Galatians 1:1-9 “1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) 2 And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: 3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: 5 To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 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. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (KJV).
Paul writes to the believers in Galatia, but something is different. He calls immediate attention to his authority in Christ. The tone of this letter is one of authority, attitude, and action. If Paul was writing this letter today, the headline of the newspaper might read “Extra…Extra… Thus saith the Lord, Salvation by grace through faith”.
Paul immediately calls out the problem, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you unto the grace of Christ unto another gospel”. The church has been infected by false teachings. I view this as the watered down gospel or the feel good gospel message. How does the gospel message become watered down? Something has been added to it. The church was adding stipulations to salvation (Gal. 6:12-13). God’s glory was being plagiarized by these false teachers. They were taking credit for the work of the Lord. Instead of giving glory to the Lord, they were standing around saying “look how great my church is or look how many people I have saved”. You must be circumcised in order to be saved. You must follow these rules in order to be saved, you must do this or that…the list goes on and on…
It saddens me to hear some of the experiences people have had with churches. A man once shared his childhood experience growing up in a fundamental church, needless to say it was a story filled with more laws than the Old Testament (and I consider myself a fundamentalist). It is no wonder why the man never went back to church. It is very difficult to witness to someone who has had an experience like that. I can understand why Paul is so passionate in his letter. Salvation by works and not faith is infectious and requires immediate treatment. Otherwise, it becomes a life or death illness. In the remainder of the book, Paul goes into great detail to correct this false teaching. Salvation comes through faith, by grace, plus or minus nothing.
Wouldn’t it be great if we turned on the news or read a newspaper that contained nothing but good news? The headline might read “Good News…50 people got saved at church today”. The articles would contain the testimonies of each person. Unfortunately, the news is filled with nothing but eye-catching headlines followed by articles filled with opinions, tainted facts and statistics.
Paul reminds us of the good news and it is called Grace… The salvation message is for anyone and everyone. We have the good news and we can read it every day. We do not have to rely on someone telling us how to live, act, parent, behave, or do anything. All we need to do is read His word. Everything we see and hear, we should ask ourselves this question “what does the Word of God say about that”.
I have to admit, I’m an avid follower of the news. I love to watch and see what is going on in the world. I enjoy listening to political debates. As hard as it is at times, I always try to look at the story from both perspectives. The media is filled with so much biased input that it becomes difficult to discern truth. This is not an easy task to do, but I believe it is one that we should all practice. If we don’t make the attempt to discern truth, then we will become like the believers Paul writes to in Galatia. We become easily distracted from the truth, believing everything we see and hear.
Revelation 22:19 “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (KJV).
The Silent Preacher