Παῦλος ἀπόστολος οὐκ ἀπ᾿ ἀνθρώπων οὐδὲ δι᾿ ἀνθρώπου ἀλλὰ διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ θεοῦ πατρὸς τοῦ ἐγείραντος αὐτὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν…
Paul an apostle – not from men, nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead…
The apostle Paul is asserting his right to apostleship, however, he is quick to point out that this apostleship is not self assumed. Moreover, it does not derive from men (in general) nor from man (in particular). No individual or group has given him the right to claim this title. But from what basis then does Paul have the right to claim this title (and the subsequent authority)? First, this authority comes through Jesus Christ; and secondly, it comes from God the Father who raised this Jesus ἐκ νεκρῶν – out of the dead!
Did Paul put himself up to being an apostle? No! Jesus Christ ‘put him up to it’ when He met Paul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). God the πατρὸς is also the source of this apostolic authority because He raised Christ from the dead. Should we then listen to Paul and his message? Yes! Because it comes with God’s authority – the God who raised Jesus Christ from the dead. This means we should listen to what Paul has to say in Galatians, and what he has to say in the rest of Scripture because it comes with the message and authority of Christ.
It is very important to see the underlying message here. Paul did not take on himself the apostleship for his own gain. This Pharisee of pharisees, this expert of the law, this hater of Christ and Christians underwent a supernatural change on his way to Damascus. He experienced immediate (i.e. without a mediator) revelation, that is revelation directly from the God-Man Jesus Christ. This has implications for truth and for authority. There is such a sing as objective truth, contra all the inconsistent postmoderns who make truth relative. The revelation of Christ is also the authority for truth, in that He has revealed to us His will and we must agree and obey.