I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, so now I repeat, if anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be accursed!
Am I now seeking human approval or God’s approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servant of Christ (Gal. 1:6-10).
The style of the letter is blunt and there are no ‘normal’ niceties up front. There is no ‘so good to see you, I simply want to bring up something…’ Not much to add to what Paul has to say – different gospel, pervert the gospel, let even an angel be cursed if they should bring something different to what brought, and I tell you all that as a servant of God. So your point, Paul, is?!!!!!
The language is remarkably strong. I am challenged by what might qualify as a ‘different gospel’. A while back a couple met Gayle and I for coffee and they explained their approach. Offer English as a second language, a few weeks in share the ‘gospel’ if they do not respond or show some serious interest, it would then be time to move on to someone else as they were obviously not good ‘soil’. Given also that the couple were strongly Calvinist in theology maybe it was God’s fault that they were bad soil?
At the end of our time the question came – would you work with us and support us. The answer was a one word answer and the shorter of the two possible words. Are they presenting a different gospel? Certainly their approach we could not put the word ‘good news’ to it. I think we maybe all have a ‘sub-‘ / not complete gospel, but there has to come a point when the gospel we hold on to and present is so ‘sub-‘ that it is different. And when it is way off maybe the ‘God’ we claim to serve might be a different god to the one that is ‘God’.
In the context of the letter in front of us different has to be measured by how much freedom or bondage is brought. We are likely to move toward error when the result is any level of burdens placed on someone… as has been said before:
The offence of the Gospel is not an offence of who is excluded, but the offence is an offence of who is included.
The door of entry is wide open. The narrow gate was the one that Jesus presented to Jews, those who really thought that favour with God was exclusively theirs. That’s just not how it works,