The gospel given to Paul by Jesus Christ was of the utmost importance to Paul. He took it very seriously; he did not allow it to be changed or, as he said, be "perverted."
"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 that that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." Galatians 1:6-9
We do not have to wonder of what this gospel consists. Paul states it emphatically in his letter to the church at Corinth:
"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures." 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
Let us review Paul's gospel:
- Christ died (according to the scriptures)
- Christ died for our sins (according to the scriptures)
- Christ was buried (according to the scriptures)
- Christ rose again the third day (according to the scriptures)
Notice Christ's four steps and that each were according to the scriptures. Paul refers to this gospel as the "grace of Christ." (Galatians 1:6) All four steps are performed by Jesus Christ.
We live in a religious world that accepts many different gospels. Some are fairly lenient…just be sincere, try your best, be kind to others, etc. Some are fairly strict…you must live it, you must be baptized, you must speak in tongues, you must keep the sabbath, you must keep communion, you must keep the ten commandments, etc.
Others require weeks of training, more religious education or a time of testing. What is interesting about both the lenient and the strict, is that neither side guarantees assurance of heaven. We just kind of "do our best and hope for the best."
Paul uses two strong words here; the first is "pervert." To pervert means to cause to turn from what is right, good or true; misdirect. Not a total change, just twist! It is a word that has been in the news lately due to sexual perversion. No one really changes their sex, you just pervert it! One will still talk about the cross, the death of Christ, His burial and His resurrection, but we twist some truths; we pervert some scripture. Instead of us just accepting this "grace of Christ," we inject our lifestyle, our obedience, our church membership, etc.
The second strong word Paul uses is "accursed." Paul uses this word twice for emphasis in both verses 8-9 of Galatians 1. Paul uses this word in the Aramaic in 1 Corinthians 16:22:
"If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha." The word "Anathema" means cursed or accursed and the word "Maranatha" means "at His coming." Paul is saying that if any man does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be "cursed at His coming."
Notice that Paul loved according to Jesus' command.
"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Matthew 22:37-40
Much of our missionary work is centered around providing the natives food and shelter with no mention of Paul's gospel instead of providing the gospel followed by food and shelter. Paul's love centered around Jesus Christ, not people. In fact, if you perverted Paul's gospel or didn't love His Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, he had some strong feelings toward you…and they were not good.
God help us to get back to the basics.
Keep Looking Up!