Year 3 Day 49
Read - Galatians 1
Message - Scott Woodburn
It is always a tragedy when someone departs from the faith. Most of us can't imagine turning our backs on the Gospel but we would be fools to believe it couldn't happen. The history of the church is littered with examples of once zealous Christians turning their back on Christ and His church. This is called apostasy and it is not a new phenomenon.
Paul had been appointed as an Apostle not by men but by Christ Himself (v1) and so he was able to write with authority to the church of Jesus Christ. He sent greetings of grace and peace to the churches in Galatia (v3) and a reminder that Christ had given Himself for our sins (v4). It is only the Gospel of Jesus that is able to save. Christ's righteousness for our sin. Jesus is our only Saviour, to God be the glory (v5).
It was therefore astonishing to Paul that the Galatians were deserting the Gospel of grace and turning to a different gospel (v6). Now let's be clear alongside the beloved Apostle - there is no different gospel. The Gospel is unique, it declares that Christ died for our sins and was raised for our justification. Christ crucified for sin, dead and buried but now alive forever more. This is the only Gospel. It is the medicine for the bad news - that we are hell deserving sinners. It also requires a response - we must repent and believe the Gospel.
The Galatians had received and believed the Gospel but now were beginning to believe others who sought to distort the Gospel of Christ (v7b). What gospel was being preached in Galatia? It was a gospel that made much of Christ but it was also one which insisted upon circumcision. It took the truth of the true Gospel and distorted it with an addition here and there. It sounded entirely plausible and was therefore incredibly seductive.
Paul was clear - this was a false gospel and even if an Apostle or an angel from heaven preached a false gospel, that individual was considered to be anathema or accursed (v8). To underline his point Paul stated once more, that any gospel preacher declaring a gospel contrary to the Gospel of grace was accursed (v9). Paul words may seem harsh but he wasn't seeking to please man but God (v10).
Paul sought to defend the Gospel because he knew where it had come from. He had received it directly through a revelation of Christ (v12). He was once an enemy of Christ and tried to destroy the church (v13). He was a skilled and zealous Pharisee (v15) but God Himself took Saul and transformed him to Paul who was appointed as a preacher of the Gospel among the Gentiles (v16).
The Gospel Paul preached had not been given to him by any other Apostle (v16b). Paul had spent just over two weeks with Peter (v18) and had briefly bumped into James (v19) but aside from that Paul had not been schooled by anyone in the Gospel. The good news that Paul had preached came directly from Christ. It was and is the Gospel of grace and if any other gospel reaches your ears, do not listen to it and reject the one who preaches it.
The Gospel is serious business, literally life and death. So let us be clear about it. The Gospel declares Jesus to be the One who died for sins and was raised again to life. This good news requires a response of repentance and faith. But if anyone adds to this Gospel, let that one be accursed. We do not need to be circumcised to be saved. We do not need to speak in tongues to be saved. We do not need to be part of the Roman Catholic church to be saved. We do not need to be baptised in a certain way to be saved. We do not need to read a certain type of Bible to be saved.
Let the Gospel ring - Christ crucified for sin, Christ raised for our justification! Repent and believe this Gospel and you will be saved!
Q50 What is required in the second commandment? The second commandment requireth the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath appointed in his Word.