Not After Man

Galatians 1:11-15 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 you 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. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace 

‘Revelation of Jesus Christ’ [Greek: apokalupsis] to unveil or uncover. It implies the lifting up of a curtain so that all can see alike what is uncovered. When used of writing, it means to reveal or make clear (1:12; Eph. 3:3); when used of a person, it denotes visible presence (Rev. 1:1; 2Thess. 1:7; 1Pet. 1:7, 13).

‘Conversation’ [Greek: anastrophe] behaviour or manner of life; the whole conduct of life in domestic and public relations. Always translated “conversation” (1:13; Eph. 4:22; 1Tim. 4:12; Heb. 13:7; Jas. 3:13; 1Pet. 1:15, 18; 2:12; 3:1, 2, 16; 2Pet. 2:7; 3:11).

‘How that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it.’ Paul never gets away from this awful past of murdering Christians and of fighting against Jesus Christ. He refers to it several times (1:13, 23; Acts 22:5; 26:9-11; Php. 3:6; 1Tim. 1:13).

‘Profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation.’ More skilled in the traditions of the fathers than his countrymen.

‘Separated me from my mother’s womb.’ Three stages of Paul’s separation: At birth, in God’s mind (1:15). At conversion, from Judaism to the gospel (Acts 9:15-16; 1Tim. 1:15-16). At his commission, from secular work to the work of God (Acts 13:2; 26:16-18; 1Tim. 1:11-12).

‘Called me by his grace’ – Called me without merit on my part.

Pervert the Gospel of Christ

Galatians 1:7-10 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For 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. 

‘Pervert’ – Going back under the law and substituting it for the gospel is perverting the gospel of Christ (5:4).

‘Gospel of Christ’ – How the Gospel is referred to in Galatians: As the grace of Christ (1:8); a revelation (1:11-12); being not of or from man (1:11); that which justifies (2:16); giving the Spirit (3:2); working miracles (3:5); redeeming from the curse of the law (3:13); being of faith (3:22-25); redeeming those under the law (3:13); making us sons, not servants (1:4); bringing liberty (1:4; 5:1, 13); giving the new birth (4:21-31); abolishing circumcision (5:2); cancelling the law (5:18); the law of Christ (6:2).

‘Preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.’ The gospel had not only been preached to them, but they had received it and its benefits. Therefore, any removal from grace (1:6) or fall from grace (5:4) was backsliding from the gospel.

Eight outstanding doctrines taught in Galatians: Christians can fall from grace and be removed from Christ (1:6-8; 2:21; 3:1-5; 4:8-11, 19; 5:4, 19-21; 6:1-8). Paul’s gospel was a revelation from God (1:11 – 2:14). Justification is by faith alone without law works (2:15-3:29). Christians can live victoriously over sin (2:20 – 3:5; 5:16-6:8). The Spirit is for all believers (3:1-5, 13-14). The law of Moses is completely abolished (3:10-29; 4:21-31; 5:1). Backsliders must be reborn and return to grace (1:6-8; 2:17-21; 3:1-5, 10-12; 4:19; 5:1, 4, 7, 5:16-26; 6:1-8). All who go back to keeping the law are under obligation to observe the whole law or be cursed (3:1-5, 10-12; 4:21 – 5:4).

So Soon Removed

Galatians 1:6 I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel 

‘Removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ’ Twenty things wrong with the Galatians: Being so soon removed from Christ (1:6). Permitting false teachers to pervert the gospel (1:7; 5:8-12). They were bewitched from obedience to the gospel of Christ (3:1; 5:7). They were crucifying Christ anew (3:1). Attributing their gospel blessings to the law of Moses (3:2). Beginning in the Spirit and seeking perfection in the flesh (3:3). Suffering for the gospel in vain by losing gospel benefits (3:4). Going back to the law of works to be justified (3:10-12; 5:4). Turning back to the weak and beggarly elements of the world (4:9). Desiring to be in bondage (4:9, 21). Going back to the observance of sabbaths and other festivals of the law (4:9-10). They considered Paul an enemy for telling them the truth (4:16). Were zealous for wrong things (4:17-18). Backslidden and in need of rebirth again (4:19). Were back in bondage to the law (5:1). Being convinced of circumcision (5:2). Were fallen from grace (1:6; 5:4). Using liberty as an occasion for the flesh to sin (5:13). Biting and devouring one another (5:15, 5:26). Seeking to escape the persecution of the cross of Christ (6:12).

‘Another gospel’ – the other gospel was the law which: Cannot justify (2:16; 3:11; 5:4); brings only the curse (3:10); is not of faith (3:12); cannot give an inheritance (3:18); was added only to make sin sinful (3:19; Rom. 3:19-20; 7:13; 1Jn. 3:4); was given only until Christ came (3:19, 23-25; Heb. 7:28; 9:9-10; Luke 16:16); could not give life (3:21); could not give righteousness (3:21); was a schoolmaster to lead to Christ (3:24-26; Matt. 11:11; Luke 16:16); is not in force for Christians (3:19-25); makes servants, not sons (4:1-3); brings bondage (4:9, 24; 5:1); was a religion of days, etc. (4:10); could not give the new birth (4:28-30); was cast out (4:21-31); demanded circumcision (5:2-3); if observed, cancels grace (5:4).

Greetings to Galatia

Galatians 1:1-5 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead), And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 

‘Apostle’ [Greek: Apostolos] a delegate, one sent with the full power of attorney to act in the place of another, the sender remaining behind to back up the one sent.

‘Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead.’ Note the two separate persons of the Godhead (John 1:1-2; 1Jn. 5:7).

‘Churches of Galatia’ – This letter was from the apostle Paul, written from Rome about 68 A.D., along with the book Hebrews, and was addressed to all the congregations of Galatia, a province of Asia Minor. There was no city by this name. How many congregations were in Galatia at this time is not known. It seems they all had the same troubles. The theme of this letter was to correct the fickle Galatians from further backsliding and following the legalizing, Judaizing teachers from Judea; and to set them straight regarding the relation of Christians of the new covenant with the Jews of the old covenant.

‘Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world.’ Five reasons why Christ gave Himself: For our sins (1:4; Matt. 1:21; 26:28; 1Cor. 15:3; 1Pet. 2:24). That He might deliver us from this present evil world (1:4; Tit. 2:14). For His body of true believers – that He might sanctify them by the Word (Eph. 5:25-26). To be a ransom for all (1Tim. 2:6). For us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity (Tit. 2:14).

‘That he might deliver us from this present evil world’ – Christ came to set us free from the bonds of sin that reign in our world. No Christian should claim that Christ died for the sin so that they can continue therein (Heb. 10:26-31), to be free means not to continue therein and thus make no place for satan and the curse (Rom. 6; 1Jn. 1:6; 3:1-10; 5:18). ‘To whom be glory for ever and ever.’ God won’t give the praise and honour that are due Him to angels, demons, men, or idols. Men must not take to themselves any glory for ideas, doctrines, works, wisdom, power, or ability that has come from God for His glory. Man is not worthy of such glory; how much less are images worthy of it.

Be Perfect

2Corinthians 13:11-14 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. Greet one another with an holy kiss. All the saints salute you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. The second epistle to the Corinthians was written from Philippi, a city of Macedonia, by Titus and Lucas. 

‘Perfect’ [Greek: katartid’zo] to complete thoroughly, that is, repair (literally or figuratively) or adjust: – fit, frame, mend, (make) perfect (-ly join together), prepare, restore. From James 1:4 we see six perfect things: Perfect work of patience (Jas. 1:4); perfect knowledge (Php. 3:15); perfect gifts (Jas. 1:17); perfect law of liberty (Jas. 1:25); perfect faith by works (Jas. 2:22); the perfect man by restraint (Jas. 3:2).

‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost.’ Another clear reference to the Trinity of three separate Persons in the Godhead: The grace of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father (John 1:17; 1Jn. 5:7). The love of God the Father (John 3:16; 1Cor. 13:1-13; Rom. 5:8). The communion (fellowship) of the Holy Spirit (Php. 2:1; Rom. 8:14-16).

‘Communion’ [Greek: koinonia] communion (1Cor. 10:16; 2Cor. 6:14; 13:14); communicate (Phm. 1:6; Heb. 13:16); fellowship (Acts 2:42; 1Cor. 1:9; 2Cor. 8:4; Gal. 2:9; Eph. 3:9; Php. 1:5; 2:1; 3:10; 1Jn. 1:3, 6-7); contribution (Rom. 15:26); and distribution (9:13).

Do No Evil

2Corinthians 13:7-10 Now I pray to God that you do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that you should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates. For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. For we are glad, when we are weak, and you are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection. Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord has given me to edification, and not to destruction. 

‘Now I pray to God that you do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that you should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates.’ Paul prayed that they wouldn’t do evil that he and the other disciples may be approved by the exercise of power to punish them; Paul wanted them to do right though he appeared to be a troublemaker, a person not approved of God. Their doing right will prevent him and the other disciples to use their power of judgment; otherwise, he would have to give proof that he was approved of God (13:7-10).

‘For we are glad, when we are weak, and you are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection.’ Paul stated to be glad to be weak if they were strong and in no need of correction.

‘I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord has given me to edification, and not to destruction.’ Paul only wrote to them to warn them by a letter, to put them on their guard, and to lead them to put away sin, so that when he came, he would not have to use his power to their destruction.

Examine Yourselves

2Corinthians 13:5-6 Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know you not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except you be reprobates? But I trust that you shall know that we are not reprobates. 

‘Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves.’ Seven final commands to the Corinthians: Examine yourselves to see if you are in the true faith (13:5). Greek: peirazo, make proof or trial of one; make a test. Translated try (Heb. 11:17; Rev. 2:2, 10; 3:10); prove (John 6:6); examine (13:5); tempter (Matt. 4:3; 1Thess. 3:5); assay (Acts 16:7); go about (Acts 24:6); and tempt 27 times (Matt. 4:1; etc.). Prove your own selves (13:5). Greek: dokimazo, to assay metals; to prove or test. Translated “try” (1Cor. 3:13; 1Thess. 2:4; 1Pet. 1:7; 1Jn. 4:1); “prove” (Luke 14:19; Rom. 12:2; 2Cor. 8:8, 22; 13:5; Gal. 6:4; Eph. 5:10; 1Thess. 5:21; 1Tim. 3:10; Heb. 3:9); “examine” (1Cor. 11:28); “discern” (Luke 12:56); “approve” (Rom. 2:18; 1Cor. 16:3; Php. 1:10); “allow” (Rom. 14:22; 1Thess. 2:4); and “like” (Rom. 1:28). Be perfect (13:11). Greek: katartizo, to adjust; put in order again; restore; repair; settle by mediation. Translated “mend” (Matt. 4:21; Mark 1:19); “restore” (Gal. 6:1); “fit” (Rom. 9:22); “prepare” (Heb. 10:1-39); “frame” (Heb. 9:3); “perfectly joined together” (1Cor. 1:10); “be and make perfect” (Matt. 21:16; Luke 6:40; 1Thess. 3:10; Heb. 13:21; 1Pet. 5:10). Be of good comfort (13:11). Greek: parakaleo, to call to the aid of one (1:4). Be of one mind (13:11). Combination of the Greek: verb phroneo, to think, and auto, the impersonal pronoun with a definite article which here means “the same thing.” Think and teach the same things; have no disputes (Rom. 12:16; 15:5; Php. 2:2; 3:16; 1Cor. 1:10). Live in peace (13:11). Greek: eireneuo, as in Romans 12:18 and Hebrews 12:14. Cultivate a disposition of peace and harmony. Greet one another (13:12). Be friendly; be glad to see each other; encourage every friendly act by a show of affection. Your party spirit cannot live in such an atmosphere as genuine love and friendship (1Cor. 13:1-13).

‘Know you not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except you be reprobates.’ If you will put the acid test to your faith it will be as easy to discover a false faith as a counterfeit coin. If Jesus Christ is in you then you are a new creature (5:17-18). You have His nature and power unless you are reprobates.

Mighty In You

2Corinthians 13:1-4 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present, the second time; and being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare: Since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you. For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. 

‘In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.’ This states the law of interpreting Scripture. Every doctrine must be proved by at least two or three scriptures to be accepted as truth and binding upon Christians (Deut. 19:15; Matt. 18:16).

‘As if I were present, the second time; and being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other.’ This indicates that he had been to Corinth a second time. The sense here is, “I foretell to you as I did when I was present with you the second time. Being absent now I write what I said on my second visit.” This is why he speaks of being ready to come to them a third time (12:14). The theory that his first visit was when he founded the congregation and his second and third visits were his two epistles to them is not reasonable. He could not call his letters visits to them. Because there is no record of his second visit is no proof that he did not make it, any more than no mention in the history of all his sufferings of 2Corinthians 11:23-28 is proof he did not go through them. Since he repeatedly mentions coming to them a third time that should be sufficient to prove there was a second visit.

“If I come again, I will not spare’ – this is further proof that his letters were not real visits to Corinth.

‘Since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you.’ Since you seek proof of Christ speaking in me, your very conversion and the gifts you have are sufficient proofs (1Cor. 12:1-31). ‘Weakness’ [Greek: astheneia] same word translated “infirmities” in 2Corinthians 12:10. It does not mean disease, but weakness. To people, the crucifixion appears to be Christ’s weakness and defeat. To them, He seemed powerless to help it, but this apparent defeat only demonstrated His power (Col. 2:14-17; 1Pet. 2:24; 1Cor. 1:18-24). We are also weak in Him and that very weakness brings us life and power (12:9-10). Because we are on Christ’s side, we may appear to be weak and on the losing side, but as His seeming weakness was His strength, so it is with us (12:9-10).

Not Repented

2Corinthians 12:19-21 Again, think you that we excuse ourselves unto you? we speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying. For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as you would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults: And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed. 

‘Think you that we excuse ourselves unto you? we speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying.’ He asked if they thought that he makes an apology for his conduct and that he sent the brethren to them because he was ashamed to come himself; He declares that God is his judge in this matter and know that this was not his motive. What he has done has been for their edification.

‘I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as you would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults.’ Paul has been fearful of three things: Lest he did not find them as they should be; lest he found them full of debates: wranglings (Rom. 1:29), envyings: jealousies (Acts 5:17), wraths: indignation (Rom. 2:8), strifes: contentions (Rom. 2:8), backbitings: slanders (1Pet. 2:1), whisperings: murmurs (1Cor. 10:10), swellings: puffed up feelings (1Cor. 4:6), tumults: uproars (Luke 21:9); lest God shall humble him among them because of some that have sinned and have not repented, and lest he has to use his power to judge all such (2Cor. 12:21; 10:8-11; 13:10; 1Cor. 4:18-20)

‘Uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness’ – three kinds of moral sins: Homosexuality, known in the lists of sins under the term “uncleanness” (12:21; Rom. 1:24; 6:19; Gal. 5:19; Eph. 4:19; 5:3; Col. 3:5; 2Pet. 2:10); fornication (Matt. 5:32); lasciviousness (Gal. 5:19).

Same Spirit

2Corinthians 12:14-18 Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved. But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile. Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you? I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps? 

‘Third time I am ready to come to you.’ This is the third time he has resolved to come to them. He planned it twice before, but could not make it (1Cor. 16:5; 2Cor. 1:15-16; 13:1-2).

‘But you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.’ He seeks their salvation, not their property. He said he will continue this policy (12:14-16).

‘Being crafty, I caught you with guile.’ Paul’s enemies accused him of using tricks to get what he was pretending that he would not take from them. He answers this charge by the questions of 2Corinthians 12:17-18.

‘Same spirit’ – characteristic of all true ministers. It is the same as being ‘one’ or ‘with one accord.’ With one mind (Acts 2:1, 46; 4:24; 5:12; 7:57; 8:6; 12:20; 15:25; 18:12; 19:29; 24:1-27; Rom. 15:6; Php. 2:2; 1Pet. 3:8). Being of one mind means to believe the same and think the same: we are commanded to do so according to the gospel of Jesus Christ (1Pet. 2:21-23) and not what church doctrines, ministers or different teachings ascribe as to the gospel. None will be uninterested, unconcerned, or lukewarm, but all will be in earnest and united in faith and prayer.