The Epistle to the Galatians is sometimes called the “Magna Carta of Christian Liberty”. Others call it the “Christian’s Declaration of Independence”. Like the Epistle to the Romans, it clearly teaches salvation by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone. In our study regarding the Corinthian church, we find them carnal, immoral, immature, etc. However, the Apostle Paul still have some commendation to them. The Galatians letter contains no commendation at all, the reason, their doctrinal defection.
Illustration 1: Good News
“Good news.” Our word gospel comes from two Old English words. There is no good news like the good news that God sent his Son to die on a cross to get rid of our sins. 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 summarizes the good news, or gospel, that the apostle Paul preached. The term emphasizes the truth that salvation is entirely of grace. From its use for the central Christian message, the word came to be used as the title of each of the four books (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) that tell the story of Jesus’ life and atoning death.
The Shaw Pocket Bible Handbook
I. The amazement of Paul (Gal. 1:6a)
A. “I marvel that ye are so soon removed…” Paul observed with astonishment that the Galatians have turned away quickly from the pure, simple, majestic gospel of justification by grace through faith after their salvation or conversion.
B. The word “removed” comes from “metatithaymee” which means to change sides, remove, fall away, desert, turn away from someone. The Galatians believers have fallen away from the truth, turned away from Christ. They had actually apostatized and pursued legalism following the false doctrines of the false teachers identified here as Judaizers.
1. Judaizers are Jewish Christians who sought to persuade Gentiles to observe
Jewish religious customs.
2. Judaizers agrees to most apostolic teachings but still wants the Gentile converts to keep the ceremonial laws and circumcision for salvation (Acts 15:1). These believers who belonged to the party of Pharisees (Acts 15:5), posed a serious threat to the gospel of grace and the universality of Christian mission.
Illustration 2: The Gospel, Not Merely a Message of Deliverance or Theology
The gospel is not merely a message of deliverance, it is also a rule of conduct. It is not merely theology; it is also ethics. Like some of the ancient municipal charters, the grant of privileges and proclamation of freedom is also the sovereign code which imposes duties and shapes life.
Practical Bible Illustrations from Yesterday and Today
II. “Another gospel” (Gal. 1:6b-7)
A. The word “another” in verse 6 is “heteros” meaning “another of a different kind”. There is only one Gospel – the good news “1 Corinthians 15:1-5 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
B. Verses 6 and 7 tells that the so-called gospel that was misleading the Galatians was not really one with just minor difference from the true gospel but was altogether opposite to it, a false gospel.
C. The message of the Gospel is a message of grace. The Gospel itself is the message of deliverance set forth in verse 4, which we have mentioned earlier. It is the message of Christ who gave Himself for our sins. It is the message of our deliverance by His Blood from this present evil world. This message is the Gospel. It is called in verse 6, “The grace of Christ.” It is of grace, because it is of Christ. It is of grace, because we did nothing, and could do nothing to affect our own deliverance from either our sins, or from the present evil world. It is of grace, because we had nothing of worth, nothing of effort, nothing of value by which we could do anything. Grace ends where man’s worth or ability begins.
D. “There be some that trouble you… would pervert the gospel of Christ.” (Gal. 1:7). These troublers were insisting on fleshy ceremonies (Gal. 3:1, 3), on the observance of days (Gal. 4:10), on circumcision (Gal. 5:2), and on legalism (Gal. 5:4).
E. The word translated “pervert” in Gal. 1:7 is used only three times in the New
Testament (Acts 2:20; Gal 1:7; James 4:9). It means “to turn about, to change into an opposite character.” The word could be translated “to reverse.” This “perversion” of the one, true gospel was the work of Satan and his cohorts.
F. Paul at the very time he was writing this epistle, the false teachers were at work troubling or throwing the Galatians into confusion.
Illustration : False Teaching
How would your church respond if your young people were approached by an organized cult? One night at a church skating party, a group of teenagers were “befriended” by several men who asked about their spiritual lives. The teenagers were given an invitation to join them for a series of special
studies. These strangers also invited themselves to the church of these teens. Like a sinister snake, this cult was moving in for the kill.
Fortunately, the parents of these teenagers knew enough of God’s Word to make them cautious and wise. After the next church service, the leaders of this cult were spoken to and in blunt terms told to leave their kids alone and to never return to their church again.
Were these adults being ugly and unloving? No. On the contrary, they were carrying out the Biblical charge: to protect the innocent sheep from the advances of wolves.
Practical Illustrations – Volume 9: Galatians-Colossians.
Illustration 4: Trusting in Activity
The essence of legalism is trusting in the religious activity rather than trusting in God. It is putting our confidence in a practice rather than in a Person. And without fail this will lead us to love the practice more than the Person.
Jack Deer, Surprised by the Power of the Spirit, p. 151
III. Cursed pronounced (Gal. 1:8-9)
A. So serious is this matter that Paul pronounces a curse on the Judaizers and then immediately repeats himself. Twice he says anyone who preaches another gospel, let him be accursed. The word accursed comes from “anathema”. It speaks of a person who is without hope and doomed to destruction. When another gospel is preached it has the curse of God in it and the person who preaches it. You can clearly see that Paul excluded no one from this curse.
1. Curse repeated (Gal. 1:9)
A faithful preacher of the purity of the gospel of grace, Paul repeats it again: If
anybody were preaching a different gospel (which the false teachers were), he
would come under God’s eternal judgment. It is not difficult to understand why Paul reacted so strongly, because the Judaizers were impugning the Cross; for if works were necessary for salvation, then the work of Christ was not sufficient (Gal. 2:21). Furthermore, a great deal is at stake for lost people. When the gospel message is corrupted, the way of salvation is confused and people are in danger of being eternally lost.
2. The repetition and the strong language show how great a sin it is to pervert the gospel or Bible truth.
3. Mormonism is a false group for their gospel was from the angel Moroni. Islam started because an angel talked to Mohammed!
Its heart-breaking to see the Galatians quickly turn away from the pure, simple, majestic gospel of justification by grace through faith after their salvation or conversion. Those persons or group which perverts or preach another gospel that had been preached by Paul and the other Apostles are under the cursed of God and is without hope and doomed to destruction.