#160 “PAUL’S CALLING TO PREACH THE GOSPEL” (GALATIANS 1:1-5)
We start a brand new book on today’s episode! We will be in Galatians 1:1-5 and learning about Paul’s firm confirmation as a man sent to preach the gospel to the world.
- Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—
- Apostle—The term means a “messenger” or “representative” who has been given authority to deliver/send messages from God. Paul’s qualification to become an apostle fits the two qualifications: (1) He saw the risen Christ. In 1 Cor. 15:8-9, Paul writes, “As to one untimely born, he (Jesus) appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, because I persecuted the church of God.” (2) He was commissioned by Jesus, “he (Paul) is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel” (Ac. 9:15); “called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus” (1 Cor. 1:1); “commissioned by God” (2 Cor. 2:17).
- Not from men nor through man— Paul’s opening remarks to the churches in Galatia is to let them know that his apostleship was not appointed by any person or institution but by God. Paul’s commissioning was not given by Ananias who aided Paul in Damascus (Ac. 9:10-17) or by Barnabas who defended Paul’s conversion and calling to the apostles (Ac. 9:27). Nor did the apostles anoint Paul for apostleship. But through Jesus Christ and God the Father—Paul’s apostleship was a divine calling. His calling was given by Jesus Christ. Acts 20:24, “that I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul knew exactly what he was called to do in life (see 9:15-16; Eph. 3:1-10; 2 Tim. 1:11-12).
- Who raised him from the dead—The resurrection of Jesus is central to Christianity (see Ac. 4:10; Rom. 4:24; Col. 2:12). Rom. 8:11, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”
- 2 and all the brothers who are with me, To the churches of Galatia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver (rescue from the power of darkness) us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. Many in the early church only knew Paul as the persecutor of Christians. Others were telling lies about Paul and saying he wasn’t qualified or called by God. Churches of Galatia—Paul is writing to the churches in Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Derbe, and Lystra (see Ac. 13:14-14:23).
- Who gave himself for our sins—Paul points out the substitutionary atonement (voluntary act) of Jesus sacrificing himself on the cross for the sins of mankind. Jn. 10:17-18, “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” In explaining the need for Christ’s substitutionary atonement, Dr. Norm Geisler in Systematic Theology Vol. 3 writes, “Without Christ, the God-man, paying the price for our sins, God could not be just and yet also be the Justifier of the unjust, as Paul declared Him to be (Rom. 3:21–25).Without the Just dying for the unjust, God’s justice would not be satisfied, and without justice being appeased, God’s mercy could not be released to declare the otherwise unjust sinners to be justified in His eyes and, hence, qualified for heaven.”
- Deliver us from the present evil age—Paul uses apocalyptic terms to describe the emancipating power of the gospel. Christ defeating sin and death on the cross opened the door for mankind to be freed from bondage. “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (5:1). Faithlife Study Bible, “Jewish people divided history into two major sections: the present age, in which God’s rule is not fully established (and evil persists), and the coming age, when God will complete His rule as King. For Christians, the sacrificial death of Christ enables believers to live under God’s rule in the present age. For this reason (and others), the deeds Paul affiliates with the flesh (sinful acts) are inappropriate for the people of God (Gal 5:19–21).”
- According to the will of our God and Father—God the Father predetermined that Jesus the Son would sacrifice his life to atone for the sins of the world. Paul repeats this phrase in his last letter to Timothy: “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 1:1).