The Apostle Paul makes some sweeping reminders about the nature of the true Gospel in the opening verses of Galatians. These are reminders we all need to hear.
 Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— and all the brothers who are with me,
To the churches of Galatia:
 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,  who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,  to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.  But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.  As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.Galatians 1:1–10
Here is what Paul says…
The Gospel is Unique.
I do not mean to imply the Gospel is odd or weird. No. The gospel is completely singular. It stands alone. It is like no other. It is uncomparable, unreplicatable. The Galatians believers had forgotten this. They had begun to listen to another version, one different than first delivered to them by Paul. Knowing the total uniqueness of the Gospel, the Galatian duplicity floors him.
Paul writes, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different Gospel” (v. 6). The word he uses here translated “astonished” is a strong word. This is the word used to describe how the disciples felt after Jesus calmed the storm. This is the word used to describe how the crowds responded when they saw the mute speaking and the cripple walking. Paul is dropping his jaw. Why? Because there is only one Gospel and the Galatians are in short order abandoning it. Therefore, Paul is quick to clarify in verse seven “Not that there is another one.”
So what is the Gospel? What do we proclaim? We proclaim forgiveness of sins through Jesus. We get this in seed form in verses three and four. Paul writes, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age…” (vv. 4-5). The good news of the Gospel is the forgiveness of sins made possible through Jesus. We see this variously proclaimed throughout Acts and the New Testament.
What is so important to note is that this forgiveness only comes through Jesus (v.4). That is why the Gospel message is unique. For this reason, Peter states in Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Likewise, Jesus himself confirms, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes through the Father except through me.” We see why now. He alone provides forgiveness through his substitutionary death. To forsake this Gospel is to forsake all hope. This in fact is precisely what Paul warns. Paul writes, “If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed” (v. 9).
We must be very careful then in how we approach the gospel, not as revisionist, not as critics, but as faithful hearers, true to the word received. For if we stray, we may stray to a gospel that is no good news. This means we must not be confused with the good news other religions may proclaim. What they proclaim, regardless of the shine, is most definitely not good news apart from Christ. The Gospel stands alone, completely unique, as the lone hope of the world.
The Gospel is of God.
We come to understand something of the uniqueness of the Gospel when we come to understand its divine origin. The gospel is entirely of God from start to finish. As we reread the opening verses of Galatians one, this becomes apparent.
We first see the Gospel is from God. Paul describes this good news about Jesus as having been “according to the will of God our Father.” Think on that. The Gospel narrative was not some willy nilly project. Nothing was improvised. Nothing was ever in jeopardy as Christ walked this earth. As his enemies grasped him, a still stronger grasp held him, namely, the will of God. Jesus would face trial, suffer scourging, walk the hill of calvary, and die on a wooden cross all within the sovereign plan of God. Even when Satan thought he had had his way, even when the enemies of Jesus celebrated, God secretly knew His plan was coming to fruition.
Of course, all of this evil was truly evil. Those who perpetrated such things will surely be punished, and yet, through it all, God was still working His plan for good. He would bring redemption out of these darkest hours, and nothing could stop Him. So this whole gospel initiative was God’s idea. As someone once said, the love of God secured the cross of Christ and not the other way around.
Second, we see the Gospel was by or through God. We see this in Paul’s remark, “the Lord Jesus…gave himself for our sins to deliver us” (v.4). In other words, we did not deliver ourselves. We did not make a bit of good news, a gospel, for our own. We did not win our salvation no more than we thought of the plan. We did not act good enough. We did not nestle and batt our eyes until God finally caved in and overlooked our sins. In fact, we had no desire for such resolution for we were enemies of God (Romans 5:10), nor could we ever attain such a solution on our own even if we should wish it. For the forgiveness our sins would only come at a great price. Our sins required payment (Romans 3:23). And Christ himself paid the debt. He volunteered himself. God’s one and only son won our salvation, redeeming us by his shed blood, delivering us from this dark world.
Third, we see this Gospel is not only from and by God, but it is also ultimately to God. The Gospel message and the salvation of souls redounds to the glory of God. Paul states so clearly this truth. He says this whole gospel plan was according the plan of God “to whom be the glory forever and ever” (v. 5) So as we consider the gospel, we see the pronounced fingerprint of God. We do not see the triumph of man. We do not see the determination of human will. No human creativity marks this story. The Gospel is divine…beginning, middle and end.
The Gospel is Faithfully Delivered.
Because the Gospel is completely unique and because the Gospel is orchestrated by God himself, Paul goes at great length to assure us and the Galatian believers he himself is a faithful messenger, someone who has not launched out on his own with a head full of fanciful ideas. So to make this clarification, Paul introduces and explains the idea of apostleship.
The term Apostle literally means “sent one.” This term sometimes applied to a navy envoy that was sent out on behalf of a king. Thus, as the crew landed, planted the flag, and read a declaration, they were not claiming the land, nor speaking for themselves per se. Rather, they were speaking on the authority and behalf of the king who sent them. In the same way, Paul says he is an apostle from God. Like slapping down a full resume, Paul makes his case in significant and varied ways.
Paul begins by saying his calling is not from man. No human has thought up this idea to send him out. But then Paul even goes a step further. He states his ministry is not even through man. That is to say God did not come up with the idea of apostleship but now a church is meting it out. So no think tank has launched him out a circuit speaker. No missionary board has approved him and sent him. Instead, Jesus himself has sent him out.
Another detail makes the case for Paul’s unique authority. Paul does not mention his companions, which he typically does in his other letters. Why this omission? He is likely avoiding the implication that his authority to speak the Gospel is somehow connected with man. We see another church in Corinth get confused over this issue. The Corinthian church thought who baptized them mattered. So here, Paul avoids connecting his gospel with a set of names. His Gospel is from God. It is not tainted. It is not altered or tweaked. It is directly from God to the Galatians and to us by the faithful hand of Paul.
Finally, Paul confirms his own motivation. He says as he ministers he has no interest in pleasing man. His sole purpose is preaching is to please God for he is God’s servant. In Paul’s own words, he says, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Gal. 1:10). So what’s Paul saying? He is saying the Gospel is unique, that it is from God, and that he would not, could not dare to mess with it. He is simply a messenger sent by God to proclaim this good word. He speaks by the power, authority and direction of God. He has not tampered with the word. He has not altered it to his liking. God has sent him and now sustains his ministry. This is not Paul thing.
But that’s not all. A staggering observation remains. Not only is the Gospel unique, of God, and faithfully delivered, but…
The Gospel is For Us.
When you understand the first three points, this last observation will flatten you. The Gospel is for you. Yes, it wholly unique. You can’t just pick one up at the corner bookstore. It is precise. Yes, it is wholly of God. You cannot make or win one yourself. Yes, even Paul trembles to get it right, to speak it correctly. But after all that, this amazing, perfectly preserved Gospel makes its way into our hands. Think about that. This would be like visiting the Kentucky Derby and receiving the victors crown and cash reward simply because you placed your bet on the winning horse. The owner arranged for the whole thing. The jockey executed the plan. But now you get the prize. This would make little sense, but this is precisely what happens in the Gospel. God the Father plans the whole rescue. God the Son executes the plan. And then some strange lacky like ourselves receives the rewards (applied by God the Spirit). Paul says here in the opening verses of Galatians Jesus gave himself “for our sins to deliver us” (v. 4).
This precious gift of the Gospel has been procured for us. May this truth stir your soul.