Someone reading the “Grace Note” from last week (10-2-16) entitled “I Will Tear Him in Pieces,” which described God’s shocking response to sin, might be tempted to say, “That’s just the Old Testament, God doesn’t work like that today.” In response to such a suggestion, I would point to Galatians 1:8, 9: “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! 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!” God is as adamantly opposed to sin as He ever was, and no sin calls for more severe judgment than that of false teaching, particularly regarding the good news of the gospel. Let’s note three truths from this passage.
1. No other authority. What is to be the basis for the doctrine of our Christian faith? Paul states unequivocally that only what the Lord reveals is trustworthy. At the time of the writing of Galatians, the canon of the New Testament was just beginning to be written, so the apostle tells the Galatians that they should trust what God had revealed to them through Paul and his associates, men chosen by God as repositories of truth until the New Testament was completed. So essential is adherence to God-breathed truth that Paul uses one incredible and one impossible example to make his point. Even if he (or one of his associates) should bring a message contrary to the truth he had already revealed to the Galatians, he should not be believed. In a powerful display of grace and wisdom, Paul places himself in submission to the truth he had received from God and delivered to the Galatians because it was not only far greater than he but also perfect; he himself would be governed, even corrected and chastened, by it. Furthermore, if it were possible for an angel from before God’s throne in heaven to bring a message contrary to that truth (of course, it is not; angels with false messages issue from hell), it should be rejected. The credentials of the messenger do not trump the truth once delivered.
2. No other message. Satan has always enlisted false messengers to bear witness to damnable error. Paul twice declares that there is only one gospel, the gospel that they had “received,” which, Paul writes, is “what we have preached to you,” namely, “the gospel of Christ” (v. 7). No message, regardless of how attractive, intellectually stimulating, or emotionally satisfying, is valid unless it accords perfectly with the Word of God. The flesh is always looking for another answer than that offered by Scripture, and those willing to peddle such answers seem innumerable. Error is manifold, but truth, is preserved upon the pages of a faithful translation of the Word of God. Accept neither more nor less.
3. No mistake. “He is to be accursed!” Paul writes of any purveyor of error regarding the gospel. Knowing the incredulity with which such an imprecation would be met even in the best of minds and hearts (“Would God really do that?”), he repeats himself verbatim: “He is to be accursed!” Paul did not misspeak; his amanuensis did not mishear. A curse from God is pronounced upon anyone who would preach a message teaching a means of salvation other than that of faith alone, in Christ alone, by grace alone apart from any works. Paul properly identifies those who give credence to such a message as “deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ” (v. 6). God will certainly bring the severest judgment on those who preach or teach a message that leads people to hell. Make no mistake, God’s love and justice are confirmed by His refusal to brook any departure from the truth of “the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 3). Such sin demands the severest of judgment and will receive it.
Previous Page | Next Page