Galatians #1 – The True Gospel:
“Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. 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.” (Gal. 1:3-8).
Today we are going to begin a six day journey through the short New Testament book of Galatians, which was written by the Apostle Paul to a Roman province with several different churches in it. I encourage you, as we go through this letter together, to follow along in your own Bibles and do the suggested daily reading of one chapter a day, along with me.
At the beginning of his letter, Paul prays that the Lord would bless the church with God’s grace and peace. What a precious blessing this is! “Grace includes God’s good-will towards us and his good work upon us; and peace implies in it all that inward comfort, or outward prosperity, which is really needful for us; and they come from God the Father as the fountain, through Jesus Christ as the channel of conveyance.” (Matthew Henry). Amazing grace and the peace of God that surpasses all understanding – what wonderful treasures these are for all of us who are in Christ Jesus!
From here, Paul goes on to speak of the love of the Lord Jesus Christ – who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this evil world. Thank God that Jesus died on the Cross so that our sins might be forgiven, and that we might be delivered from both the power and penalty of sin. To God be the glory both now and forever, amen! There is an excitement that’s stirring in my heart as I’m writing these words, as I think about what the Lord has done for us, and how great His love is towards us. May we never take for granted the indescribable gift that God has given to us in Jesus!
In the last part of this paragraph, the Apostle Paul now begins to address the situation in the churches of Galatia. He says, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ to a different gospel…” In other words, these Christians who had been saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ had now wandered away from their faith in Jesus to another gospel, which, he says, is not really another gospel – is not really good news. Then he makes this striking pronouncement, “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…” These are strong words against those who would pervert and twist the truth of God’s Word, and preach a false Gospel. O, that those who promote the false religions of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons and others, would hear and heed these strong words from God’s Holy Book!
In closing, how do we apply this message to our hearts? There are “other gospels” in the world – other false religions that are being promoted – that are not Biblical. How can we keep from being deceived by these false doctrines? By immersing ourselves in God’s Word, and filling our minds with His truth – the truth contained in the Bible – so that when someone comes along preaching another gospel, we will recognize that it is false. When a bank teller is being trained in how to spot a counterfeit bill, they don’t show the teller a fake dollar bill – rather they have them handle authentic money over and over until they know the real thing backwards and forwards. Then, when they see a counterfeit, they will recognize it for what it is, because they have become so familiar with the truth. Don’t be deceived by false teachers. Read your Bibles and cling to the one and only true Gospel! Be like the Bereans, who, “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11).
Suggested Bible Reading for Today: Galatians 1