SEEK God’s face ALONE for CLEAR DIRECTIONS
November 29 Bible Reading: Galatians Chapters 1-3
“But I make known to you, brethren that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.” (Gal. 1:11-12, 15-17)
Apostle Paul is unique among all the other eleven core apostles of Jesus Christ for many reasons: one, he was the only apostle who was not among the initial twelve apostle having replaced Judas Iscariot who killed himself after betraying Jesus (v. 1); two, he was the only apostle whom Jesus called through a vision and not in person (Acts 9:4-6); three, he was the only apostle who was an educated Pharisee and a Roman citizen (Acts 23:6); four, he was the only apostle who was chosen specifically to minister among the Gentiles (v: 15; Acts 9:15); and five, he was the only apostle who directly received the gospel through the revelation of Jesus Christ (v. 12).
After his dramatic conversion, Apostle Paul changed his life vocation from being a persecutor of the Christians to become a dynamic preacher of the gospel (v. 23). In the above passage, Paul clarified the source of his gospel message to convince his readers that the gospel he had preached to them was the true gospel and what the false teachers were presenting was heresy. Both his gospel and his commission to preach it came directly from Jesus Christ on the Damascus Road (vv. 15–16). He did not receive it from traditional sources (e.g. his teacher Gamaliel: Acts 5:34; 22:3) nor did he learn it through traditional means (his formal education). Since his calling had been supernatural, Paul did not need to consult with other people or even seek directions from other apostles regarding his ministry. His authority came from God alone; and later the Jerusalem apostles merely confirmed it.
Paul actually traveled to the deserts of Arabia where he spent about three years in prayer and meditating on God’s Word in light to the revelation that he had received (v. 17). God removed the veil from his eyes and revealed many truths to Paul directly. God gave him clear directions concerning some basic elements of Christianity, which are evident in his epistle to the Galatians. These include the need to avoid legalism, the need to avoid self-effort, the need to avoid exchanging grace for a different gospel, about not trying to please God through own efforts, and about not trying to develop spiritually through own strength. Instead, what God had taught Paul was to totally depend on God and seek His face alone for clear directions through the work of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 26:12–18). At least a portion of these truths which God revealed to Paul has been preserved for the churches in his epistle writings that are so important for our lives as well today.
Apostle Paul’s story gives us a wonderful view of God’s purpose in calling us as well, and this is to reveal His Son in us so that we may represent out Lord Jesus to the world. He reveals Christ to our hearts (v. 16) in order that He may display Christ in and through us to the world (vv. 16–23) and that God may be glorified through this display (v. 24). In this day and age when there is so much liberal theology and dilution of the gospel, we need to faithfully study the scriptures rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15) so that we can detect the toxins of false teachings and proclaim the truth of God’s wonderful salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone. We need to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit in all walks of our lives. Let us seek God’s face alone for clear directions!