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PAUL’S AUTHORITY AND GOSPEL Lesson 2 for October 8, 2011.

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1 PAUL’S AUTHORITY AND GOSPEL Lesson 2 for October 8, 2011

2 When Paul wrote his letters to several churches inspired by the Holy Spirit, he used the common materials of his day (papyrus) and the usual format that was used in Paul’s day when they wrote a letter: 1)An opening salutation that mentioned the sender and the recipient and then included a greeting. 2)A word of thanksgiving. 3)The main body of the letter. 4)A closing remark. Nevertheless, Paul omitted the second step in the letter to the Galatians, going straight to the main body of the letter by using very tough but loving words to the readers. Why?

3 Galatians, 1: 1-5 Galatians, 1: 6-9 Galatians, 1: 10-12 Galatians, 1: 13-24 Greeting and defense of his apostolate “A different gospel” The true gospel Defense of his apostolate

4 GREETING “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” Paul uses his usual greeting to with GRACE and PEACE to the Galatians. He succinctly describes the heart of the Gospel with those two words. “How Paul felt about the apostasy of the Galatians didn’t make him love them less. His sincere desire was that they could receive grace that comes to men from God as a gift through the faith in Jesus Christ. Paul’s concern is to engrave the great truth that justification comes from God as a gift in Galatians’ hearts with this letter. Justification can never be won by works, but only by believing in the expiatory sacrifice of Christ. When the sinner receives that grace, he/she enjoys peace” (SDA Bible Commentary, on Galatians, 1: 3) Romans, 1: 7 1 Corinthians, 1: 3 2 Corinthians, 1: 2 Galatians, 1: 3 Ephesians, 1: 2 Philippians, 1: 2 Colossians, 1: 2 1 Thessalonians, 1: 1 2 Thessalonians, 2: 1

5 Galatians, 1: 1-5, 13-24 The Judaizers who preached in Galatia told that Paul was not an apostle with the same authority as the twelve. That statement involved that, if Paul was an apostle ordered by men, his letter had no divine authority and, therefore, his message must be rejected. Thereby, Paul defends his right to be called an apostle at the beginning of this letter, in an unusual way. 1.His call to be an apostle came straight from Jesus Christ (v. 1, 15, 16) 2.He declares that he had no direct relationship with “those who were apostles before me” (v. 17). That involves that he didn’t receive any authority from them. 3.He shows that James, Jesus’ brother, was an apostle too, although he was not one of the twelve (v. 19) 4.He maintains before God that his words are true (v. 20) 5.The result of his testimony is that all those who knew of his conversion “glorified God in me” (v. 24)

6 Finally, Paul’s authority as a divinely inspired writer was recognized by the Church. The apostle Peter places Paul’s writings at the same level as other inspired writings (2 Peter, 3: 15-16)

7 Galatians, 1: 6-9 With the words “a different gospel” (v. 6), Paul is not saying that there is more than one gospel but that there were some in the church who— by teaching that faith in Christ was not enough (Acts 15:1–5)—were acting as if there were another one. That “different gospel” was preached by the Christian Pharisees who taught that circumcision and keeping the Law of Moses was mandatory to be saved. “Every attempt to give preference to the works over faith as a means to salvation is a perversion of the Gospel, since it denies both the need and effectiveness of Christ’s sacrifice” (SDA Bible Commentary, on Galatians, 1: 6) “A DIFFERENT GOSPEL”

8 Galatians, 1: 10-12 “It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago-- whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows-- such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man-- whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows-- how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter” (2 Corinthians, 12: 1-4) Jesus appeared to Paul in his way to Damascus. But that was not the only time he received direct revelations from Jesus (Acts, 18: 9; 22: 17-18; 23: 11; Galatians, 2: 2) Jesus Christ showed the message of the true gospel to Paul through “the abundance of the revelations”.

9 The true gospel Paul preaches is the good news of salvation by faith in the expiatory sacrifice of Jesus. “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified” (Galatians, 2: 16) According to Paul, the gospel rests fully on what Christ accomplished for us through His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. Christ’s death and resurrection did something that we never could do for ourselves. They broke the power of sin and death, freeing His followers from the power of evil, which holds so many in fear and bondage.

10 E.G.W. (The Acts of the Apostles, cp. 36, pg. 387)

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