Revelation Not Consensus

This article is longer than I usually post. It is worth the time.

Galatians 2:2a And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles…

Recently my wife and I had breakfast with my dad, my mom, a pastor friend, and his wife. Upon completing our meal, my dad handed the waitress a tract. She responded by saying, “Oh, I go to such and such a church.” Then the pastor friend flatly asked her, “So, are you saved?” She said, “You know, whenever someone asks me that question, I don’t quite know how to respond.” She was from a religious background and the pastor mentioned, “Religion is about going through a certain church to get to God, but this tract will tell you how you can go directly to God through His Son Jesus.” That has always been the issue, and a lot of times people are stuck in a church where there is peer pressure, family and people they know, who are more authoritative than what the Bible actually says. It has always been so.

In Galatians 2 Paul is addressing people who were being led astray by those who were adding other things to the gospel apart from the facts that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again. The gospel he presents in Galatians is clearly a gospel whose authority is based upon God Himself and not upon consensus. We are living in a day where everyone wants to know what everyone else thinks. There is a proliferation of polls and surveys to see where people are and what they think. While such things may be useful if you are going to be a politician or start a business, the truth of the matter is that the truth is defined by God and not by consensus.

In Galatians 2:2 Paul is giving his history in the gospel and he says, “And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles.” What he is saying is that the same gospel he was communicating to people, he went to present before other leaders by revelation. It was not his idea. It was God’s idea. In verse 6 he says, “But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me.” So, there were people conferring one with another and indeed Paul was talking to these people. But what he is saying is that even though these were good men of some authority, people like Peter and John, these men were not the men who defined the gospel. God is the One Who defined the gospel by what He did to provide for the sins of mankind.

Again, in verse 8 Paul says, “(For he [God] that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles).” So, the same God that commissioned Peter to preach the gospel to one group of people, the Jews, commissioned Paul to preach the gospel to another group, the Gentiles. Verse 9 says, “And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.”

Paul is referring to people who would have been largely and widely regarded as authoritative. They were people like Peter, John, and James, men that spoke with some gravity. But in speaking of these people and his conference with such people, Paul makes it very clear that his gospel was not of these people. They could neither make my gospel the gospel of God nor could they deny the gospel, which they did not try to do. This gospel comes from Jesus Christ.

So, the server we met at the restaurant was very open to the gospel. She was in a church and was largely informed by where she had always been, the people she knew believed this and her family believed this. We can all understand that, but the authority is the Word of God. That is why the pastor said, “This tract will tell you that Heaven comes through Jesus and not through a church,” Despite this, we have a tendency to want people to agree with us.

The truth and the authority that come from the truth come from revelation and not from consensus. I want to win people to the truth, but the truth is not defined by people. It is not defined by what this church has always said or what this group thinks. It is defined by what God has said, and God has made it very clear that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ alone. It is not by any of man’s works that we can add. It is by the work of God. So, the gospel, the path to God, is defined by the authoritative revelation from God in the Word of God and not simply by what a majority of people think.

This devotional was written by Evangelist Wil Rice. You too may receive his writings several times a week and/or read his past articles at firstlight@billriceranch.org.

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