Monday, December 28, 2009

Galatians 1 Paul's True Gospel and His Life Testimony

Paul Answering His Critics
As Paul's authority as an apostle was being challenged, Paul had to testified of his direct revelation from Jesus Christ and his verifications with and endorsements by the other Original Apostles such as Peter and Leaders of the Jerusalem Church such as James (brother of Jesus). The verification and endorsement is important. Most people can claim that God or other spiritual beings spoke to them but their encounters and messages has no other means for verfication.  Paul recorded two validations and one unchallenged rebuke on the authencity and authority.

From God and Not Man
Paul pointed the message he received was directly from God and not through man. The gospel is simply Christ gave Himself for our sins according to the will of the Father in 1:4. With the Grace of God comes the Peace that we have through being recounciled with God. Grace comes before, and gives us Peace with God and within and through our living out the Grace within, peace with other men.

Rebuke against False Teaching and His Own Transformation
Paul was very strong against any distortion of the gospel. Any distortion is lie. Lie is the method of the enemy - Devil. Lies bring bondage whereas Truth set people free. Seeking God's approval will bring forth persecution and attack from people that are trapped in lies. They are blinded by the devils and they will attack the righteous and doing them in name of God. That was exactly what Paul did in his earlier days. He persecuted the Christ believers at first. His transformation from persecutor of Jesus to a believer of Jesus was his first proof of the authencity of his gospel.

Paul life in Arabia - 3 Years
We tend to think that thing happened in an instant. Paul the persecutor became the apostle in an instant. In someway it is true - conversion or salvation takes place in an instant of time. But the work and life of a new believer is a process and a journey over time.  After conversion, Pual spent 3 years in the wilderness of Arabia, away from the other apostles, the main stream and most likely with Jesus in the wilderness. Paul spend 3 years in training and preparation before he can boldly and rightly preach the true Gospel. Paul had a lot of old-beliefs and misunderstanding to off-load. He was one of the top scholar in Jewish Laws and traditions then. How much time do we spend in learning our new belief, the Bible? It should take more than just saying the sinners' prayer; if we ever wonder why our faith is so weak and we are so easily deceived?

1st Verification with Peter - 15 Days
Paul make a trip to Jerusalem to see Peter and James(Jesus' brother). He spent 15 days with Peter. That was quite a duration for discussion. The short courses I teach are usually 2 full-day only.

The 2nd trip to Jerusalem occured 14 years later and is coverd in Chapter 2. Chapter 1 ended with "and they glorified God because of me". God is glorified through us. We are the glory of God. Are we? Are we the salt and light of the earth?

Questions for Review
  Q1 What was the issue with the Galatians?
    What is the distortion of the gospel?
    Write down in your own word, the gospel that you believe.
    Is there any distortion?

  Q2 How do we know Paul's gospel was the true one?

  Q3 Write a short bio on Paul based on this chapter. What can we learn?

Next --- Galatians 2 Validation of Paul's Gospel

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