The Gospel Does Not Change
- Even though you have never met them, describe what the Galatian brethren are like.
Paul ended his benediction stating that the Galatian brethren owed God eternal glory for the salvation given to them, but he then points out that they are quickly deserting God. Paul finds it amazing just how rapidly they are straying from God.
God had called them to Himself in the grace of Christ; that is, Jesus' death upon the cross that redeemed them from sin (Galatians 1:4; Romans 5:15; II Corinthians 8:9; Ephesians 4:7). There is a debate as to who the “Him who called you” in verse 6 refers to. Suggested answers have been God the Father, Jesus, or Paul. Looking at the phrase in other parts of Galatians, it is clear that Paul uses it in an application of God (Galatians 1:15; 5:8).
The result was that what they were following was a different gospel. That altered gospel destroys the call of God in the grace of Christ. It isn’t really any gospel at all because it cannot create the same outcome. However, some are causing problems among the brethren by attempting to distort the gospel. It is not necessarily meaning that these false teachers’ goals were to destroy the means of salvation but altering God’s message results in something that is unable to save. The Galatians were not the only people facing this problem (II Corinthians 11:4).
Even if an apostle or an angel proclaims a gospel that contradicts the message already received, he is to be considered accursed (Deuteronomy 13:1-5). The reason is plain. God cannot lie (Titus 1:2), nor does God change His mind (I Samuel 15:29). Thus, a message that contradicts cannot be from God. “Accursed” translates the Greek word anathema, which refers to something designated by God for destruction.
Ancient writing did not have punctuation or various fonts to give emphasis. Thus, one way to emphasize a point was to state it twice. But the wording is varied to supply deeper meaning. If someone in authority, such as an apostle or angel, cannot bring a contradictory message, then surely it should be obvious that no mere man can do it. Of course, the false teachers didn’t have the credentials since they were not apostles. Thus, they were to be considered accursed. The true gospel has been preached to them, but more so, they had embraced it. The implication is that they should have known better.
Paul’s efforts were not to gain popularity (I Thessalonians 2:4). He was a bondservant of Jesus and his duty was to please God. The implication is that the false teachers were seeking out a following. They altered the gospel message to be what their audiences would find more popular. Notice that Paul said, “if I were still trying to please men.” There was a time in Paul’s past when such was his goal – before he became a Christian. However, “now” it is no longer Paul’s goal.
- Why does Paul start out his rebuke of the Galatians in such a mild way in verse 6?
- It was mentioned that there is a debate regarding “Him who called you” in verse 6. Why would someone conclude it is Paul? Does such a view cause problems? What about Jesus being the one who called?
- What does it mean to be called (Galatians 1:15; I Corinthians 1:9; Romans 8:30; II Thessalonians 2:14)?
- Why does Paul switch from “I” to “we” in Galatians 1:8-9?
- If we change the message, does it remain the same message?
- What does Galatians 1:10 mean to us today (Luke 6:26)?
- Look for phrases like “for,” “for this reason,” or “therefore” and mark them with three triangular dots.
- “For” indicates a point in an argument.
- “Therefore” indicates a summary or conclusion to the argument