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A Different Gospel???

Last week I introduced Galatians to the folks that I met with in my campground ministry.  This week we move further into the issue that Paul is facing as he writes to the churches he founded in the Galatian region.

In the first five verses, the main issue seemed to be the fact that someone is questioning Paul’s authority and apostleship. In verses 6-10,  He takes up another aspect of the issue and, most likely to Paul, a more important one.

Paul states that he is amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him…for a different gospel.  Someone or some group has traveled to these churches that Paul founded and loved.  They are preaching some sort of gospel to them.  There’s just one problem.  It’s a different gospel than the one Paul preached.  Something is different about it.  It is close to the gospel that Paul preached, yet just different enough to not be the real thing.  Paul is shocked that they are falling for it.  He can’t believe it.  He is in shock.  And he is not going to just passively let it go.  He is going to fight for the truth.

Paul also considers abandoning the gospel he preaches with deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ.  This should probably give us a clue about the issue.  Paul considers abandoning the true gospel to be abandoning God and Christ.  Being one who persecuted those that followed the gospel before his conversion, Paul loves this gospel message that comes directly from the Lord.  Quitting it is equivalent to quitting God.

Paul also gives us a hint at what the problem with this gospel is.  The Galatian Christians have been called…by the grace of Christ.  Paul already seems to be indicating that grace is not at the heart of this gospel that is being preached and taught.  He is already laying down the direction he is going.

Paul even goes so far as to say that this gospel is really not another gospel.  It is one that is disturbing the Galatians and Paul is upset about it.  The people he loves are being affected by these people who want to distort the gospel of Christ.

Paul ups the ante on these false teacher as we look further at the scripture.  He says that if anyone preaches a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you then they should be accursed.  This is strong wording from Paul.  The Greek word is anathema, which means to be cut off.  So, Paul is saying that it doesn’t matter if it’s him or an angel, if a different gospel is preached then they should be separated completely from the Lord.  It’s not enough that Paul says it once, but he says it again for emphasis.  Paul is giving us a strong picture of how he really feels about what is going on in Galatia.

Paul finalizes in verse 1o what the motivation of these men is.  He asks if he is seeking the favor of man, or of God?  Is he striving to please men?  Paul strongly denies this.  He says that if he was doing so then he would not be a bond-servant of Christ.  His motivation is to please Christ.

Paul indicates that these enemies and false teachers are really trying to please man rather than God.  That is the heart of what Paul is telling the Galatians.  He is saying that if you abandon the gospel you are abandoning God in an attempt to please man.  Paul gives them and us a strong warning to not give up what we believe for something that will cause us ruin.

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