Verse: Galatians 1:6-9
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!
Three of my kids have their licenses now. Over the last four years there have been quite a few instances where I’ve had to yell some sort of warning, “STOP!” or “SLOW DOWN!” or “DRIVE ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE ROAD!” (just kidding on that one).
I feel like this is what Paul is doing here. This is the only letter where he doesn’t start with giving thanks for or praising the church. He normally starts with “I thank my God always concerning you” (1 Corinthians 1:4) or “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you” (Philippians 1:3). But not this letter. Paul comes in hot. “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you.”
Paul is shouting a warning. Paul is stomping on the ground of the car and smacking his hands on the dashboard. “STOP!” Why? What is he so upset about? The Galatians are “turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all.” Paul stresses that this isn’t just some version of the Gospel of Jesus, it is an altogether “other” Gospel. The people preaching it may have been claiming it was a different version, but in reality it was illegitimate, distorted, and perverted.
Can we apply this to our lives today? Can you think of ways that people present ideas as being “Christian” or “biblical” but in reality do not agree with the Gospel message as rightly interpreted from the Bible?
2 Timothy 4:3-4 warns us of this:
3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
The caution for us, then, is to be on our guard. To be diligent, wise, smart, and thoughtful about our faith. To test what people are saying and teaching against the Bible. To be courageous enough to acknowledge when something seems true but isn’t.
The “alternate” gospels we hear preached today maybe different than the ones of Paul’s time, but they are no less dangerous. As Paul said, they are “no gospel at all.” Instead of life in Christ they will lead to something else: Either works oriented faith, or permissive faith, or some other form of false belief. Let us endeavor to “keep the faith” as Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7 and to “watch [our] life and doctrine closely” (1 Timothy 4:16). Keeping our minds and hearts set on the Gospel preached by Jesus will keep us on the path to life and wholeness in him.
I pray for wisdom, Lord. I pray that you would give me eyes to see and ears to hear your word, and give me wisdom to see when “another gospel” is being preached. Keep my heart pure and my mind set on your word.
Author: Christian Dunn