To follow along with all of the Blogged Bible Study entries, go here. 🙂 There is alot of great stuff being written as we go through Galatians, Ephesians and Phillipians, with some wonderful people of God.
Galatians 1:6-10 “6 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. 8But 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. 9As 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. 10For 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.”
A different gospel…
The Gospel condemns the religious wisdom of the world. So many contend for their own religious views, and come up with their own gospel which is no less than offensive to God. There is a boldness in Paul here that comes through as he is defending his apostolic authority and ministry. He was a humble man, but one that was not willing to take a back seat.
I can’t really imagine any other reaction by the Galatian congregations then feeling like they had been hit upside the head with these forceful words of Paul. “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ.” I can see Paul shaking his head, thinking “Why are they so easily led like sheep to the slaughter house?” It was the unstable fickleness that astonished him. Apparently it happened “quickly”, a short time after their conversion. The Greek word metatithemi, means change, remove, turn, become deserters.
Paul makes it clear it is a personal choice. They may have been deceived and seduced, but they were to be held personally responsible for their choices. When Paul wrote of their “deserting Him who called you…” he was not speaking of their commitment to him…but their falling away from and turning against God.
“there are some who trouble you…..” Luke’s account of these intrusive teachers in Antioch have many similarities in Acts 15:1. There seems to be a few of the new Christians in Galatia what were disturbed enough about the errant teaching that they sent a report to Paul to inform him. Paul doesn’t appear to have much tolerance for those who would harass, intimidate and threaten the new converts. (5:12) I’m sure the false teachers explained that they were just attempting to improve on Paul’s presentation of the gospel, yet Paul brings the charge that they are deliberately “wanting to distort the gospel of Christ.” To distort the gospel is to destroy the gospel. To modify it is to mutilate it.
When any attempt is made to change the gospel into anything other than the life of Jesus Christ alone, then the essential nature of what is being discussed has been turned from gospel to religion, from grace to law, from faith to works, from God to Satan. This is what Paul finds intolerable.
Paul makes his feelings very clear in this chapter and I for one intend to heed his warning. He may be a bit out of step with the modern PC and its epidemic of “tolerance” but he had the discernment of God’s Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, to “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1), and turn away from that which was contrary to the very essence of the gospel in Jesus Christ. He had the boldness of Christ to “make a defense” (1 Peter 3:15) and “contend for the faith (Jude 1:3), so that people would not be taken captive through empty deception….I pray that we all would have the clearness of the Gospel which is Christ, and take our stand against all of the religious distortion and perversion.