Galatians 1:10-12 KJV (NIV link below)
10For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
11But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
12For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
The Other-Worldly Gospel
Paul, after mentioning a gospel that has grace as its only content, goes on to explain the origins of that gospel. He wants to be very clear, this is not a gospel that is of human origin, nor is it one designed to win the approval of people. Indeed, if you look at Paul’s life, you’d have to be delusional to think he preached the gospel for human praise. Paul was a rising star in the Jewish world, having studied at the feet of Gamaliel, the premier rabbi of his day. He gave all of that up to preach a gospel of grace and become a servant. For Paul, human praise pales in comparison to the approval of his master, God himself, from whom this Gospel comes.
Paul could not have made up a gospel like this. This gospel defies our human logic. According to the gospel of grace, there are no prerequisites for rescue and no one is so far gone that they can elude the reach of God’s arm. There is hope for every living person. God is mighty to save whomever will come. No exceptions. This is a violation of our logic.
The Gospel declares that no one is too far off from grace during his or her life. Just as no human action can save you, no human action can put you beyond God’s reach. Now that is offensive to our sense of justice, that is beyond human reason, that can only come by the revelation of God. Nobody is off limits. However, while this is offensive to some, it is good news to those in the midst of their sin. No matter who you are or what you’ve done, you are not too far off. God can (and wants to) save you. This cannot be taught or reasoned to, it can only be received as the other-worldly gospel it is. Salvation is not far off, but is near.
Leave your thoughts below and join the conversation. Here are some reflection questions if you need help getting started:
Does knowing that the gospel is available to anyone irrespective of who they are or what they’ve done make it easier to understand/accept or harder (or maybe both)? What do you think of the “out of this world” character of the gospel? Are your daily actions aimed at impressing others or glorifying God?