“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. As we said before, so say I now again, If any preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”
When I look at these verses I see someone who is trying to make an important statement and a very strong one at that. And one that we cannot ignore! The first word “but” shows a contrast which points to something that was said before. To see the context of what these verses are talking about and why they say what they say we need to go back a few verses.
“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 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. As we said before, so say I now again, If any preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:6-9)
Paul wastes no time in getting to this topic. His usual greeting to the churches in other letters (see: Romans 1:8-5; 1 Corinthians 1:4-9; Philippians 1:3-11; Colossians 1:3-8 and 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10) is shortened way down in this letter.
“Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) and all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: Grace to you and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Galatians 1:1-5)
It is like he is saying: “This letter is from Paul. An apostle appointed not by men but by Jesus Christ and God the Father. All the brethren who are with me greet you with grace and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ who gave himself for your and my sins that he might deliver us from this present world. Now let’s get down to business.”
Obviously men have crept in to the assemblies there and have been proclaiming a false gospel that the Galatian brethren are welcoming and accepting as truth. Paul is beside himself in wonder and awe that the brethren at Galatia could so soon (so quickly, so suddenly, so speedily) be taken over by another teaching which claims to be the gospel. The word for “another” in verse six is “heteros” and is translated “altered” elsewhere in the Scriptures which seems to fit better here. So it would read: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto an altered gospel:” As Paul states there is only one gospel and thus this other altered gospel is nothing but a perverted view of the gospel. He then says that “there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” The word for “would” shows “intention, resolve, determination.” So, not only are these men promoting and proclaiming a perverted gospel but they are doing so on purpose and with determination. Every chance they get they bring up the same things over and over again even though they know that there is no agreement within the group that they are speaking to or conversing with. Paul calls them trouble makers. They are only there to cause trouble (agitate) and spew a perverted view (nothing but poisonous venom) of the simple gospel.
Jesus warned about these men as recorded in the book of Matthew. “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” (7:15-16)
Paul says, as recorded by Luke in the book of Acts, to the Elder at Ephesus: “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.” (20:29)
Paul also brings these men up again in his letter to the Romans: “For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” (16:18)
Jude warned about these men in his letter: “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1:4)
Peter in his second letter warned about these men: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” (2:1)
What is so hard about this is that these men don’t stand out in their dress. For the most part they are very pleasant to be around. And when speaking to them and listening to them, their speech is only off by minute points and at first what they say may sound correct. It is only by delving into what they are saying and proclaiming further is when you find out how ravenous they truly are.
How many modern so-called preachers of today would utter the next words that Paul states? What makes it so powerful and controversial by today’s standards is that he includes himself in his very next statement.
“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. As we said before, so say I now again, If any preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8-9)
Can there be a bolder, more in your face statement than this? Paul, so very clear is stating that if anyone (even if it is Paul himself) comes bringing another gospel, than the one that was initially received, that person is to be accursed. Here is a man that in his first letter to the Corinthians told them to be followers of him even as he was a follower of Christ (1 Cor. 11:1). Yet, he knows and understands that the truth of the gospel is of such high importance that no one is above being proved and tested. And then to emphasize and verify his point, he repeats it again.
“that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” (Matthew 18:16b)
“In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” (2 Corinthians 13:1b)
We are to be as the Bereans were and to search the Scriptures daily to see if these things proclaimed are truth (Acts 17:11). If they are found to be error then we are to reject them.
“The simple believeth every word: but the prudent looketh well to his going.” (Proverbs 14:15)
“Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?” (Luke 12:57)
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” (Romans 16:17)
“Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.” (1 Corinthians 14:29)
“That we be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;” (Ephesians 4:14)
“Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” (Ephesians 5:6)
“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21)
“A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;” (Titus 3:10 )
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)
“If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. ” (2 John 1:10-11)
“I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:” (Revelation 2:2)
We are not to be respecter of persons. Paul was very adamant that when he gave a message it was to be judged. How else could they know if it was another gospel or the real gospel if they did not evaluate, test and prove it? We are to do the same with each and every message that we listen to, along with every article that is read no matter whom it is that has given it. A true minister of the Lord invites testing and proving of what they have proclaimed. And he invites and welcomes questions if anything is not understood correctly.
I realize that this article has not done justice to this topic. I hope that it is tested and proved by Scripture and that it proves to be edifying or at least food for thought to those of like precious faith.
September 23, 2010
* All scripture is taken from the KJV and the italic words have been omitted.