Recap – Last time we looked at Galatians 1:3-5 and Paul gave us the big picture of this letter. Paul wanted us to understand that God extended his grace towards us, that God would get the glory and that in between these two statements was what Christ did. He gave himself for our sins, he delivered us from this present evil world, and Jesus did the Father’s will.
Have you let Christ rescue you or are you trying to rescue yourself?
Has someone convinced you that what Christ did for us wasn’t enough to rescue you from perishing?
6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
9 As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
The first thing we notice is how Paul gets right down to business. Unlike his other letters to the church Paul does not say they are doing well, instead he is amazed that they have turned away so soon. So what have they turned away from? They didn’t just turn from Christianity they turned away from the one that called them, who is Jesus. The turned away from the grace that he offered them. They turned away from what Christ did for them and had freely offered them.
If you turn from something it also means you are turning towards something. In this case they turned from the grace that Christ offered and turned to another gospel. Before we talk about what they turned to instead of Christ let’s talk about what Christ offered. Let’s talk about what they turned from.
What does the word Gospel mean? It means good news. It is the good news of Jesus Christ and what he has done for us. It is the simple fact that He died for us, was buried for us, and was raised from the dead for us, that we could be saved or rescued from perishing. It is the fact that he paid for our sins, and took the wrath of God upon himself so that you and I would not have to pay for our own sins and be separated from God for all eternity. Christ did all the work for us and died for us in order to justify us before a holy and just God.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 This is what Paul wrote to the church in Corinth.
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
That is the good news. What is interesting is that Christ did it all. I can’t do anything to earn my salvation, or pay for my sins since Christ already paid for them. As verse 4 says in this same chapter, Jesus gave of himself for my sin.
So this is the Good News, or Gospel that Paul preached everywhere he went. This is the same message that the churches in Galatia are turning from and turning to a different message.
Paul said that these people had turned form the Gospel of Christ to another gospel which isn’t another. In other words what these people had started to believe really wasn’t good news, but bad news. He said the teachings were even troubling to the people. Legalism brings anxiety, instead of having the peace God wants us to have. In addition he is saying that there isn’t any other gospel. There can only be one. The one we already discussed and the one that Paul preached so clearly and wrote about.
So what is it that they believed? Well Paul will deal with this in more detail but basically they were told that you either had to convert to Judaism and then believe what Paul taught or at least mix parts of Judaism in with what Christ did.
So what is the problem with adding something additional to the picture. Well if we add something that we must do then it isn’t the Grace of God that we are relying on and what Christ did for us alone, instead it is what we do plus what Christ did. In other words these people are saying what Christ did for us wasn’t sufficient to save or rescue from perishing.
Paul then goes on to say that if he or an angel or anyone preaches something other than the true Gospel let him be cursed. Notice he includes himself in this. Many times people who have preached the truth will stray from that truth for their own purposes. Many times people will compromise the truth to appease man. Paul is willing to call such people out and speak strongly about such deception.
There are several practical applications from this passage. One is that deception many times looks like the truth. The people that brought another gospel didn’t come into the church yelling and saying we have something that will trouble you or this is really going to hurt you in the end. No, they came in and taught something slightly different. They added to the truth, which makes it not the truth. People that want to pervert the Gospel are subtle.
The second application is that we should be cautious about who we listen to and what we believe. We should always test what others say against what the Bible actually says. Take time to study each day.
The third application is that we shouldn’t ever diminish what Christ did for us. He did it all because we couldn’t. When people want to add something to the Gospel and what Christ already did, you need to ask the question “If we need to do something to earn salvation or to achieve salvation, then why did Jesus have to die?” If I could rescue or save myself, then why did Jesus have to die?