Raised From the Dead

In his Letter to the Galatians, Paul claims that the source of his apostleship is the same “God and Father” who raised His Son, “Jesus Christ,” from the dead. And this same Messiah died to “deliver us from this evil age.” Paul employs this language because his letter is in response to men from Jerusalem who are operating in the church as if the old era was still in effect. Moreover, they were challenging Paul’s apostolic authority and credentials.

The Apostle Paul describes his apostleship by asserting a negative (“neither from men nor through man”), then by issuing a positive affirmation (“but through Jesus Christ”). In this way, he affirms his divine appointment to his office and mission to proclaim the Gospel to the Gentiles.

Empty Grave - Photo by Elimende Inagella on Unsplash
[Photo by Elimende Inagella on Unsplash]

His opponents do not dispute his office but claim his apostleship was received from human authorities, presumably, the church leadership in Jerusalem.

  • Paul, an apostle, not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ, and God the Father who raised him from among the dead, and all the brethren with me; to the assemblies of Galatia; Grace to you and peace from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us out of the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory unto the ages of ages: Amen!” - (Galatians 1:1-5).

Paul denies that his commission is dependent on any human authority, whether the mother church in Jerusalem or the church at Antioch. Instead, he received it directly from the Risen Jesus himself - (1 Corinthians 9:1, Acts 9:4-6, 22:7, 26:16).


Not only did Paul receive his commission from the Nazarene, but he also links the Gospel that he proclaims to the “Father…WHO RAISED JESUS FROM THE DEAD.” The fatherhood of God will play an important role in Galatians since in the letter Paul stresses that believers have become children of God by “adoption” - (Galatians 3:7, 3:26, 4:2-7, 4:22-31).

And Paul not only anchors his Gospel in the resurrection of Jesus, but he also presents it as the pivotal if not apocalyptic event that signaled the commencement of the messianic age.

In the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, the “powers and principalities” that enslaved humanity were defeated, including sin and death itself, and most decisively so.

As in his other letters, Paul points to the death and resurrection of Christ as the central event in God’s redemptive plan. The apostolic faith is null and void if “our God and Father” did not raise Jesus from the dead.

His resurrection marked the inauguration of an entirely new era, the final stage in the redemptive plan of God. And since then, nothing ever has been or can be the same - (1 Corinthians 2:5-8, Ephesians 1:17-23, Colossians 2:15, 1 Peter 3:22).

Paul writes from this perspective when he exhorts the Galatians not to subject themselves again to the “elementary spirits of this world,” and that is precisely what they will do if they submit to circumcision and place themselves under the calendrical rituals of the Torah.

With the sacrificial death and the resurrection of the Son of God, the jurisdiction of the old order reached its end. Jesus appeared in Galilee in the “fullness of time,” inaugurating the long-awaited era of fulfillment. “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” - (Galatians 4:3-11, Romans 10:4).


By reminding his audience that he serves the same God who raised Jesus from the dead, Paul prepares his readers for the description in Chapters 1 and 2 of how he received his Gospel by direct revelation from Jesus - (Galatians 1:11-16).

Moreover, Jesus is the one who “gave himself on account of our sins.” His death was necessary “on account of” the sins of humanity that had alienated men and women from God. The same idea is implicit in two declarations in the letter - (Galatians 2:20, 3:13):

  • The life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself on account of (huper) me.”
  • Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse on account of (huper) us.”

His death was “according to the will of our God and Father.”  This statement emphasizes the magnitude of what God did. If believers place themselves under the Mosaic Law, they risk losing God’s “grace and peace.” To return to what preceded Jesus is regression. It is tantamount to rejecting the grace of God made available to all through the sacrificial death of His Son.

By means of Christ’s death, God “rescued us from the present evil age.” In his death and resurrection, the expected messianic age dawned, and the time of “types and shadows” has given way to the era of fulfillment - (Romans 12:2, Colossians 1:12-13).

In the Hebrew Bible, history is divided into two ages – the present evil age, and the age to come. In Paul’s Jesus-centered view, the jurisdiction of Mosaic law over God’s people belongs to the “present age.” It is part of the old order that began to “pass away” following the resurrection of Jesus. Therefore, believers are no longer “under the Law.” Instead, they are “in Christ,” or as Paul puts it in 1 Corinthians, “in-lawed to Christ” - (Galatians 2:19, 4:3-9, 5:5, 1 Corinthians 7:31, 9:21).

By emphasizing his death and resurrection, Paul highlights the all-sufficiency of Christ’s death for the forgiveness of sins and the deliverance of believers from this “present evil age.” In him, God has acted decisively and thus impacted human history, indeed, the entire creation.



The Living Word

The Suffering Servant