3-Week Series: Double Blessing

Sermons

Summary: The Judaizers, who were a legalistic Jewish party, tried to combine Christ’s message of salvation within the context of the Mosaic Law. Immature Christians believed their distorted teachings, which demanded more than justification by faith alone.

August 17, 2013

The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians

Tom Lowe

I. Introduction (1:1-10)

Chapter I.B Denunciation (1:6-10)

Galatians 1.6-10 (KJV)

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.

10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

Introduction

Paul was disappointed because many new converts were following false teachers who taught a “different” gospel, meaning “another of a different kind.” The Judaizers, who were a legalistic Jewish party within the early church, tried to combine Christ’s message of salvation within the context of the Mosaic Law. Immature Christians believed their distorted teachings, which demanded more than justification by faith alone. Those who attempt to establish any other way to heaven than what the gospel of Christ reveals will find themselves facing an angry Redeemer on the Day of Judgment. The apostle shows the Galatian believers they are at fault for forsaking the gospel way of justification, which produced in them a sense of guilt; yet he does not haul them over coals but deals with them with tenderness, and maintains they were drawn into it by the deceit of the false teachers who had come amongst them. They had established the works of the law in the place of Christ's righteousness, and therefore they were guilty of corrupting Christianity. The gospel of the grace of Christ is the only one that can bring salvation to sinners; all other gospels are false and the apostle solemnly denounces, as accursed, everyone who attempts to teach another gospel. This includes the gospel of good works, because though we may declare that those who do not live a moral life dishonor Christ and destroy true religion, we must also declare, that all dependence for justification on good works is just as fatal to those who continue to do it. While we are eager to do good works, let us be careful not to put them in the place of Christ's righteousness, and not to do anything which may lead others to believe such a dreadful fantasy.

Commentary

6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

I marvel

The word “marvel” (Gr thaumazo) was used often by Greek orators to denote surprise at something reprehensible and it can also be translated “amazed,” “astonished,” and “bewildered,” and even “dumbfounded.” Paul is expressing his surprise and alarm at the indecisiveness of the Galatians. Their defection from what he had taught them filled him with great surprise and sorrow; they failed to keep hold of the doctrine of Christianity as he had preached it to them, and the defection happened so suddenly.

“I Marvel” is such a gentle expression that it appears Paul may have used as mild a word as possible. He does not severely scold them, but instead, he expresses his astonishment that something like this could occur. They had willingly embraced the gospel; they had displayed a fond attachment to him; they had given themselves to God; and yet, in a very short time, they had been led astray, and had embraced opinions which could only pervert and destroy the gospel. They had shown an instability and inconstancy of character which to him was sinful and damaging to the Christian religion. The apostle marveled that people, so soundly converted to God, could have so soon made a shipwreck of their faith. The situation pained him because he had hoped for better things from them, but they turned out so different from his expectations.

that ye are so soon removed

There are two schools of thought (that I am aware of) pertaining to the meaning of the words “too soon.” One is that it refers to how soon it occurred after Paul’s visit; and the other, that it means “so quickly,” referring to the rapidity of their apostasy. We have no way of knowing for sure what really happened in these churches, but it is likely that both schools of thought are correct—the defection happened soon after Paul left them, and their slide into apostasy was a rapid one. Instead of ushering the legalists out the door—“If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him” (2 John 1:10; NKJV)—these churches gullibly listened to their false teaching. The Galatians were very fickle and easily induced to change. False teaching produces spiritual delinquency. Corrupt teaching always leads to corrupt living.

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