Summary: There is only one saving gospel, the gospel of grace by faith in Jesus Christ alone. This is the only gospel that is of divine origin. It is a gospel of the grace of Christ offered as a free gift. Man can not gain God’s salvation
Gospel Perversion/ ONE TRUE GOSPEL
There is only one saving gospel, the gospel of grace by faith in Jesus Christ alone. This is the only gospel that is of divine origin. It is a gospel of the grace of Christ offered as a free gift. There is nothing any man could ever do to gain the approval of a just and Holy God. Man can not gain God’s salvation but must wholly fling himself upon the love and mercy of God in one great act of faith.
Still now as then people try and attach something to grace which means it is no longer free grace and no longer the true gospel which means it no longer saves. God and God alone must save man, for man, even the best and best intentioned of men cannot save themselves or anyone else.
I. EXPRESSED AMAZEMENT, 6-7.
II. EXPOSED ADVERSARIES, 8-10.
The first section of Galations [there is no thanksgiving that normally follows the greeting] is urgently introduced as astounding news in verse 6. I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;
Paul does not continue his greeting as he normally did with words of thanksgiving. No, he moves with a bang directly into this most important of issues, gospel perversion. Normally Paul is very tactful using words of praise and encouragement before words of correction and reproof. But not here, the very essence of the gospel was at stake. There are some things that cannot be tolerated if Christ is to save and Christianity is to stand.
Nonetheless this is not an outburst of indignation but of astonishment, of amazement, rather that of resentment. Though Paul rebukes he does not reject. He is convinced that even though they are in the process of quickly deserting the One who called them that they would repent.
Before new or immature believers are solidified in the true faith, cult members often prey on them just like the Judaizers did these ungrounded believers. They want to move people from grace to law, from liberty to legalism by imposing their manmade standards. Man moves in and places their interpretation above the Word and the interpretation of the Holy Spirit. They infatuate people with the thought that they have what they are missing, that they need something else, that they did not get it all when they received Christ, that they need something else and they and their group alone have it. The unstable follow just like little children are lead astray by the stranger who offers them candy.
These people had accepted the call of the Holy Spirit to salvation full and free and this is the only way salvation is offered, as a free gift. The grace of Christ is a basic theme of this letter (1:3,6,15; 2:9,21; 5:4; 6:18). Grace is simply God’s favor to undeserving sinners. The grace of God is what saves and what saved them. These Galatians were not simply changing churches but were accepting a different gospel (heteros not allos) different in kind and character. This gospel differed radically from Paul’s "that a man is not justified by law /works, but only through faith in Jesus Christ" (2:16, Rom. 3:24; Eph 2:8, Titus 3:4-7). They substituted one that proclaim faith plus something else is the way to salvation. This is a shocking and serious matter. When people set up additional requirements or experiences for salvation, they deny the sufficiency of Christ’s death on the cross (3:1-5). It is apostasy just as surely as Israel’s worship of the golden calves "who brought them out of Egypt" (Ex. 32:8f).
The thought of a different gospel and its different direction continues in verse 7. - which is really not another [not the same gospel at all], only [except] there are some who are throwing you into confusion and want to distort [pervert] the gospel of Christ.
The reference is clearly to the self-righteous Judaizers who abandoned the Jerusalem church and followed behind Paul to throw new believers into confusion about the truth. Literally this verb throwing (para- assortes an unusual construction from tarasoo) means to shake, stir-up, trouble, agitate. It is pictured by the ocean caught up in the midst of a violent storm. This agitation expresses the condition the Judaizers caused in the church at Corinth.
The word distort or pervert is a strong word used only two other places in the N.T. (Acts 2:20, James 4:9). It means to turn about, to turn upside down the gospel which centers in Christ and glories only Him. No wonder they were troubled. Accepted grace leads to peace. Grace deserted leads to distortion.
A twisting of the truth is more difficult to spot than an outright lie. The Judaizers were twisting the truth about Christ. They claimed to follow Him, but they denied that Jesus’ work on the cross was sufficient for salvation. There will always be people who pervert the Good News. Either they do not understand what the Bible teaches, or they are uncomfortable with the truth as it stands.