From the Morning Scriptures

Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days. I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother. I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie. Then I went to Syria and Cilicia. I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.”  And they praised God because of me. Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain. Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you. As for those who were held in high esteem—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not show favoritism—they added nothing to my message. On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews. For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles.

—Galatians 1:18-2:8 (TNIV)

Here we see Paul continuing to build the case for his apostolic authority. In doing so, however, we do not want to miss the fact that Paul is once again building a case for the authority of the Gospel, albeit implicitly here. After all, why would he care about his apostolic authority if the Gospel he was sent to preach was a farce and a sham? What difference would it make? But we do not see any of that here. Instead we see a tacit acknowledgment that the Gospel of God is indeed Good News precisely because it is the Gospel of God.

And so we are faced with a choice. Do we put ourselves in authority over God’s word or do we submit to its authority? How we answer that question has huge ramifications for our lives, both now and after our mortal bodies die. If the Gospel is indeed from God, we have tremendous hope and Good News. We are not dead in our sins. Our mortal bodies will one day be raised and we will get to live an eternity in them. Without the Gospel, we have no hope. We are dead in our sins. No wonder Paul was so adamant about the Gospel and call to be an apostle to the Gentiles. It really was a matter of life and death!