Let us pause once more and consider the fact that the Apostle Paul, who was no fool, was willing to undergo the same sufferings and death that Jesus underwent in order that the gospel he received could be birthed in men and women’s lives! Why would he want to do this? He realized that the entirety of God’s plan for humankind was bound up in this revelation, and he was willing to pay the price to make that experience become a reality in other people’s lives.
In the Bible Paul does not come out as a very ‘loving’ person, in the way we view love in our fallen human perspective. But let it be known that next to Jesus, the Apostle Paul probably manifested the greatest love for us that any man could manifest. We can praise and thank God for the Apostle Paul!
Lastly, let us consider the fact that Paul himself was a former seminary student, a man who had studied under Gamaliel, the foremost instructor of the Hebrew religion of his day. Gamaliel was a man of great wisdom and integrity. We can therefore conclude that what Gamaliel taught Paul was sound religion, enough to make one a devout man or woman. Yet Paul, then known as Saul, remained “a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious” (1 Tim. 1:13), until he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. In other words, Gamaliel’s theology, although it made Paul a deeply religious man, did not change his character in the least. He held the Torah in one hand and a sword in the other. Gamaliel’s gospel was a powerless gospel.
In Galatians chapter 1 Paul is talking of his experience on the road to Damascus and onwards. His experiences before the Damascus experience have no place in his life any more.
After Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus he was commissioned to go preach the gospel. The fact that the Apostle Paul received the gospel which he preached by revelation is one that cannot be compromised and whose importance cannot be over-stated. I think I need to repeat that. This reality is one that cannot be compromised, nor can it be over-stated. It is of such grave spiritual importance that the Apostle says that if he or an angel from heaven were to come and preach any other gospel than that which he preached to them, let him be accursed.
“I received it from no man”. It is from this perspective alone that we can hope to effectively express the gospel of Jesus Christ, otherwise we reduce the gospel of Jesus Christ to the level of mere religion, mere education.
It is a telling statement indeed of the times we are living in to see how spiritual matters are being taken so lightly and how easily strange doctrines are being injected into the gospel of Jesus Christ. May the fear of God grip our hearts!