Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. Galatians 1:7
Grace never gets old! The Gospel Paul fought to defend with the Galatian churches was precious to him. How is it precious to you?
Evidently, Paul caught wind that the Galatian church leaders have been perverting (literally reversing in the original Greek language) the Gospel, reversing it from the good news of what God has done for us through Christ, and instead making it about what we need to do for God in order to stay “acceptable” to God and Christ.
Today I would like to have us all evaluate the ways, subtle and not so subtle, that we can reverse the Gospel in our own lives. Consider two ways I see in Galatians 1:
- Christ + Teaching: 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 — which is really no gospel at all. Galatians 1:6-7a
What’s so good about the Gospel? God initiated everything and came to earth to us to rescue us. What Jesus did on the cross was enough to satisfy God’s wrath, His holy and just response to our moral rebellion. This means that our whole Christian life is based on grace! In Christ, there is NOTHING you or I can do to make God love us more, and there is NOTHING we have done that would make God love us less. No religious activity can be added that convinces God to love us. The cross was all He needed.
- Overemphasis on Authority: 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! 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! Galatians 1:8-9
We love our Christian celebrities, don’t we? However, in the Kingdom of God, we should only have one “celebrity,” and his name is Jesus. According to Paul, anyone who speaks a Gospel counter to the Gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus taught should be cursed! I don’t know about you, but I have never told someone to go to Hell – yet that is exactly what Paul is saying in these verses – twice! He is not mincing words!
That “we” in verse 8 is important. Paul is saying that even he, an Apostle, must be rejected if he or any other human or angelic being changes their mind about the Gospel. Later in the letter, he will state that the Gospel didn’t come to him through a process of reasoning or reflection. It was received, not arrived at. So he is not at liberty to alter the Gospel through reasoning or reflection. It is the Gospel that is our ultimate authority, not a Christian celebrity or authority figure.
We are only one chapter into our study of Galatians and already I am amazed, humbled, and encouraged at how fiercely Paul is fighting for grace. May we have that same passion. Grace is what makes the good news so good. Grace is what transforms lives. Grace is what fuels hope. Grace is what is driving our vision for the future.
If you think Galatians 1 is good, you are in for a special treat this weekend: wait till we walk through Galatians 2! Why not read up? I look forward to seeing you this weekend!
We are free in Christ, PCC! Let’s live like it!
I love being your pastor!