No Other Gospel

“This letter is from Paul, an apostle. I was not appointed by any
group of people or any human authority, but by Jesus Christ
himself and by God the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead.
2 All the brothers and sisters here join me in sending this letter to
the churches of Galatia 3 May God our Father and the Lord
Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. 4 Jesus gave his life
for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue
us from this evil world in which we live. 5 All glory to God
forever and ever! Amen. 6 I am shocked that you are turning
away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the
loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that
pretends to be the Good News 7 but is not the Good News at
all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth
concerning Christ. 8 Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us
or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of
Good News than the one we preached to you. 9 I say again what
we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News
than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed.
10 Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of
God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s
servant.” (NLT)

The book of Galatians presents one of the most profound expressions of the gospel message. Paul says that Jesus gave himself for our sins.

Paul had told the Corinthians that Christ died for our sins, and he wanted the Galatians to know that his death was his willing choice.

Jesus had said that he came to give his life as a ransom for many.

Paul told the Romans that Christ was delivered up because we had sinned and he was raised because his death accomplished our justification.

Galatians also points out that the death of Christ will deliver us not only from a future hell, but also from this present evil age.

He told the Ephesians that they had been delivered from “following the course of this world, the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.”

John had warned that “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” but the good news is that “we are from God” because of what Jesus did on the cross.

Galatians also reminds us that Paul was not alone in the mission that God called him to. He had a team of missionaries and supporters with him. This is why he introduced the book by saying “Paul… and all the brothers who are with me.”

Apparently, sometimes those brothers even assist Paul in writing his letters, like Sosthenes in 1 Corinthians, and Timothy in 2 Corinthians.

But usually the associates are listed without naming them specifically, like here and in Philippians 4, where Paul just says “the brother who are with me greet you.”
The list of men and women who were associates of Paul is quite extensive.

Their goal was to spread the kingdom of God by preaching the gospel and establishing churches throughout the lands of the Gentiles, which included the region of Galatia.
Paul was the leading apostle. This explains why his authority was accepted by the Galatian churches when he directed them to establish an offering to benefit the believers in Jerusalem.

Paul had to endure a great deal of suffering, mistreatment and hardships , but he said it was all worth it for the mission’s sake.

But Galatians reveals a major malfunction that threatened to undo all of the work of Paul and his mission team: some “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Paul called the troublers) had come into the Galatian churches, and were teaching a distorted gospel.
In 2 Corinthians, Paul had called them false apostles, and said that they disguise themselves as apostle of Christ. They taught that Christians needed to identify themselves the same way the Jews did: circumcision, diet, separation from the Gentiles.

The troublers had come from the Jerusalem Church, but not with the approval of the apostles or elders.

Jesus had warned that there would be false prophets, and he had said that we shall know them by their fruit. The fruit of the troublers was that many were deserting the church.

This is how it took place:

First, the troublers were trying to please men. That is, they were trying to accommodate the Jews. The Jews normally respected Gentiles who respected them, but NOT those who followed Christ. People who followed the teaching of the troublers would clash with the Jewish community.

Second, Paul pronounced a curse upon the troublers. Those who followed their teachings would be effected by the same curse.

Eventually, all those who had accepted the false gospel would desert the faith.

You have probably never thought to yourself, “man, I wish I could be circumcised.” So you might be wondering if the message of Galatians is as important today as it was when Paul and the brothers wrote it.

The problem with the troublers was not that they were trying to make the Christians more Jewish. They were trying to make the Christians non-Christians. They sought to accommodate the church to the world around them.

The message of Galatians is that believers should find our distinctiveness in Christ and the gospel of forgiveness through his sacrifice.

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One response to “No Other Gospel

  1. This Message is part of a series on Galatians. It was preached at Takanini Church of Christ, Auckland, New Zealand on May 2nd, 2010.

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