Galatians Part 9 - Galatians 1:16-17

C. “...immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood” (v. 16). (1) What need is there for a conference when the instruction is clear and directly from the Source? a. “Always drink upstream from the herd. Even the Water of Life is purest before it has input from a corrupt creation.” (PWB) b. Corruptible flesh and blood (1CO 15:50) had not revealed the truth to Paul: his gospel was “...not after man...” (GAL 1:11-12) so why seek confirmation of men? c. NOTE: It is a general trend of our nature, when Scripture clearly commands us to change our thinking or conduct, to confer with men, not to confirm the Scripture, but to see if there might be some way of condemning it. MAT 22:15. d. Paul did not even then go up to Jerusalem to the apostles (GAL 1:17), whom he later observed added nothing to him in conference (GAL 2:6), so clear were both Christ’s revelation to him and his appointment to be the minister to the Gentiles. EPH 3:1-7. (2) Paul was impressed with an urgency upon having been arrested by Christ: “...immediately...” a. He wasted no time in washing away his sins in baptism as a testimony of having been cleansed by Christ. ACT 22:12-16 c/w MAR 1:40-44. [1] The legal cleansing of sinners from the guilt and eternal penalty of sin (death in the lake of fire, REV 20:14-15) was accomplished by Christ alone in His sacrificial work for the elect (HEB 1:3; 9:12). This was a washing by Christ’s blood. REV 1:5. [2] Baptism is a figure of that saving work of Christ “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (ROM 4:25) c/w 1PE 3:21. [3] There is a pardoning cleansing away of one’s practical sins at baptism that remits penalty and gives one a clean slate to live as a new man. ROM 6:3-6 c/w 1CO 6:9-11; HEB 10:21-22. b. When the call of God is clear, consultation with men must take a back seat to obedience. LUK 9:59-60; PSA 119:60. c. Paul in doing so was in accord with the prophecy of ISA 49 which he applied to himself in ACT 13:47. ISA 49:8 c/w 2CO 6:2. d. The time for submission to God is when the call comes. Hesitancy or obstinacy at the water’s edge invites wandering and misery. HEB 3:7-11 c/w PRO 1:24-33. e. One may delight in hearing the word of truth but not in submitting to it, which increases his condemnation. EZE 33:30-33 c/w LUK 12:47-48; 2TI 3:6-7. 1. Though the account in Acts 9 doesn't mention it, shortly after his conversion, Paul went into Arabia (v. 17), where he likely “...increased the more in strength...” (ACT 9:22). A. Perhaps this was a pilgrimage to bid goodbye to the Mosaic covenant. GAL 4:24-25. B. But it may be that he went there to flex/hone his spiritual acumen for his commission of preaching Christ among the heathen (v. 16), in which case the “...Sun of righteousness...” Galatians 1-1-17 Page 16 (MAL 4:2) was presented to the Arabians hundreds of years before the moon god, Allah, was elevated to monotheistic supremacy by Mohammed. (1) NOTE: Muslims affirm that they can visit the tomb where the founder of their religion lies. Christians can’t do that. (2) If Paul did preach to the Arabians, there were no uncircumcised converted, since the first uncircumcised convert was Cornelius of Caesarea in Acts 10. C. As with Moses, Elijah and Christ, prior to the heavy part of his ministry, Paul was, as it were, “...led by the Spirit into the wilderness” (LUK 4:1). c/w ACT 9:6. D. It is a godly desire to separate temporarily from fellows to intermeddle with divine wisdom. PRO 18:1. E. On the heels of his baptism at Damascus, “...straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues...” (ACT 9:20) to the Jews which were part of his commission. ACT 9:15. (1) He retained a deep longing for the salvation of his own countrymen even well after he turned his ministry’s focus to the Gentiles. ROM 9:1-5; 10:1. (2) His hope was that the conversion of Gentiles would tick off Jews to not be left in the dust (ROM 10:19; 11:13-14) but they generally preferred to put him in the dust. ACT 22:21-23. (3) An irony of Paul’s dealings with the Galatians is that some of his own countrymen who had gotten into the church at Jerusalem were not fully into Christ but rather going about to con Gentile Christians into becoming as Jews. GAL 2:14. 2. Paul returned from Arabia to Damascus (v. 17) and confounded the Jews with his doctrine and understanding. ACT 9:22. A. “Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem...” (v. 18), which was owing to his having to escape the Jews at Damascus (ACT 9:23-26). Compare the “many days” and “three years” with 1KI 2:38-39. B. On that trip he saw only two apostles, Peter and James (vs. 18-19 c/w ACT 9:27) which seems odd but of that Paul affirmed, “...I lie not” (v. 20). (1) Paul often had to buttress his credibility with such affirmations (ROM 9:1; 2CO 11:30-31) for it is common with men to surmise evil or doubt facts that are contrary to their experience. (2) One could wonder as to what Peter might have thought of Paul’s going unto the Gentile Arabians but by Acts 10, Peter would have clearer insights. C. Here also Paul was helped by Barnabas (ACT 9:27), a faithful Levite who gave up earthly wealth for a higher cause (ACT 4:36-37) and who would be chosen of the Holy Ghost to be Paul’s companion in evangelism. ACT 13:2. D. The Christians at Jerusalem were anxious about Paul whose antagonism towards Christ had been so well known. ACT 9:26. (1) Here is a critical issue of church membership: saints should be convinced that a work of grace has occurred in an individual who desires to be joined to the church, especially of the Pharisees. c/w MAT 3:7-8. (2) Barnabas confirmed Paul’s confirmed Paul’s conversion. ACT 9:27. E. Owing to Paul’s bold and sound speech which could not be condemned (c/w TIT 2:8), “...they went about to slay him” (ACT 9:29). (1) Denunciation is the second last resort of a defeated opponent; destruction is the last. (2) The godly stop mouths by sound doctrine (TIT 1:9-11) but the wicked first stop their ears (ACT 7:57) and silence their critics carnally. F. What Paul experienced in conversion and suffering gave rest, comfort and growth to the churches (ACT 9:30-31). God knows that seasons of relief are needed. 1PE 5:10.
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