Galatians 1:6-9

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Galatians 1:6–9 KJV 1900
6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.


Christians are often labeled as intolerant.
Tolerance depends on your definition.
Do I believe everyone has a right to believe whatever they want? Yes.
Does that mean that I have to also believe that everyone, no matter what they believe is equally right? No.
Paul would make no pretension at being religiously tolerant, if being tolerant means that it doesn't really matter what persons believe so long as they believe. How naive and glib we often are: "What persons believe is their business a private matter. We don't need to be too concerned about theology or doctrine. Being brotherly is what matters, living by the golden rule, doing good, refraining from harmful activity-that's what counts. And if you are sincere, you'll be led to the right truth and in the right path."
"Hogwash!' Paul would say. "What you believe eventually determines how you live. You can't encrust the gospel of grace with a system of law.
But that is what they Galatians were guilty of, and so Paul begins to address this.

Paul moves into the body of his letter.

Again, it’s important to note that there is no word of commendation for the Galatians.

Paul marvels at the speed of unraveling taking place among the churches of Galatia.

This is the only time that Paul indicates that something caused him to marvel.
The word Paul uses to indicate that he was marveling at something means he was shocked or surprised by what he has learned.
Now, Paul was not shocked that believers would be removed from what they had once believed.
After all, Paul had been a pharisee.
The pharisees were, at their core, a group focused on preventing Judaism from drifting away from what it stood for.
Paul knew from his training as a Pharisee that every group or belief system has a tendency to drift from it’s founding principles.
Drift did not cause him to marvel.
What caused Paul to marvel was how quickly this happened.
There are two time periods that Paul may have been referencing here.
It could have been that this drift took place so quickly after Paul had been with them.
It could also have been that this abandonment of the truth may have occurred quickly after being presented with the theology of legalism.
Either way, the Galatians have proved their lack of stability by retreating from the truth without much of a fight.
But, why?
Why were they so wishy-washy?
Why did they lack fortitude?

I think the text gives us a clue as to the cause of this rapid drift.

The Galatians had adopted some of the same modern philosophies that we struggle with today.
How many of you have heard to statement, “It’s just business, it’s not personal.”
Or, how many of you have heard someone talk about “the battle is not between personalities, but rather it’s a battle of ideas.”
We have found that it is easier to fight an impersonal opponent than a personal one.
That’s why we caricature or villainize people we don’t get along with.
If we can erase their personhood, it makes it easier for us to turn on them.
The Galatians viewed the gospel and legalism as nothing more than doctrinal ideas.
Paul resets their thinking by pointing out, they have not just abandoned an idea, but a person.
The gospel is nothing if it is not personal.
The nature of the gospel is founded in the person of Jesus Christ.
To tamper with, add to, or subtract from the gospel is a matter of personal offense to Jesus, himself.
It was Jesus, after all, that called them into the grace of Christ.
Though Paul had delivered the message to the Galatians, it was Jesus’s message, Jesus’ salvation, Jesus’ grace that they were not being true to.
Instead, they had allowed these false teachers to come in and entice them to another message.
I mentioned it last week, we won’t get into it much today, but the general idea of this other “gospel” is legalism.
If we are saying that the gospel is founded in Jesus, then what is legalism founded on?

Paul seeks to open the eyes of the Galatians to what is happening to them.

They are peddling a counterfeit product.

There can be no other gospel.
Jesus claims to be the only name, the only door, the only way to salvation.
You cannot add works to the gospel message and claim that it is the same message.
You can’t add your good works to Jesus’ work and act like there is no difference.
Adding to the gospel disqualifies your message.

The consequences of this false gospel are beginning to show up in the churches.

Remember from last week, what we said were the benefits of the message of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection?
Grace and peace!
These are the fruits of the Gospel message?
Look at the fruit that the Galatians are already seeing having abandoned the pure gospel.
Paul says that these false teachers are actively troubling them.
That phrase, that accusation, indicates to us, that the Galatians are dealing with mental anguish.
They are confused about what it really takes to be right with God.
Is Jesus sufficient?
Is God pleased with me?
Am I really saved?
Have I done enough?
If you have ever dealt with these doubts and questions, then you know what a trouble they are to your soul.
There is no peace for the Galatians.
They don’t live in God’s grace.
These false teachers introduced this to them.
But, they have accepted it.

Paul tries to make them understand the reality of these false teachers.

There is only one gospel.
There can not be another.
These false teachers cannot give them something legitimate.
All they can offer is a perverted, twisted, corruption of the truth.
It’s not just an impersonal idea that the Galatians have accepted.
It is a perversion of the gift purchased for us by Jesus.

Paul rehearses a lesson that he had already shared with the Galatians.

Verse 9 tells us that he had told them these things before.

This is definitely a reference to the teaching he had given them when he had been with them in person.
He had tried to prepare them for this situation.
Verses 8 & 9 essentially tell us that “the outward person of the messenger does not validate his message; rather, the nature of the message validates the messenger.”

It doesn’t matter who the man or even the angel is, if they are contradicting the gospel of Jesus.

Paul doesn’t target the actual false teachers that were troubling the churches of Galatia.
Instead, he uses himself as an example.
If he and his team were to come back to Galatia and try to change the gospel, the Galatians should reject him.
If an angel from heaven were to come down and try to add to or take away from the work of Jesus, the Galatians should reject him.
This a strong rejection too.
Paul says that false teachers should be accursed.
This isn’t just a reference to some kind of mystical streak of bad luck.
Paul is directing the Galatians to cut off, shun, or silence the voice of the false teacher.
The false teacher is not to have a place in their church.
He is to be cast out and his message ignored.
This is not a trivial matter.
Heroic measures are demanded.
Here there is no error in life; the heart of Christendom is assailed.
The foe is deadly.
A cancer threatens the vitals; palliatives would be a fatal mistake, the remedy must destroy the ailment to the very roots.

Paul’s application for the Galatians is just as true for us today.

If any man preaches a gospel other than the one we have received, we are to consider him accursed.
We do not listen to him.
We do not give him a platform to spread his lies.
There are a lot of nice, sincere people who are spreading a false gospel.
We aren’t just talking about cults that are obvious.
The greater danger comes from subtle perversions that we adopt because somebody has a flashy presentation.
Or, because they have a bunch of letters after their name.
They have a form of godliness but they deny the power thereof.
They call themselves pastors.
They lead something called a church.
They may even have a large crowd.
If they are not preaching the gospel of Jesus, then we shouldn’t listen to them.
Not every social account that has the name Christian on it should be followed, liked, or shared.
You may never attend a church that preaches a false message.
You will let those same people influence you through social media.
We need to be careful that we are not removed so easily from Jesus, our savior, simply because someone comes along that presents themselves as more attractive.
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