February 8, 2014.
“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.”
Today all I have is a simple question. A question that many of us will answer very quickly. My challenge, however, is for you not to answer it quickly, but in complete honesty.
Paul was writing to a young church at this time, a church that he had helped set up. Paul was not the type of missionary who set up a church and then had no dealings with it down the line; he was actively involved with the churches he established, and he cared about their well-being. The Galatian church is no different.
What is surprising to me, however, is that Paul starts out with a rebuke. Usually he writes a very positive opening telling the people he is addressing that he cares and misses them, and that they are his joy in The Lord. However, when he is addressing the people in Galatia, he jumps straight to the point. They had left the truth.
Paul was astonished that they had so soon left the gospel he had taught them. He was just there… how could they have turned to another gospel (which, as he says, was actually not another gospel, because there is no other gospel). So what had they turned to?
Had the church at Galatia rejected the Messiah? Were they now following satanic rituals? Were they worshiping a soup of gods? I don’t think so. “…[B]ut there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.” Their accursed turning was simply a distortion of the gospel of Christ. Paul even goes further to say that even if an angel from heaven were to come down and teach the church something contrary to what Paul had taught them, they were to be cursed!
I think the next statement he makes to the church is worthy of review, as I believe this is the main reason that the gospel of Christ was distorted both back then and today.
“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.”
Distortions of the gospel of Christ come at the hand of pleasing men. The bible teaches something that society doesn’t like, thus we must come up with a way around it. Or sometimes we just blatantly disregard biblical teachings, marking them off as “part of their culture.” I do not believe this is pleasing to God.
“For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
There are other passages that teach this very thing, but I will leave it at that for now and as the question. Perhaps this is one of the more important questions in our faith.
Are you living and teaching a gospel other than the one laid out in the bible?
Contemplate and meditate on this question. A distortion of the gospel is not always obvious. What do you believe? Why do you believe it? And, most importantly, do you believe and teach it because it is found in the apostle’s doctrine?
Suggested Daily Reading: Matthew 16, Acts 2, 4, Galatians 1.
Let us all come to the unity of the body.