Read Galatians 1:11-24
Paul wrote this letter to the Galatians as a defense to the gospel of God’s grace. Not everyone believed as he did. There were people steeped in Judaism with a knowledge of the Law and its requirements, who felt strongly that Paul’s message of hope was a virtual fairy tale. In their minds, in order to become acceptable to God, a person had to not only trust Christ but also keep Old Testament commandments like circumcision. Paul wrote this letter to point out the error of that thinking.
What do you think? Is the grace of God enough? And, even if you answer “yes” to that question, do you find yourself living day to day as if you relate to God on the basis of your performance rather than His grace? These are the kinds of questions you will want to ask repeatedly as you work your way through Galatians.
But, here initially, the accuracy of Paul’s message is at stake. How did he arrive at the irrational conclusion that a person can be acceptable to God by faith in One, Who had been crucified, buried, and raised? Some had concluded that this was perhaps a political legend…“political” in the sense that Paul was trying to please a certain group of people and a “legend” in that it had been passed along from person to person without any sense of accuracy.
The gospel of God’s grace in Christ is neither. It was not a political message where Paul was trying to please others. If he had been trying to do so, he should have chosen another line of work (v. 10). And it wasn’t a legend without foundation that had been passed from mouth to mouth. No, for Paul, this was personal. He had his own individual encounter with Jesus Christ on a road leading to Damascus. His own eyes had seen the Lord and his own ears had heard Christ’s voice. No one but the Lord Himself had given him this message.
So, does each of us need our his/her individual Jesus sighting in order to validate the message of the gospel? I hope not. God’s plan throughout history has included messengers, whom He has personally guided and with whom He has personally communicated. They have been mouthpieces through whom He has spoken. And the message of the gospel of Grace as indicated in this book is trustworthy and accurate. It was written by an eyewitness. You can embrace it wholeheartedly.