The Genuine Gospel is not Man’s Gospel

by Mike Ratliff

For I make known to you brothers, the gospel that I preached, is not according to man. For I neither received it from man nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:11,12 Possessing the Treasure New Testament Version 1)

The εὐαγγέλιον or euaggelion, which the word “gospel” above translates, means “good message” or “good news.” What Paul stated in Galatians 1:11,12 is vital for us to grasp. Those of us who are in Christ can proclaim this εὐαγγέλιον for it is a message of very good news about something our Lord Jesus Christ has done on our behalf, but we cannot “be the gospel” nor can we “live the gospel.” It is a message of Christ’s work of redemption that was successful. He died on that cross and in so doing, His perfect obedience was made available to be imputed to all who believe this εὐαγγέλιον and in so doing, receive Christ as Lord and Saviour in repentance being saved by God’s grace through faith. In this, the Father justifies them, imputing Christ’s perfect righteousness to their account. This is possible because, while he was on that cross, their unrighteousness was imputed to his account and through his death, he became their propitiation. This εὐαγγέλιον  is indeed good news because it means Christians do not have to work their way to God. Their salvation according to Ephesians 1,2 is actually God’s work entirely, not theirs. The preaching of the gospel is a call to repent and believe which is how who do become Christians receive Christ as Lord and Saviour. Now, is that the gospel prevalently heard in the visible church in our time? 

The apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Galatians for the express purpose of addressing a crisis that had hit those churches in that area. Some false teachers had come in convincing some with a false gospel, which required them to be circumcised, which is works of the flesh added to justification by grace through faith. Paul saw this has an abandoning of the genuine gospel, in other words, apostasy. However, in Galatians 3:4 we see that Paul does not see this as a hopeless situation though he does call those who have fallen for this false teaching as foolish. Let’s look at Galatians 1:6-12.

I marvel that you are so quickly being turned from the one who called you in the grace of Christ to a different gospel, which is not another, except there are some troubling you and are desiring to pervert the gospel of Christ, but even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel to you besides that which we preached to you, let him be a curse. As we have previously said, and now again I say, if anyone preaches a gospel to you besides that which you received, let him be a curse. Am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I seeking to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not have become Christ’s slave. For I make known to you brothers, the gospel that I preached, is not according to man. For I neither received it from man nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:6-12 Possessing the Treasure New Testament Version 1)

Paul did not consider the addition of a little legalism on top of the genuine gospel to be trivial. I mean what’s so wrong with giving a little bit to make the gospel more appealing to more people?

I had a short discussion with a fellow today about the Greek translations I do for these studies and how I am collecting them into a cohesive New Testament called the Possessing the Treasure New Testament. He gave me several sideways glances and smirks and then asked why this was necessary since there were already so many translations like that readily available. I was surprised by my answer. I really had not intended to respond like I did. I told him it was a matter of obedience. I did not just wake up one day and decide to do this. This came after much prayer and several people, after all that prayer, contacting me independent of knowing I was contemplating doing this, and telling me how much they appreciated the Greek translations I was doing and how much God had spoken to them through them, et cetera. Of course, I did not tell him all that, but I told him about how I tried to be as accurate as possible instead of seeking the common, or less offensive translation. In other words, it is just the Word, study tools, my prayer, and me. Those big Bible translations, as good as they are, on some of the “tricky” translations” I can tell that a committee made the decision they went with. When I said that, he told me that he preferred that approach to my approach. That was when I told him that I was not politically correct nor ever would be. The decision of what I translate a certain way, when it is difficult is always going to be a matter of prayer, seeking God’s will for it, not mine and especially not to seek to offend the fewest number of people. Then I walked away. I thought I would be discouraged by that discussion, but as I thought through it and sought the Lord about all that, I was convinced more than ever, that this is his will.

One thing that being in the Word like I am on a daily basis does for you is what Paul calls being transformed through the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2). It is amazing how I can see the fallacy of the way the natural man see things and how that has claimed so much of what calls itself “Christianity.” That fellow I was talking to today was offended about some of things I told him that the Greek clearly showed about the imperatives of God, the judgments of God, and that God very much loves some and not others, et cetera. His God is just love and the cross did away with all that wrath stuff, et cetera…Not according to a clear reading of the Biblical text brother! That is why it is imperative that we get as close to God’s truth as possible and not only read it, but immerse ourselves in it. How did Paul learn the gospel? It was a revelation of Jesus Christ.

My brethren, please pray for me in this that I will have both the time and direction to do it right and that it all be for the glory of God alone.

Soli Deo Gloria!

11 thoughts on “The Genuine Gospel is not Man’s Gospel

  1. Praying specifically for this, Mike…that you will continue to do what the Spirit of God has led you into doing…and shown you by various means is His will for you….
    Even with fellow Christians whom you love, and have been close to… it is not always possible to please them and obey our Lord at the same time…I have discovered!
    Stay steadfast, my brother!

  2. Thank you for the constant reminders that it is all grace, grace, grace, and that even a wee drop of legalism nullifies the gospel. I recently encountered a book that referenced Richard Foster and something called “Spiritual Disciplines”. It sounded fishy, but I couldn’t put my finger on why. So I searched your site and solasisters, and read both articles on the topic, and what Bob DeWaay said as well. I’m not sure I totally understand all the nuances of it, but in a nutshell, the Foster/Spiritual Disciplines seems to be teaching “sanctification by works”, which is an error. And that is what you said above that apostle Paul corrected in the book of Galatians (paraphrased: “are you so foolish, you think you began in the spirit but are perfected in the flesh”). We are sanctified by grace through faith, just as we are saved. Am I correct in my understanding here?

    Also, if you don’t mind me asking, while it is a monumental task to undertake translating God’s word, why do you say in regard to your PTT translation of scripture from Greek, that doing it is “a matter of obedience”?

  3. Carolyn, yes, you are correct, spiritual disciplines as described by Richard Foster and those who emulate him are attempting to be sanctified by works of the flesh.

    What I meant by it being a matter of obedience is that I am more than assured that this is what God is having me do. What form(s) it takes is not known to me right now, but I have a huge amount of translation done and have learned that it is best for me to do my own translation in order to teach from the text correctly, therefore, I am in the process of putting all of this translation work together and then I will see what God wants me to do with it.

  4. Just to add more Scripture to what Carolyn said: Colossians 2:6 says, “As therefore ye received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him…” Paul has been telling the Colossians not to be deluded by those who would now have them resort to the traditions of men to fulfill their walk with Christ. Paul reminds the Colossians that just as they received Christ by the grace of God, they are to now walk with Him by that same grace.

    Thanks, Mike. Your translations are helpful.

  5. Mike, the man you have discussed has been taught another ‘jesus’, not the one of the New Testament letters. Some sort of idol jesus who is only one faceted and not the whole true image of the revealed Jesus of scripture.

    The gospel of Matthew has a good record of Jesus ( the real Jesus ) pronouncing WOE onto the towns of unrepentant people who would no turn and believe on Him ( the real Jesus ).
    Like this statement:
    Matthew 11:20
    Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”

    Here we have a crystal clear and damning statement directly from ‘God in the Flesh’ that there will be wide swaths of people He will send down to hell for unbelief.
    The Gospel is good news to those who God reveals Himself to and bad news to those he damns and leaves in thier unrepentant state.
    That is why we ( His chosen by grace alone ) have joy complete in Him and His work of grace from the grace of God’s election and His complete soverign salvation… or we would just be really clever and smart and use God’s grace to obtain what we don’t deserve by intellegence or works which would have a fasle motive of the flesh.

    Keep preaching the truth and we will watch men get set free! Continue to preach/teach those who appear to not agree… they might be granted His loving kindness to be set free by His grace alone!

  6. Mike please excuse the multiple posts but reading just a little further down in the same passage in the words of our Lord he says, “All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
    Very clear statement from God in the Flesh: ” …no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
    WOW, kinda flys in the face of the ‘I chose Jesus’ crowd and he has to save those who ‘ask him in to thier hearts’.

  7. Hey, Mike!
    Keep up the translation, as your work ministers to me as well, brother!

    Here is what we are up against…feelings…which in today’s world, translates God’s Word for most folks, rather then the Word translating our experiences…No testing the spirits, because how one feels about their situation is the guide they use.
    I have linked a you tube of a young man who has had a rough life. His name is Emmanuel, and he was a war orphan.
    Remember his name as you watch the video, along with his story, but most of all his choice of songs to sing…Watch carefully the reaction it receives. It is after the commercial:

    The prince of this world, is defeated, but not yet dethroned…and his time is short. He works through angels of light, and his hook is in the feelings. Biblical Christianity will look defeated when Jesus returns, to swallow defeat in His ultimate victory, just like at Calvary. This video is a micro of what we fight in the spirit world…The Sword alone is our weapon. Keep bringing hard truth to bear on soft feelings based religion, brother, and we will pull some from the flames, while we still can.
    Appreciate you and the folks who frequent this site!

    Ps: This video was forwarded to me by a “christian” who was emotionally moved by it to the point that she could not see all the co-incidental issues within it!

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