The Gospel has been reveled to Paul not by human origin but by Jesus Christ. If it is thus for Paul it is also for us. Paul’s main point is that each of us know Christ by salvation and have Christ revealed to us, and so we discern what is Truth by the Power of the Holy Spirit within us. Yet the Galatians were swayed by missionaries who preached a perverted Gospel and had they been listening to Christ they would not have been so moved off of faith’s grounding– the Gospel.
Here Paul directs us as to how Christ’s Truth comes to us in community. As we listen to the Holy Spirit we, at times, check with others to confirm what Holy Spirit is saying to us. We are Christ’s Church and our thoughts and prayers align in the Holy Spirit. Notice that Paul speaks less to individual faith and mainly to the community of believers as a whole. He offers himself as a model for discipleship or an authoritative pattern for us to follow.
Paul tells us that when Christ’s Revelation came to him he did not check with other believers, the apostles, but simply followed Christ’s instructions to go offer salvation in Jesus Christ to the Arabians for three years (other scholars suggest he followed the footsteps of Elijah to Mt. Sinai (1 Kings 19:1-18) for three years), then returns to Damascus (just as Elijah had done)(1:17). Through him believer’s communities are founded, Churches are started, and Paul stays in community with them to teach faith.
Paul tells that he was formerly the foremost persecutor of Christians (1:13-16)– he had zealously followed the Old Testament law, which is what led him to persecute the Christians. His meaning is not lost on us: to follow the old law is not to follow Christ. Christ gives us everything we need. We are Christ’s ‘servants’ (v. 10) as we witness to Christ’s Resurrection, the New Birth in Christ, and acceptance of the New Covenant given to us by Christ. We, Christ’s global Church, live in New Testament faith fully placed in Jesus Christ alone. We affirm this with Paul saying, “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in Me.” (2:20)
The Galatians did not have Luke’s Acts Of The Apostles in hand. In this letter to the Galatians Paul says nothing about the blinding Light on the road to Damascus or the Voice from Heaven. Paul wants us to understand God’s call to him before he was born (1:15) and that God Himself showed Paul Jesus Christ. Paul uses imagery from Jeremiah and Isaiah to emphasize that he does not see his call as a conversion from one religion (Judaism) to another (Christianity), but as God summoning Israel to take up the revolution begun in Jesus Christ– a revolution of the Gospel for all the people of the world.
13 You have heard, no doubt, of my earlier life in Judaism. I was violently persecuting the Church of God and was trying to destroy it. 14 I advanced in Judaism beyond many among my people of the same age, for I was far more zealous for the traditions of my ancestors. 15 But when God, who had set me apart before I was born and called me through His Grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son to me, so that I might proclaim him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with any human being, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were already apostles before me, but I went away at once into Arabia, and afterwards I returned to Damascus. Galatians 1:13-17