Life-Study of Galatiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In 1:13-16 we see the matter of God’s Son versus man’s religion. Verses 13 and 14 present a vivid picture of man’s religion. In verse 13 Paul says, “For you have heard of my manner of life formerly in Judaism, that I persecuted the church of God excessively and ravaged it.” Here we see a contrast between the Jewish religion and the church of God. When Paul was in Judaism, he persecuted the church because the church was different from his religion. Paul hated the church because it detracted from his religion. In his religious zeal, he persecuted the church of God excessively and ravaged it.
In verse 14 Paul goes on to say, “And I advanced in Judaism beyond many contemporaries in my race, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.” The traditions here were those in the sect of the Pharisees, to which Paul belonged. He called himself “a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee” (Acts 23:6). The Jewish religion was composed not only of the God-given law and its rituals, but also of man-made traditions. Because Paul was so zealous for the traditions of his fathers, he became a leading religionist and advanced beyond many of his contemporaries.
Then in verses 15 and 16 Paul declares, “But when it pleased God...to reveal His Son in me....” At the time appointed by God, when Saul, zealous in his religion, was persecuting the church, the Son of God was revealed to him. God could bear with Saul’s zeal for the traditions of his fathers, for this produced a dark background against which to reveal Christ. At a time which was pleasing to Him, God revealed His Son in Saul of Tarsus. God was pleased to reveal to him the living Person of the Son of God. To reveal His Son in us is also a pleasure to God. It is Christ, the Son of God, not the law, in whom God the Father is always pleased (Matt. 3:17; 12:18; 17:5).
The Son of God as the embodiment and expression of God the Father (John 1:18; 14:9-11; Heb. 1:3) is life to us (John 10:10; 1 John 5:12; Col. 3:4). The desire of God’s heart is to reveal His Son in us that we may know Him, receive Him as our life (John 17:3; 3:16), and become the sons of God (John 1:12; Gal. 4:5-6). As the Son of the living God (Matt. 16:16), Christ is far superior to Judaism and its traditions (Gal. 1:13-14). The Judaizers bewitched the Galatians so that they considered the ordinances of the law above the Son of the living God. Hence, the apostle in the opening of this Epistle testified that he had been deeply involved in that realm and far advanced in it. God, however, had rescued him out of that course of the world, which was evil in God’s eyes, by revealing His Son in him. In his experience, Paul realized that there is no comparison between the Son of the living God and Judaism with its dead traditions from his fathers.
In 1:16 Paul emphasizes the fact that the Son of God was revealed in him. This indicates that God’s revealing of His Son to us is in us, not outwardly but inwardly; not by an outward vision but by an inward seeing. This is not an objective revelation; it is a subjective one.
God made the Apostle Paul a minister of Christ by setting him apart, calling him, and revealing His Son in him. Therefore, what Paul preached was not the law, but Christ the Son of God. Furthermore, he did not merely preach the doctrine concerning Christ; he preached Christ as a living Person.
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