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  • Joe Steenholdt

Galatians 1:1–10 - No Other Gospel

Adding anything to the gospel distorts it into a false message that is no gospel at all.



 

Galatians 1:1–10 (NIV)


Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—2 and all the brothers and sisters with me,


To the churches in Galatia:


3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.


6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!


10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

 

Listen to passage & devotional:


 

Belgic Confession of Faith, Article 7: The Sufficiency of Scripture


We believe

that this Holy Scripture contains

the will of God completely

and that everything one must believe

to be saved

is sufficiently taught in it.


For since the entire manner of service

which God requires of us

is described in it at great length,

no one—

even an apostle

or an angel from heaven,

as Paul says—

ought to teach other than

what the Holy Scriptures have

already taught us.


For since it is forbidden

to add to or subtract from the Word of God,

this plainly demonstrates

that the teaching is perfect

and complete in all respects.


Therefore we must not consider human writings—

no matter how holy their authors may have been—

equal to the divine writings;

nor may we put custom,

nor the majority,

nor age,

nor the passage of time or persons,

nor councils, decrees, or official decisions

above the truth of God,

for truth is above everything else.


For all human beings are liars by nature

and more vain than vanity itself.


Therefore we reject with all our hearts

everything that does not agree

with this infallible rule,

as we are taught to do by the apostles

when they say,

“Test the spirits

to see if they are of God,”

and also,

“If anyone comes to you

and does not bring this teaching,

do not receive him

into your house.”

 

Summary


Paul’s letter to the Galatians begins like many of his other New Testament letters, except it takes a drastic turn in tone as soon as he finishes his greeting. Many of his other letters further mention thanksgiving, but he wastes no time getting to his concern for the church in Galatia. Like a parent who sees their child chase a ball into the street, he shouts through these opening remarks, “Turn around! You’re heading towards danger!”


Paul likely made headway with the Galatian church on his first missionary journey. He saw many Gentile unbelievers come to faith through the good news of free grace in Jesus Christ alone. Now, after he has left, he is shocked at the turn of events and how they have followed false teachers promoting a different gospel. These false teachers may have even mostly agreed with what Paul taught, except they added to it.


One addition is how they were trying to convince these new believers that, sure, Jesus is great, but they still needed to be circumcised to really be saved (Gal. 6:12). Salvation became Jesus plus something else. And when that’s the case, it’s no longer the good news that Christ has accomplished everything we need for salvation.


Dig Deeper


I remember seeing an advertisement for a die-cast collector race car set for only $19.99 as a kid. I grabbed my piggy bank, and as I counted my coins, I was already picturing how to display these cars in my room. It wasn’t until I brought the flier to my parents that they pointed out the small print. If I were to sign up for this set, I would be on the hook to pay $19.99 every time I received one each month for over a year. It ended up not being the good deal I thought it would be. So, I didn’t ever sign up for these racecars.


Many false gospels that fly around today are not always apparent at first glance. They do not say, “Beware, this is false,” but are more likely to offer more than they can deliver, and you end up being on the hook for something you didn’t sign up for. Paul warns in 2 Corinthians 11:14 that Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light, so Christians need to be discerning of every message, even if it claims to be Christian.


Paul begins this letter by showing the source of his authority—not in himself—but that he was sent by Jesus Christ. Paul did not dispense his own grace and peace but the grace and peace of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel was not his to create or tamper with, but the good news of Jesus is unchanging. Not even if an apostle, an angel, or anyone else can come with a different gospel.


The Scriptures are sufficient for knowing the only good news of salvation accomplished by Jesus Christ and applied by the Holy Spirit to deliver us “from this present evil age” into God’s kingdom.



  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, whose will is to save his people from this present evil age;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will turn from any sin that is tempting you this week and receive the free grace of God through Jesus Christ alone;

  • ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:

 

Read the New Testament in a year! Today: Acts 22

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