Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead...
Thoughts for Today:In his letters, Paul would introduce himself in one of two ways. Either as a servant or prisoner of Jesus Christ (Romans, Philippians, Titus, and Philemon), or as an Apostle (Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, and Colossians). Why the difference? Because to those who welcomed him and his ministry, he was a servant; but to those who challenged and criticized, he was an Apostle sent from "Jesus Christ and God the Father."
I think it is pretty clear from this opening verse, that Paul will be addressing the people who who were trying to undermine both his ministry and God-given authority. They were trying to place the Galatians into a type of religious bondage: rules, regulations and rituals. Their hard line attitudes were in direct opposition to the ministry of grace which Paul had been teaching.
We see this same thing happening in our churches today. Whenever someone or some faction wants to take control of a ministry, they always begin by attacking the leader. Criticism and rumors are circulated about the pastor's credentials, appearance, or even oratory style. It happens when a rational argument related to doctrine cannot be raised. This was the case with Paul's enemies in Galatia. They were saying, "He doesn't have the credentials to teach us." And that was the reason Paul needed to establish his authority in the opening sentence of his letter to the Galatians. He said, "My authority was not given to me by men, it comes from Jesus Christ Himself." It leaves little room for doubts or challenges.
Questions to Ponder:We are very fortunate to have the Bible to rely on, and reference, whenever criticism or rumors are circulated about a ministry leader. From time to time there will be attacks levied by people who do not necessarily have God's Word in their minds or hearts. Is there a situation arising in your church? What does the Bible say about rumors, witnesses, and the like? Is God in control or has Satan been given free rein to disrupt the fellowship of believers?