 and is divided into three sections: his conversion and first encounter with the Jerusalem leaders 1:11-24; Meeting with the leaders re: his missionary work, 2:1-10; His confrontation with Peter at Antioch, 2:11-21.
The gospel which Paul preached to them is different than what these new teachers were teaching them.
It is interesting to note that Paul taught them salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. it was not by works of the Law. That is the entire argument in this epistle. So it is amazing that the believers would turn back to slavery to the Law, or if not Jewish to turn to it. How can this be? Why would they want to go back?
Paul goes back to how he first recieved the gospel and he says three things about it:
His calling was from above,
Paul wants them to know that his gospel, and his salvation came directly from God there was no human activity involved at all.
1. The gospel he preached was not (κατα ανθρωπου) according to the standard of man. By this I think he means that man's idea of the gospel would not be God's. In fact the gospel is 'foolishness to man' 1 Cor. 1:18, 20, 23, 25, 27. See also Gal. 1:1.
What is the gospel Paul preached? 1 Cor. 15:1-11. Paul preached it they believed it, Eph. 2:8,9.
Man's way is works. Try it your own way. So that is the first difference, the gospel Paul preaches is not man's way.
I also think he means to imply that the Gospel is not according to the Law, that is, that it is not by keeping the law.
not humanly devised. v.12
2. He did not receive it from man.
If we keep in accordance with the idea of the Law then we can see that Paul was not given this from some rabbi, like Gamaliel. and he was not taught it from the Law by anyone else. He did not receive it through tradition nor through instruction in school.
3. He was not taught it by man
It was divinely given
4. He was taught the gospel directly from Jesus Christ. Acts 9; cf. also Gal. 1:1, 4.
Now this is different than our reception of the gospel and that of the Galatians. We/they did receive it from man. That is someone gave us the gospel and taught us what it meant and what must be done in response, Rom. 10:14-17.
Paul was not saying his gospel was different than that of the other Apostles, but that he had received it independently of them.
For me it was in the old Holland Post office where I heard the gospel and believed.
However, it must not be missed that we could not have believed without the work of the Holy Spirit drawing us, John 6:44. When Jesus asked the disciples who people said He was, Peter answered, "You are the Christ" and Jesus siad it was God who revealed this to him, Matt. 16:17. We could also compare Phil. 2:13. The point is that we could not have believed without the work of both the Holy
Spirit and man. Paul believed with just the work of the Lord Jesus Himself.
There are a couple things that this means for us:
1. Clearly salvation is the work of God. He draws man to himself; He reveals the truth to man; He convicts man of sin, John 16:8.
2. Clearly evangelism is the work of Man. Romans 10:14ff. It is our responsibility to tell the good news, to teach it. God then takes the truth and penetrates man's heart with it, Heb. 4:12 and compels the elect to believe.
We may preach and teach the good news but only God can bring the light to bear on the heart of a man bringing him to salvation.
Thus, belief in the gospel still takes the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, but it also takes the work of man. Man must preach and teach the gospel to others.
With Paul, it was entirely the work of the Lord. In that way, his salvation is different than ours. And in that way he can make the claim to true Apostleship, having seen the Lord face to face on the Damascus road.
He was not preaching some other gospel but the one that Jesus and the other apostles preached themselves.