Gal 1:11-14 “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.”
Paul makes a statement here that everyone who declares the gospel of Jesus Christ should be able to make: I assure you that the gospel that you have heard me preach is not about man. The wonderful truth of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit cannot be given by man. Men cannot teach us how to preach this glorious gospel. This only comes by the manifestation of Jesus Christ.
Anyone can put words on a page and declare that he did not receive it from men. Anyone can stand and tell you that the gospel he is declaring did not come from man’s teaching. Whether written or spoken, these are just words. Where is the proof? Paul says the proof is in the fact that this gospel changes a man. It not only changes his speech, but it changes his walk and his attitude. It causes a man to be brutally honest about himself and his shortcomings that God might receive the greater glory.
Paul is reminding the churches of Galatia that they have heard of his past behavior. He openly declares to them how devoted he was to the religion he was brought up in. He tells them of the great persecution and destruction he willingly brought against the church of God. Paul was (by the Jews standards) somebody; he was on the fast track to success in his day. Being a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ was the last thing he had on his mind.
Ministering to God’s people is a calling, not just a career choice. When it is a career choice, we are willing to do what is necessary to advance our career. In the beginning, Paul (who was called Saul) had made a career choice. He had the best teachers of his day. Offices that had once been held according to the choice and purpose of God (i.e. high priest) had become a political stepping stone to put men in the spotlight. Paul’s early actions would lead us to believe that he had his eye on just such a prize.
When he was called (made) to be a minister (Eph 3:7, Col 1:25), all his personal ambition was replaced by the revelation of Jesus Christ. He was blind to the path he had chosen and was made to see the truth of Jesus’ resurrection. He began not only to rejoice in the salvation of Jesus Christ, but also to declare it to all who would listen. He desired that those he was raised up with might come to this same glorious understanding (Rom 10:2). When they continued to resist and despise this way, he willing obeyed God and became an apostle to the Gentiles (Act 13:46). He lovingly served the very people he started out persecuting.
Our certification of the calling of Jesus Christ to share His glorious gospel does not come from the approbation of men. There are many in the world today who have men’s approval and yet pervert the gospel of Jesus Christ. The proof of our declaration is in our willingness to go where the Spirit directs and preach the truth of God. The truth of God makes us free (Joh 8:32); it will never bring us into the bondage of men’s religious ideas (Gal 2:4). This is true of those who stand and preach the gospel before men: it is just as true of all who are called to daily live the gospel.
May we minister, by our behavior as well as our word, the life-changing news of salvation by the grace of God and Him alone!