The scolding! – Galatians 1:6-10
By Pastor Lee Hemen
June 5, 2016
What would you do if a family member or friend was about to join a cult that would cause them and their family a lot of distress? Sometimes there is nothing one can do because most folks are often unwilling to admit they are wrong and especially about what they believe about God or their spirituality. I have learned in the 30 plus years of pastoring that you can often have the answers, know all the counter arguments, and even understand how to witness to someone involved in a heretical situation but it often does little to sway them unless you are willing to go the extra mile and be there each time they need to be confronted or have their questions answered. Sometimes what works best is a direct confrontation, maybe even a personal scolding.
Paul was deeply concerned for what the church at Galatia had fallen into. After accepting the good news of Jesus as Messiah, they had readily forsaken the truth and supplanted it with false doctrine that added to the grace of God through faith alone. He now enters into the subject matter of his letter and opens it with a direct confrontation. Let’s discover how Paul scolded them to get their attention…
No one likes to be scolded or told they are wrong, especially concerning their faith yet Paul does just that. Paul felt deeply about where this church was headed and he wanted them to know he was thoroughly dissatisfied with them and in fact…
I. Paul condemns their perverted faith! (Vv. 6-7)
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–which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.
1. Paul’s chief concern was to restore those he had introduced to the gospel back to their original faith. It was very surprising to the apostle that they willingly gave up on their faith which he had so recently entrusted to them. He probably had only been a very short time away from them, perhaps three years, and already Jewish sympathizers had come into the new church trying to pervert the gospel of grace! He bluntly tells them, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ”. The one who had called them was of course Jesus himself. Paul was not referring to himself. His concern was their weakened faith. Sometimes reclamation demands a high price and Paul was willing to risk his friendship with the Galatians in order to restore them. They in fact were “turning to a different gospel–which is really no gospel at all.” They were leaving the one who had saved them and going back to their old habits of trying to please God through following a set of rules in trying to earn their salvation. It was based on nothing, literally “no gospel at all”! It was obvious to Paul that it was outside influences that were subverting their new-found faith in Christ. He was not unaware and he writes them, “Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.” This is exactly what cults try to do; they love to throw folks into confusion concerning the truth. They try to bend, distort and pervert the gospel. Latter Day Saints rewrote the Bible to suit their perpetrated con on people and declare that there is more than just faith in Jesus, Jehovah’s Witnesses rewrote the Bible and added to salvation by faith alone in Jesus alone, and then there are those who claim they are Christian but add to sola fide, faith alone by saying it is Jesus plus works or certain acts of contrition. They all claim a different gospel, throw folks into confusion, and they pervert the good news of Jesus! Paul scolds the Galatians about turning to a different gospel and condemns their perverted faith!
EXAMPLE: What was once considered perverted just a few years ago is now beginning to be readily accepted; things like homosexuality, transgenderism, sexual relations out of marriage, and the ungodly veneration of animals over human beings. When the shooting of a gorilla is seen as horrendous in order to save a child, something is drastically wrong with society as a whole. More and more public school teachers are having sexual relations with their students. And now we have to excuse anyone’s perverted nature and see it as psychologically healthy. The twisting of societal norms is influencing the Christian church as well. The calling of God is no longer seen as sacred nor is the Bible. Paul warned the Galatians that if they accepted the teaching of salvation plus works it would pervert their faith. He was correct and Paul condemns their perverted faith!
Every time Christians allow the society they live in to influence what the Scriptures clearly teach, they are perverting the grace that God has given through Jesus! There are certain scriptural truths that cannot and should now ever be allowed to be perverted. Paul knew this as well and as for the Galatian church…
II. Paul condemns their weakness! (Vv. 8-10)
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! 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! Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
1. Paul was having none of their excuses or their willingness to accept a perverted gospel! He bluntly tells them that “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!” No pastor, minister, or preacher of the true gospel of Jesus is afraid of anyone questioning their message. Either the message speaks the truth or it does not. Either it will stand the scrutiny of men or it won’t. And claiming Paul or an angelic messenger would not garner Paul’s sympathy for their heresy and he squarely convicts them. In our day and age it does not matter whether it’s Islam or Mormonism neither can claim any other message than that of the one Jesus pronounced. In fact, Paul was so vehement in his condemnation of these false prophets he repeats it and reiterates, “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!” This is so contrary to today’s philosophy of anything and anyone should be accepted. Inclusiveness is not spiritually satisfactory because there are cannot be many truths and as Peter would declare quite clearly: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved!” (Acts 4:12 NIV) so does Paul! Jude would state, “I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” (Jude 1:3-4 NIV) Paul was more than willing to have his own integrity challenged on this issue and tells them, “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” This is what anyone who claims Jesus plus something else does; they either want to sooth mankind’s guilty conscience or have themselves puffed up in the eyes of others. Paul condemns their weakness!
EXAMPLE: Never ever put up with someone who claims Christ and then tries to justify their own ungodliness. We have become a community of weak-willed wimps who roll over at the slightest aggression towards our faith. I am not advocating being deliberately obnoxious, but rather we need to stand for what we believe! As Peter reminds, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV) Sure we do it with “gentleness and respect” but that does not mean rolling over to the ungodliness of the world! We are to have a clear conscience because “It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” (1 Peter 3:17 NIV) Never excuse evil or you become part of it. This is why Paul condemns the Galatian’s weakness!
Paul condemns their perverted faith! Paul condemns their weakness!
This article is copyrighted © 2016 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.