Old Doxoblogy

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Galatians Commentary: Part Two

Part One Here.

Blogsearch page for all outlines, commentary and studies on Galatians.

Galatians 1:6-10

6. We see why Paul is eager to write the Galatians, not only to defend himself, but the Gospel, and these two are the same. They are the same because as an Apostle who had direct revelation from the risen Christ (verse 1), he had proclaimed the Gospel he had received from Christ. And now this Gospel that he had preached with the authority of an Apostle had been abandoned in such a short time. Paul realized that there would be deceivers and anti-christs, but he is amazed that they have already, after so short a time, abandoned the Gospel. If Paul wrote this letter from Corinth, it had only been about three years, if he wrote from Ephesus, only a year, maybe less. Moreover, the gravity of the situation is intensified for Paul, because they had embraced a new gospel.

7. This new gospel was not really a gospel. As we will note in more detail later it was actually bad news. It was a perversion of the true Gospel of Christ. It was a substitution of works for grace, of law for Gospel, and of death for life. It was also a perversion of the Galatians means of sanctification. Instead of depending upon the power of the Spirit to produce fruit in them and working out their salvation through the Spirit, the had turned to the law as a means to be sanctified. This is disastrous to their faith, because the law kills, but the Spirit gives life.
8. Paul, now under the authority of heaven and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, tells them that the Gospel he had preached to them at the first was the only true Gospel. He states hypothetically, "Even if I, or another Apostle, or any of my companions, or even an Angel from heaven tells you anything different concerning the Gospel that I preached to you, may God curse him." Better translated, "May he be damned to hell." If the Gospel truly has divine origins as we believe, then it is a very dangerous thing to trifle with it, distort it, add to it, or take away from it. The Gospel is the promise of God, spoken from His own mouth, and we dare not twist His words, which He has 'exalted above all things your name and your word.' (Psa 138:2)

9. We now see the seriousness with which Paul viewed not only his own integrity as a faithful Apostle of Christ, but also the integrity of the Gospel he preached by the emphasis he places on this statement, by his restatement. "If absolutely anyone tells you anything contrary to what you received at the beginning, treat him as though he were cursed by God himself, because in fact he is accursed." How carefully must we guard not only our own testimonies, but also the flock of Christ that Satan is seeking to destroy. He destroys not by outright negation of the truth, but by the perversion of truth. He sends his preachers who twist the scriptures, to their own destruction, and not only theirs, but those who hear them. By contrast, Paul tells Timothy to pay attention to himself and his doctrine (Gospel), for by living and preaching the truth, he will be saved, as well as those who hear and believe. We too must guard this Gospel that has been passed down from generation to generation by the blood-soaked hands of the martyrs, and cherish it, without failing to preach it, even if the world or even evangelicalism at large despises it, for this is the Power of God unto Salvation (Romans 1:16, I Corinthians 1:18).

10. It is apparent that Paul cares nothing about pleasing men when it runs contrary to pleasing God. A person is the servant of the one he tries to please. If we seek to please men, we are being governed by men. However, if we seek to please God then we are the servants of God. When our worship is tailored to the desires of men, we have ceased to be in the worship of God, when our sermons are tailored to the 'felt-needs' of men, our preaching is not the Word of God, when we seek to please men before God, we become their slaves and have left the service of the King.


Joe said...

"The Gospel is the promise of God, spoken from His own mouth, and we dare not twist His words..."

How I love this statement!

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