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1 Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—
In the old days (hahaha), folks put their authorship at the beginning of letters. It’s kind of like a return address.
Paul – once Saul. Wikipedia is not the bastion of Christian thought, but, it is a good place to obtain a summary on Saul/Paul! Lot’s of excellent information and links to research on Paul’s life.
CALLED as an APOSTLE
- Not of men
- neither by man
- but by Jesus Christ
- and God the Father (Who raised HIM(Jesus)from the dead)
This book is truly deep – and I’m not going to go into a word study on Men and man – because honestly, in the strongs, they look like the same thing.
Matthew Henry has this to say, if you are interested!
As to his office, he was an apostle. He is not afraid to style himself so, though his enemies would scarcely allow him this title: and, to let them see that he did not assume this character without just ground, he acquaints them how he was called to this dignity and office, and assures them that his commission to it was wholly divine, for he was an apostle, not of man, neither by man; he had not the common call of an ordinary minister, but an extraordinary call from heaven to this office. He neither received his qualification for it, nor his designation to it, by the mediation of men, but had both the one and the other directly from above; for he was an apostle by Jesus Christ, he had his instructions and commission immediately from him, and consequently from God the Father, who was one with him in respect of his divine nature, and who had appointed him, as Mediator, to be the apostle and high priest of our profession, and as such to authorize others to this office.
The second Part states what he believes about God, as well as the basis for his calling!
- but by Jesus Christ
- and God the Father (Who raised HIM(Jesus)from the dead)
Again – Matthew Henry’s thoughts on the differentiation here:
He adds, Who raised him from the dead, both to acquaint us that herein God the Father gave a public testimony to Christ’s being his Son and the promised Messiah, and also that, as his call to the apostleship was immediately from Christ, so it was after his resurrection from the dead, and when he had entered upon his exalted state; so that he had reason to look upon himself, not only as standing upon a level with the other apostles, but as in some sort preferred above them; for, whereas they were called by him when on earth, he had his call from him when in heaven.
I have read this, and said yeah yeah yeah – of course.
In Paul’s day – he was under fire about who he was, Whose he was, and HOW he got his calling. This first chapter shows his concern that not HE, but the GOSPEL was being discredited.
WHO calls me?
TO WHAT had HE called me?
and is my life bearing witness to that call, or discrediting that call?
Galatians 1:2 and all the brothers and sisters with me,
It’s nice that Paul includes his brothers and sisters. Though his name is on the letter – he includes others in sending out the blessing. Christianity is NOT a loner religion – it is a communal religion. I do not mean living on a commune together, though, that would be amazing. Living in close proximity to believers of similar intensity would give a standard of support, and even a bit of peer pressure, that would make walking the walk a bit easier. That is the purpose of a local body!
To the churches in Galatia:
3 Grace and peace to you
Grace and Peace.
- Noah found grace in God’s eyes! Genesis 6:8 In this grace, he built an ark and survived the flood!
- Moses found grace in God’s eyes! Exodus 33 In this grace, he made a demand of God to go with them!
- Ruth found grace! Ruth 2 In that grace, she gave birth to King David’s grandfather and preserved the lineage of Christ!
- Esther found grace! Esther 2 In that grace, she delivered the nation of Israel!
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
We have found grace in God’s eyes – and in that Grace, there are good works which he has prepared for us to do…amazing!
The word study on this is Strongs G1515 –
- a state of national tranquillity
exemption from the rage and havoc of war
- peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord
- security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous)
- of the Messiah’s peace
the way that leads to peace (salvation)
- of Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is
Doing a study on that Greek word has many offerings, but these mean much to me:
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Galatians 5:22 mentions it as a fruit!
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,
HE – Jesus is our PEACE!
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
Hebrew, 7965 – shalom
- completeness, soundness, welfare, peace
- completeness (in number)
- safety, soundness (in body)
- welfare, health, prosperity
- peace, quiet, tranquillity, contentment
- peace, friendship
- of human relationships
- with God especially in covenant relationship
- peace (from war)
- peace (as adjective)
Two different languages, ONE HUGE blessing and promise!
I wonder if this is how we should bless one another – GRACE and PEACE to YOU from our Lord Jesus Christ, ….
from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Here is the power!
FROM OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST!
BY the power of his paying the price for our sins, and his resurrection by the Power of OUR God and Father(Who is ONLY our God and Father through the price paid by our LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ!)!
BY GRACE – we have been rescued from this present evil age by the Will of our Father God!
PEACE in that we are no longer at war with sin and death(well, at least the war is over…we have to fight the battles).
I want to break out into the song “There is power, power, wonder working power, in the blood of the Lamb!”
That blood bridged the chasm that separated us from the PEACE of GOD!
Jesus was being heckled for mentioning the forgiveness of sins when he healed a paralytic, and he said:
Matthew 9:5 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?
The implied answer is that it would have been easier for him to say get up and walk, because man cannot forgive sins! It was a statement of WHO He is, and FROM WHOM He came!
POWER! This is not your squeamish “bless you” thrown around on a daily basis!
AND, as ambassadors for Christ – we are to bless others! Paul begins his letters with blessings, and ends his letters with blessings. The people in that day took blessings very seriously!
Just check out the verses about taking back your blessing if the folks of the house are not worthy!
A blessing is not something to be tossed about willy nilly!
Then, Paul really jumps into the WHY of the letter!
Galatians 1:6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—
7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!
9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!
We’ve just looked at the power behind a blessing – now Paul is speaking out a curse!
This almost sounds like some mumbo jumbo in our day in age.
Jesus said, in Matthew 18:18
“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
That’s some more mumbo jumbo sounding stuff.
Or do we really have power to impart God’s blessing, and to withold it?
Jesus says in John 14:12-14
12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
Matthew 21:21-22 records Jesus saying:
21 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
We are given responsibility for our words, our speech to speak the things of God.
I’m not talking name it claim it, though there is some truth to those teachings. That is why they are so popular.
I’m not saying that we have the same creative power in our words as the Son of God, who spoke the worlds into existence.
I’m saying that the creator God lives within us, and by that position, we have the power available, and we can speak good and evil over people, and God will hear, and move. We are his hands, feet, ears AND HIS MOUTHS!
I want to be a blessing!
But, when someone needs to know that they are taking the wrong turn, I want to speak correction in love!
Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
The Amplified Bible says it this way:
10 Now am I trying to win the favor of men, or of God?
Do I seek to please men?
If I were still seeking popularity with men, I should not be a bond servant of Christ (the Messiah).
I kind of giggle when I read this.
If I wanted to be popular, I wouldn’t be talking this kind of talk!
I’d be talking to tickle ears!
I’d be petting and flattering!
And I cannot be a bond servant of Christ and live like that!
Jesus mentioned in Matthew 6:24
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
On the mount, God spoke to Moses and said (Exodus 20)
20:1 And God spoke all these words:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.
5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,
6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
“The Lord does not give me rules, but He makes His standard very clear. If my relationship to Him is that of love, I will do what He says without hesitation. If I hesitate, it is because I love someone I have placed in competition with Him, namely, myself.” – from My Utmost for His highest
Before I move on to Paul’s explanation of WHY he can claim to be an Apostle – I am thinking on this very point…
If something that is told to me as scriptural leads me to be more comfortable with men/women, and not with God – should I be listening? When I write it out that way, of course the answer is NO!
When I am speaking with someone that is espousing homosexuality, abortion, addictions, promiscuity, working on the Sabbath or even which day is the Sabbath, what to eat or drink or wear or any other item in the word, how do I handle myself? Do I water down the word? Or do I pound them into the ground with scripture from my perspective?
Do I start clawing at their splinter, while I cannot see around the beam in my eye?
The key for me is that I speak the truth in love.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.
15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
It appears to me that this is addressed to Believers speaking to believers – not unbelievers.
15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
In case you do not like the latter part of Mark 16, here is Matthew 28:19-20
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
20 and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you.
FIRST, we preach the gospel to the unbelievers.
NEXT, we teach them about baptism
THEN, we teach them to obey all that Christ has commanded us.
By that time, THEY ARE BELIEVERS!
My point is that we need to recognize to whom we are speaking.
In doing so, we need to recognize our own tendencies to want to be pleasers of men.
2 Corinthians talks about not being unequally yoked.
John 17 talks about being IN the world but not OF the world.
1 John talks about not loving the world.
It is so easy to just hedge, so that I don’t have to deal with conflict.
On the other hand, I’ve been in places where there are those that are screaming angry phrases and waving judgmental signs and I have unbelievers ask me if THAT is the Jesus I serve.
I have to tell them no.
Jesus did not scream angrily at unbelievers.
He did not point out the sins of unbelievers with a bull horn.
He spoke to them one on one, and once they believed, he took them by the hand and discipled them.
Noah, Hebrews 11:7
7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.
I’m sure Noah had many many people asking him questions…and I’m sure he told them what God had said.
I’m sure that his life stood out as different – considering that God had noticed that he was the only righteous one!
It wasn’t Noah’s words that condemned the world – it was his righteousness in the face of all the others telling him to be this way or that! IN the midst of an evil generation, Noah was righteous! He did not succumb to peer pressure. He was not a man pleaser!
Hebrews 11 speaks of many that lived a righteous life, by faith.
This is what I see for me in this section.
I want to walk in the Grace and Peace of God, to use the gifts HE created within me to glorify HIM, and to not cave to the ways of the world to be more comfortable. That takes FAITH – which of course is not of my own, but a gift from God!
I want to stand before my Lord and hear Him say that I am definitely a bond-servant of Jesus Christ.
I want to hear him say “enter into the joy of your Lord”
And I’d like to take as many with me as I can!
A Blast from the Past – my comments in 2009 on Galatians 1.
Itty Bitty Bible Study – Galatians 1:11-24 & 2:1-10
Thanks for joining me in this journey,
In His hands and under His wings,
Ps 63:7 Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.
“The Lord does not give me rules, but He makes His standard very clear.
If my relationship to Him is that of love, I will do what He says without hesitation.
If I hesitate, it is because I love someone I have placed in competition with Him, namely, myself.” – from My Utmost for His highest
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