In his letter to the churches of Galatia Paul used some of his strongest language and a warning worth repeating to those who would “pervert” the gospel of Christ. “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 2:6-9 NKJV)
What offence was so egregious that Paul would make such an accusation with such a strict warning? How had the gospel been perverted? What was this “other gospel” that was really not another? And finally, is the gospel of Christ Jesus being perverted today in much the same way and if so how?
Grace to you,
Royce, as nearly as I can tell, the entire Galatian letter speaks against a doctrine of salvation through the law AND Christ; through circumcision AND faith in Jesus. Those who still maintain that the entire text of scripture is no more and no less than law are guilty of the same “perversion” by encouraging people to be enslaved to the broken covenant rather than set free by the perfect One. Epistles like Romans and Galatians are very inconvenient to them, and you will rarely find them quoted among such folks … accurately, clearly and without heavy layers of re-interpretation.
Well said! I completely agree with your conclusions.
So then if I preach Christ and the church of Christ, Christ and no instruments in worship, Christ and anything in addition to complete trust in Him, am I not guilty of preaching a “perverted gospel” as well?
I believe when we take away the deity of Christ, limit the holy spirit, or God, deny the resurrection of Jesus, or authority of the Bible for lives then we pervert the Gospel Christ.
I agree. However, in the context of the letter to the churches of Galatia, the offence was not about the deity of Christ, His sacrificial death, or resurrection. Rather, it was the teaching that faith in Christ is not really enough.
The fact is that Christ alone is quite enough. No person will be justified in the end because of what he or she has done, but only upon the basis of what He has done on our behalf.
Christians are designed “for good works”, but are not Christians because of them.
Thanks for your visit and your comments Kenney.
Royce, sorry for the long comment but your questions, and post itself require more than a bumper sticker quote.
The churches of Galatia were founded by Paul . They seem to have been composed mainly of converts from heathenism, Gal 4:8, but partly also of Jewish converts, who probably, under the influence of Judaizing teachers, sought to incorporate the rites of Judaism with Christianity, and by their active zeal had succeeded in inducing the majority of the churches to adopt their views . This epistle was written for the purpose of counteracting this Judaizing tendency, and of recalling the Galatians to the simplicity of the gospel, and at the same time also of vindicating Paul’s claim to be a divinely-commissioned apostle.
The great question discussed is, Was the Jewish law binding on Christians? The epistle is designed to prove against the Jews that men are justified by faith without the works of the law of Moses. Paul defends his apostolic authority ; shows the evil influence of the Judaizers in destroying the very essence of the gospel ; exhorts the Galatians’ to stand fast in the faith as it is in Jesus, and to abound in the fruits of the Spirit,
Royce I don’t know why you are so opposed to work but Jesus said we need to do more than just believe.
Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
Luke 6:47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:
Luke 6:48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.
Luke 6:49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.
Of course you know what you are saying isn’t true. I have repeatedly told you the opposite. But, I’ll say it once more.
We are saved to do good works, not because of them. No person was ever saved because of what he himself did. For some unknown reason you can’t comprehend that the best any of us can do so far as righteous acts, is unacceptable to God. One one person ever fully met the demands of perfect righteousness, Jesus Christ. He died in your place Laymond because you can never be good enough to be accepted by God. This is in regard to your salvation. Once you are saved you will either do good works, or in the absence of them, you will prove you are only an imposter and not really born again.
You are not saved by good works. You don’t stay saved by good works. You are saved and kept wholly upon the merit of Jesus Christ who fully met the demands of the law and fully paid the penalty for your sins when He died, was buried, and was raised from the dead. He defeated our two common enemies, sin and death, and freely gives in their place righteousness and life to those who simply put their whole trust in Him.
To say or even imply that His sacrifice isn’t enough, (as the Jews did in the area of Galatia) ,either to save or to keep saved is an insult to our Lord. What you are saying, or at a minimum implying, is that Christ’s payment was not quite enough, that you must now prove to God that you deserve to stay saved by your performance. There is one uncommon theological term for that sort of thinking, “HOGWASH”. You had better put all of your trust and dependence in Jesus and not in yourself.
I have long suspected that he was talking about the error of claiming ANY requirement to receive grace.
I have to disagree somewhat with the idea of the requirement to “have faith IN Christ”, but rather coming to an understanding of the “faith OF Christ”, in that, He believed that He was the Messiah as foretold by the prophets of old. Point is, if He was the Messiah, then His faith alone is sufficient for our redemption. To add any requirement to that, even “believing”, is a perversion of the Good News.
It is my contention that “believing” does not lead to redemption, but that “redemption” leads to believing.
I like your blog, and will be back often. Of course, that might not be a good thing in your eyes! 😉
Welcome to Grace Digest. I welcome dissenting views on my posts, in fact I have become accostomed to them.
I don’t know how you reached the conclusion that believing on Christ is unnessary. You did not get that idea from reading Jesus own words or from the teaching of the apostles.
That’s cool, bro. You can forget I said anything. Just wanted to see where your head was at. I’m looking for grace.
The universalist position you espouse, (the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man), I thought had been soundly rejected long decades ago. I suppose I was wrong. Where you differ from the Unitarian Universalists is that you claim that every man and woman are now redeemed sans repentance and faith.
I teach free grace but that it is only available to those who repent and put their complete trust in Jesus. Those who reject His gracious offer of eternal life and forgiveness of sins will finally perish.
I suspect you are not looking for grace but for a salvation that ignores sin. Jesus said, men refuse to come to the light (Him) because their deeds are evil. One must “come” to Him and must do that with a changed mind (repentance) and complete trust (faith) in Him. It is my sincere hope that before it is to late you will turn to Him. He is the lamb of God to those who receive Him and a fierce judge to those who do not.