The distortion of the gospel of Christ (Gal 1:7) which the Galatians accepted, fairly soon after Paul founded those churches (Gal 1:6), was “contrary to what we have preached to you” (Gal 1:8). The following indicates that this was a serious distortion:
If the Galatians continue on their path, Paul has labored “in vain” and the Galatians have also suffered “in vain” (Gal 3:4; 4:11). “Christ will be of no benefit to you” (Gal 5:2).
Paul normally starts his letters with words of praise or thanks to the churches. But, in this letter, he does not do that.
1:6 I am amazed
that you are so quickly deserting Him
who called you by the grace of Christ,
for a different gospel;
1:7 which is really not another;
only there are some who are disturbing you
and want to distort the gospel of Christ.
1:8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven,
should preach to you a gospel
contrary to what we have preached to you,
he is to be accursed!
1:9 As we have said before, so I say again now,
if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary
to what you received, he is to be accursed!
DISTORT THE GOSPEL
After a relatively short introduction (Gal 1:1-5), compared to some of his other letters, Paul gets right down to business and immediately expresses his disappointment in the Galatian Christians for accepting a distorted gospel (Gal 1:7). It will be important to find out in what way the gospel was distorted.
Galatians is the angriest of all of Paul’s letters, which means that we are dealing here with a very dangerous distortion of the gospel. This “different gospel” (Gal 1:6), which was “contrary to what we have preached to you” (Gal 1:8) and “contrary to what you received” (Gal 1:9), distorted the truth of the gospel (Gal 1:7; 2:5, 14). That this distortion may result in eternal loss can be seen from the following:
Did you suffer so many things in vain (Gal 3:4)?
Perhaps I have labored over you in vain (Gal 4:11).
Christ will be of no benefit to you (Gal 5:2).
Paul normally starts his letters with words of praise or thanks to the churches he is writing to. Paul even gave praise to the carnal Christians at Corinth. But in this letter, he does not do that, which is an indication of the danger inherent in this distortion.
TO: Galatians Table of Contents
TO: Summary Galatians chapters 1 to 3
NEXT: Galatians 1:10-12
For general discussions of theology, I recommend Graham Maxwell, who you will find on the Pineknoll website.