A Different Gospel

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – which is no gospel at all.

Galatians 1 vs. 6-7

These are strong words from Paul to the churches in Galatia. They are  recorded for us here as a warning of something which has happened in every age and can happen all too easily today where there are so many ‘gospels’ or variations of the gospel which denude it of its power.

The particular problem which Paul sought to address was a theological one  and hinged on the question of how the gospel of Jesus Christ affected the Jewish/Gentile division. Those Gentiles who had become Christians faced much pressure from ‘Judaizers’ who were convinced that Gentiles who had responded to the gospel had to become Jews if they were to be heirs to the promises made to Abraham. To us today that may appear to be a rather academic question but the principles that lie behind it need to be clearly understood and simply, I suggest, that comes down to our understanding of what the Gospel is.

If you are a believer this happened through the gospel which Paul tells us is

‘the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes’ Romans 1 v.16

As a believer the gospel has brought you from death to life, from darkness to light, from rebellion against God to peace with him through the Lord Jesus Christ. These things are precious beyond imagination for to be dead, in darkness and alienated from God is an unimaginably terrible position in which to be.

And yet…, and yet, like the situation the Galatian Christians were facing there are many apparently plausible (until we examine them very carefully) ideas that can draw us away from the truth. We may be drawn away by the idea that the gospel and science are incompatible. We may be lured, as many people are today, by what is known as the Prosperity Gospel which on the surface is very attractive as it promises riches and comfort for those who will embrace it but flies in the face of the gospel Jesus taught. We may be attracted by a gospel that makes no demands on us. Of all these we must beware for our eternal future depends on obeying the gospel as taught by Jesus and explained in the New Testament.

The real gospel calls for committed followers being prepared to live unashamedly for Christ. Don’t be tempted by short cuts! Don’t be tempted by those who say the biblical gospel which is God’s gospel (Romans 1 v.1) has to be reinterpreted in the light of modern culture. That perhaps is one of the most dangerous lies of all as modern culture has pushed God out of its thinking in almost every area of life. We need to be alert for ‘wolves coming to us in sheep’s clothing’ for they are so persuasive and lead us away from God.

Rather hold fast to the gospel. Remember what the gospel has done for you. Immerse yourself in God’s Word and equip yourself with the armour of God (Ephesians 6) so that when the day of evil comes, may be able to stand your ground and after you have done everything to stand v.13. What is that evil day? Any day when you are tempted to doubt the goodness of God, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.

Therefore Rejoice in the gospel and stand firm in the gospel.

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