Turning to a different gospel – Galatians 1

fire and brimstone preacher - turning to a different gospel - Galatians 1Today I started reading in the book of Galatians, a letter to the church at Galatia written by the apostle Paul. Here’s some background info I found interesting:

Jewish Christians accused Paul of diluting Christianity to make it more appealing to Gentiles (i.e. no need for circumcision). They even followed Paul into Galatia (present-day Turkey) and started telling Gentiles they had to first become Jewish in order to become Christians. This letter to the church in Galatia is Paul’s response to that threat.

6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by 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 him be eternally condemned! 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 him be eternally condemned!

I do not believe that I have personally experienced people deliberately perverting the Gospel – but I’ve heard things that raised red flags in my spirit. But, what about cults? Do people turn away from God to follow “a different way?” What about scientology or mormonism or Jehovah’s witnesses? These “religions” are considered opposed to Christianity. Did someone invent these “deliberately” to pervert the Gospel or did they see opportunity in a “religion” for profit or some other selfish motive?

I also noted Pauls’ message in verses 23 & 24:

23 They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they praised God because of me.

The change in Paul’s life made people take notice. How could a man that used to persecute the church now preach the very faith he tried to destroy? People praised God because of this. Do people notice a change in me – enough to praise God because of it?

grace & peace,
e

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  1. #1 by nixam on April 21, 2008 - 9:03 am

    thanks for putting that up… i too have been lately reading a lot of Pauline letters and find it interesting how those letters still hold so much meaning for all churches…

  2. #2 by Anonymous Believer on April 22, 2008 - 10:13 pm

    The Jewish Christians particularly advocated the ritual of circumcision for Gentiles. Paul consistently argued against this in almost every single Pauline letter because, I think, it smacked of salvation by works. Paul wanted all believers to focus solely on Jesus and the work of the cross. Modern churches have their own rituals, sometimes presented in such a way that the less discerning heart might view them as a requirement to salvation. This could well be today’s incarnation of the circumcision versus uncircumcision controversy that appears so regularly in Paul’s letters. A warning coming to us across generations to be wary of denominational editing of God’s word.

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