Summary: To establish that these saints have become removed from the gospel of Christ, the message that was ordained by God from eternity, unto another gospel. This lesson deals with the false notion of “once saved, always saved.”
1. The Grace of Christ
2. The Gospel of Christ
3. The Goodness of Christ
1. In our lesson today we will be endeavoring to discuss the subject: “So Soon Removed.” It is important that we understand that the grace of God can only be obtained through the gospel of Christ. Paul calls this message the “certified gospel.” A gospel not certified is not authentic, not endorsed and thus, not capable of providing salvation, and the goodness of Christ. Yet, that which plagues the church and its members always is its “departure” or “falling away” “from the faith once delivered to the saints” or “the grace of Christ,” Jude 3.
2. First, the beloved apostle outlines the Galatians church’s departure from the grace of Christ. In our text he writes, “I marvel that you are so soon removed from HIM.” They had become removed to “another gospel…which is not another!” These saints had abandoned the grace of God, their means of justification; their belief of the truth; thus, their assurance of salvation; for a message inspired, ordained and taught by men, a “perverted message that could not save.” It seemed like this was Paul’s constant battle. He establishes a sound and faithful church; then the perverters of the truth would arrive in his absence and preach their seed of perversion, through another message.
3. Secondly, Paul discusses their departure from the gospel of Christ. He pronounces an anathema on those who would pervert the teachings of Christ. The word gospel is (Gr: evaggelion) or the message of, “good news.” The gospel then as now can be preached as a plain, polished, polluted or perverted message. There were some who: “troubled the church and perverted the gospel of Christ.” They had turned the good news of salvation into hopeless despair through law keeping and ceremonial rites. Thus, these false teachers were attempting to make “salvation by faith”; a salvation by works. False teachers will always be met with this anathema, whether in the first century or even in our generation. The anathematized teachers are those “set apart and devoted to destruction, given a sentence of death, which is pronounced by God himself.” Each teacher of a polished, polluted or perverted message will be damned to this fate, unless they abandoned such teachings. How terrible it is for one to “fall into the hands of the living God?” For truly our God, can be “a consuming fire,” Hebrews 12:29.
4. Then lastly, the beloved apostle describes their removal from the goodness of Christ or the blessings secured by obedience to the gospel. They had been removed from grace, the possibilities of peace with God; from Christ who gave himself for their sins, and stands as their only means of deliverance from this present evil world. Cut off from the joy and comfort of the Holy Spirit given to them, because of their “adoption as sons,” and “being heirs according to the promise.” These Gentiles have turned from the freedom found only in Christ; “to become once again entangled with the yoke of bondage,” through the works of the law and circumcision, Galatians 5:1; Acts 15:24.
BODY OF LESSON
I FROM THE GRACE OF CHRIST
A. The possibility of apostasy or departure. Remaining true and faithful in the grace of Christ is something that over shadows the church of Christ in every generation. Each congregation, each soul in every generation, could find itself “removed from him that hath called them into the grace of Christ.”
1. First, this faith must “always be contended for,” Jude 3. The word apostasy means: “departure, or falling away from the faith.” Not only sin can separate us from God, but also false teachers.
a. These are men “professing themselves to be wise, (but) they (have) become fools,” Romans 1:22.
b. Their desire is to “make merchandise of the church” and cause it to sin in this most terrible way, 2 Peter 2:3. They feed upon the weakness and wickedness of the membership; when it has no real leadership or a firm foundation in the faith. They can be persuaded to place their trust in themselves or some ritual or rite; rather than the “grace of Christ.”
c. Jeremiah writes regarding this problem: “A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priest bear rule by their own means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?” Jeremiah 5:30-31.
2. Further, Paul warns the Romans: “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off,“ Romans 11:22.
3. Finally, Paul instructs the Corinthians: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall,” 1 Corinthians 10:12. Salvation is only possible, by our continuance in the grace of Christ, Jude 24-25. Take heed lest ye fall!