“Whatever you do, don’t drink from any stream or creek. I don’t care how cold and clear and inviting it seems, it’s polluted and dangerous. Unless you see spring water bubbling from a rock, it will make you sick.”
That’s my warning to people I take backpacking in the wilderness of the High Sierras. If you’re not drinking from the source, you can’t trust the water.
Paul uses the same reasoning when he defends his message of the gospel of Christ, the gospel, declaring that the Christian life is by grace, through faith.
Like the sweetest water from a high mountain spring, the gospel Paul taught refreshes because of its divine source—direct revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
What Was the Good News Jesus Taught Paul?
The source of Paul’s gospel was God, not man (1:11-12).
- “But I make known to you” is Paul’s way of introducing a statement that he especially wants to emphasize (Cf. 1 Corinthians 12:3; 15:1, 2 Corinthians 8:1).
- Paul’s gospel is not “according to man”—not an idea that a human would come up with, not sourced in human intelligence or reasoning.
- Paul’s gospel is not “received…from, nor…taught by man”—not from a school of thought or a theology or a religious tradition.
- Paul’s gospel came “through the revelation of/from Jesus Christ”—revelation, disclosure, unveiling, revealing.
The Very Words Paul Heard from Jesus!
Acts records the words of that revelation to Paul to preach deliverance from sin and righteousness through faith in Christ alone. Paul recounts his conversion before Agrippa:
“I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.” (Acts 26:17-18)
When I taught this at Church of the Open Door, I provided this chart that breaks down the gospel Jesus taught Paul:
I will send you to the Gentiles to open their eyes, in order to turn them…
|from the power of Satan||
…that they may receive…
forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified
BY FAITH IN ME!
- This is what Jesus had always said about eternal life: John 3:16; 5:24; 6:47.
- This is what Paul faithfully preached: Galatians 1:4 (before the Jerusalem Council), Acts 16:31 (after the Jerusalem Council), Ephesians 2:8-9.
Christian, you can trust the gospel of Christ Paul taught. You can be sure that your deliverance from sin was by grace, through faith in Christ. That’s a message unpolluted by the teachings of men and women!
Question: What are some examples of the works men and women have tried to add to faith in Christ during the centuries that have polluted the gospel of Christ Paul taught?