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 really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!
As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! – Galatians 1:6-9
|This 2006 Time Magazine cover focused on
the current prosperity gospel movement.
How important is The Gospel? I have read through many of the New Testament books over and over recently, but I love how new things continue to shine bright in front of me. In fact, when looking at the above scripture at a Saint Patrick Presbyterian Church service here in Greeley recently, pastor Michael pointed out something that I didn’t pay enough attention to before. You see, the above scripture is how Paul (the author of Galatians) starts out when addressing the Galatian churches. Some might not see the importance until you compare this letter to the other letters of Paul’s we have in the Bible. Take a look at the letter to the church in Corinth, 1 Corinthians, here Paul starts out (after the usual greeting where Paul introduces himself) saying:
I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way–in all your speaking and in all your knowledge– because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” – 1 Corinthians 1:4-9
It is fairly well know, especially if you have read the rest of 1 Corinthians as well as 2 Corinthians, how many issues with sin and other issues within the church in Corinth there are, I’ve heard many compare it to a Las Vegas or New York of today – it was the “sin city” of the time. So you might think it ironic that Paul starts out the letter to such a church with such praise and thanksgiving. This is in contrast to how Paul starts out the letter to the churches in Galatia, where Paul does NOT begin with praises or accolades to the church. In fact, you can look at almost every letter Paul wrote that is in the New Testament, and almost all of them start out with a similar beginning as seen in 1 Corinthians. So why is that not the case in the letter to Galatia? It is because we are seeing here just how important the Gospel of Jesus Christ is. In fact, we see that preaching any gospel other than The Gospel of Jesus Christ was of such importance that Paul could not wait to address this severe issue in the Galatian church, it had an even higher importance than the sinful living of the Corinthian church.
In today’s church, it feels as if we all to often do the opposite. We put more weight on addressing sin, or self-help, or whose theology is correct on relatively minor things, and we don’t put enough weight where it needs to belong – on The Gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, we right now are coming to a point where a false gospel is starting to spread within the church – and we need to take Paul’s lead by addressing it first thing because it is of first importance!
Do you think the Gospel is that important? What do you think of the false gospels, specifically the prosperity gospel that is being so heavily preached in many American churches today? Eternal condemnation is a pretty serious consequence for those preaching a gospel other than that preached in the Bible.