Christ is in our midst!  He is and ever shall be!

In the Name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

For I certify to you, brethren, that the Gospel which was preached by me, is not according to man; for I neither received it from man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

For all of the greatness of this most blessed Apostle and martyr of Jesus Christ, St. Paul has had his fair share of detractors and those who have viciously disputed the authenticity of both his apostolic call and witness.  For all intents and purposes, then, brethren, nothing in this world has changed because the Church still must defend her authenticity and the message of divine revelation given by our Lord to His holy Apostles who, in like manner, have passed it on to us (Jn. 17:6-8, 14, 17).  It is not a “another gospel” as though that were even possible if the Church “having the mind of Christ” could even confess anything but the apostolic witness she has received from the first eyewitnesses (1 Cr. 2:16; 1 Jn. 1:1-5). 

Hence, St. Paul defends himself against all naysayers.  He offers an apologetic for his true and divine calling to the apostleship, no less true and no less divine than that of the Twelve.  According to him, in his own words, he readily confesses that he was as one prematurely born, unfit even to be called an Apostle or ranked with them because he sought to destroy the Church which he had loathed (Ac. 8:3; 1 Cr. 15:8; Ep. 3:8).  By his own admission, he was as one who had “a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” despite having had the best rabbinic teacher of that time (Ac. 22:1-5; Rm. 10:2).  That is, until he met the crucified and risen Lord Jesus on the Road to Damascus.  Better said, Jesus came to him while Saul was enroute to harass and arrest Christians.  Jesus, high and lifted up, encountered this misguided soul while he was determined to exterminate the Church and revealed Himself to the future Apostle.  It was a divine encounter, unorchestrated by man and engineered by God Himself.  For in the providential wisdom of the omniscient God, Saul would be a divinely chosen preacher to the Gentiles, according to our Lord.  “’The God of our Fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth,’” Bishop Ananias declares to the once blind Saul, just before his Baptism (Ac. 9:13-18; 22:12-16).  In that divine moment, Saul – known by us as St. Paul – is conscripted into the ranks of the saints he had formerly despised and persecuted and is set among the Twelve having equal honor and election, not greater than nor lesser than those who had personally walked with Jesus.  What Jesus had taught them over the course of a three year catechumenate and confirmed them in on the Day of Pentecost, Paul received through, as he says, “the [divine] revelation of Jesus Christ.” 

Paul goes to great lengths to demonstrate that his faith is that of the original Twelve, the Gospel that saves its recipients and “not another gospel,” eventually going up to Jerusalem to confer with a select few Apostles and to confirm that which he has received and now delivers to others is the true apostolic Faith.  “For I delivered to you . . . that which I also received” is the theme of a true Apostle of Jesus Christ (1 Cr. 10:23; 15:1-11).  We should be clear here that Paul is not denigrating the Tradition of the apostolic succession of the Faith “once and for all delivered” (Ju. 1:3) because he was taught it supernaturally by our Lord.  He does not see himself as superior because of it!  Indeed, the Faith he received by the divine revelation of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ is now the very same Faith he hands on and commits to others!  We must always be wary of those who claim to have a “new” revelation from Jesus by asking, “Is this what the Church of every time and every place has believed, taught, and died for?”  If not, then in the words of this Apostle extraordinaire, it is another gospel, a perverted gospel.  “But should we, or an angel from Heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached . . ., let him be accursed [anathema]” (Ga. 1:6-10).  Or, as he says elsewhere in even stronger language about those who trouble believers by preaching a perverted gospel, “Let them be castrated!” (Ga. 5:12).  Brethren, there are warnings – strong warnings – in Sacred Scripture about adding to or subtracting from the Faith once delivered, the Faith that saves (Dt. 4:2; 12:32; Js. 1:7; Pr. 30:6; Ju. 1:3; Rv. 22:18).

Beloved, there is a concept – a truth – espoused here by St. Paul which the Church has long held to and believed, a bold and daring assertion, an audacious claim: it is the Truth of divine revelation.  That God reveals – must reveal – truth that fragmented and dingy human reason cannot know despite its greatest efforts.  Sadly, however, outside the Orthodox Church, you will not hear much about divine revelation nowadays.  It has been “successfully” sidelined by modern Biblical scholars in favor of rational thinking.  Go to nearly any mainline seminary and you will find “divine revelation” relegated to the dust bin of antiquity and excised from politically correct institutions.  It smacks of “fundamentalism.”  That’s the word used in an attempt to shame and silence those who would actually dare to believe Sacred Scripture to be the “inspired Word of God” (2 Tm. 3:14-17), as though believing that somehow puts you outside of science and other more “trustworthy” things, thus making you unsophisticated, a country bumpkin, possibly even an extremist. 

That God has revealed, not only Himself but living Truth, has been steadily eroded over the years and replaced with the study and understanding of Divine Scripture as just a man’s book that doesn’t need faith to glean from it.  But rather what is needed – and what replaces faith – is a proper understanding of syntax and grammar and other literary knowledge.  As a side note, if Sacred Scripture is not divine revelation, then why bother to read it and immerse ourselves in it?  And, of course, once we start tinkering with the divinely revealed and received Truth, we tinker with salvation.  No longer is it the Church’s Faith received from our Lord and handed on to His Apostles who, in turn, entrusted it to others, but it becomes a matter of subjective interpretation and private opinion, despite what St. Peter says,

knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Pe. 1:20-21). 

St. Peter says this in the context of assuring his readers that he, along with James and John on the Mt. of Transfiguration, were personally eyewitnesses of the transfigured Lord’s majesty and that they heard with their own ears the “voice which came from Heaven” (2 Pe. 1:16-18).  To deny divine revelation, that is, to deny that God has had to reveal certain truths to us because of sin-darkened human thinking, is, in essence, to deny God because God is an “inconvenient truth.”  And, if the world allows for divine revelation, then it will be accountable to divine Truth.  And, if the world permits divine revelation, then it must accept the Truth Who is God Himself and that we are ultimately accountable to Someone other than ourselves – our own biases and subjectivity that can be so easily skewed by our darkened intellect and fallen human nature.

It is by divine revelation that St. Paul is not only saved but was taught, and it is this divine revelation that he and all the other Apostles likewise have handed on and the Church, as “the pillar and ground of the Truth,” preserves and delivers intact to her sons and daughters who receive it by faith (1 Tm. 3:15).  It is divine revelation that has shown us Jesus Christ (Lk. 8:41-56).  It is divine revelation that enables us to confess that this same Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Mt. 16:13-19; 1 Cr. 12:3; Pp. 2:9-11).           

For I certify to you, brethren, that the Gospel which was preached by me, is not according to man; for I neither received it from man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Through the prayers of our holy Fathers, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us.  Amen.

Glory to Jesus Christ!  Glory forever!


Ga. 1:11-19

Lk. 8:41-56