Galatians 1:6-10 “The One, the Only, the Gospel of Christ”

Posted: July 21, 2010 by Rick Hogaboam in Biblical Studies, Galatians
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Galatians 1:6-10 “The One, The Only, The Gospel of Christ”

Pastor Rick Hogaboam

Sovereign Grace Fellowship 5/30/10

Galatians 1:6–10 (ESV) — 6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.

–          “astonished” : Paul wastes no time, no thanksgiving or blessing, but “I am astonished”, thaumazo was standard Greek expression for indicating “incredulity and dissatisfaction”.

–          “so quickly”: they are giving in so quickly after hearing the truth, couldn’t say that they forgot

–          “Deserting”: military term for abandonment or surrender or of trading sides

–          “him who called you in the grace of Christ”: they are not just abandoning the message or the messenger, but the author of the Gospel, God Himself.

  • This is why this is serious. This is no mere doctrinal wrestling, or preference for favorite Bible teacher, this has everything to do with our relationship with God. R.C. Sproul said that if we believe wrongly about Jesus, then we are worshipping the wrong Jesus. I believe there is grace for the new learner who may naively believe things, but is willing to be taught as opposed to those who reject the truth.
  • They are also deserting the “grace of Christ”. Why would you want to do that?
  • The Gospel is not just a set of propositions, but involves the divine activity of God in calling us, they are essentially turning away from the grace that brought them to God.
    • The Spirit works mysteriously and can be resisted depending upon the various ways in which the Spirit works.
    • We can be covenant-breakers just like Israel in the dessert that partook of spiritual realities and yet turned away.
    • We believe that those who have been infallibly called and regenerated will not fall away. These warnings however serve as a means in God’s eternal purposes for the elect to spur them on in sanctification.
      • We should not say, “Well, I am the elect and won’t fall away, so I have nothing to worry about”. We are to make our calling and election sure. We do not improve upon our calling and election itself but rather in our assurance of those realities within us.

–          1 Corinthians 10:1–12 (ESV) — 1 For I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6 Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” 8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. 9 We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

  • Many people think that this call to be careful undermines assurance of salvation, that we can never know if we are truly saved. We can know, can have an increasing awareness, but the charge to be careful keeps us humble, reminds us that our salvation comes from relying on God and not ourselves.
  • Rather than breeding an arrogant, flippant, cavalier breed of Christian, we are to be a humble, careful, earnest type of Christian.

–          “Are turning to a different gospel”: heteros, another of a different kind, different species, emphasizing how far apart the error is

–          “not that there is another one”: allos, another of the same kind, same species. Paul is saying that there is no other Gospel. They are believing something entirely different and he here warns that even minor deviation on something that might seem similar is also impossible. There is no other Gospel like the real one. There is only one.

  • I am cool with generic brands on a lot of things, but I still love Coca-Cola. There is nothing like it to me. Pepsi is too sweet and the generics are okay, but just not loike Coke, no matter how slight the difference is.

–          “but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ”: the cause of the perversion is intentional. The provocation is intended. It is volitional.

  • The devil disturbs the church as much by error as by evil. When he cannot entice Christian people into sin, he deceives them with false doctrine.[1]

–          Basically 2 perversions of the Gospel of Grace

  • Legalistic – add to it
    • Galatians 3:1–4 (ESV) — 1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?
    • Mark 7:9 (ESV) — 9 And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!
      • Some traditions are good, but they are NOT the gospel. Many traditions are wise, but they are not the Gospel. We need to realize that it is okay to have traditions and convictions, but we must never claim them as the Gospel.
      • The sin here to prefer traditions over the Gospel.
  • Libertine – abuse it
    • Today, preaching repentance is not popular and becoming scarce. They take grace to mean that it doesn’t matter how we live. They deny that the moral law should even guide our behavior.
    • Paul knew very well that his defense of Grace over against works of the law would maybe steer some folks into the other ditch of repudiating the commands of God, so he issues some clarifications and a warning later in the epistle:
  • Galatians 5:13–15 (ESV) — 13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
    • We do not put our confidence in the works of the law, clearly the ceremonial aspects of the law as the ground for our salvation, however the summary of the law in its moral form to “love God and neighbor” are retained and continue to guide the actions of the believer.
    • Our freedom is not to throw the law away, but to be able to truly fulfill it in faith working through love, not as the basis for our salvation, but as the outworking of it.
  • Jude 3–4 (ESV) — 3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
    • Jude was also a fighter for the Gospel against those who “pervert the grace of our God”.

–          I have seen many professing Christians act in such an arrogant and cavalier fashion in regards to their lifestyle, they like to profess Christ and then life their own lives. Whenever you lovingly approach them, they quote their favorite Bible verse, “Judge not, lest you be judged”. They pervert that verse to mean that they are immune to any consequences for sin, when that is not what the verse means. There are many admonitions to lovingly approach those in sin.

There are many perverting the Gospel either through legalism or libertinism.

8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

–          Paul says the message is more powerful than the messenger. You judge the messenger by already given Gospel, not the other way around.

–          “as we have said before, so I now say again” : Paul means what he says. In case you didn’t hear me the first time or didn’t think it was all that serious, I am telling you again.

–          “let him be accursed” x2 , anathema, offered up the curse of God, accursed, qualified by “if” they are preaching. Covenantal curse, one can’t make a infallible statement that one is forever damned to hell, qualifications must be made.

  • whether Apostle, Angel, or Anyone

–          “Accursed” – many see this as unloving and unkind. Paul is an Apostle of the Gospel and he is charged, as am I as a minister of this Gospel, to defend its truthfulness against error. If someone is wrong on the Gospel, they need to be called out.

Imagine a journalist taking a real account of a heroic rescue, take for example

–          Chesley BurnettSullySullenberger III (born January 23, 1951)[1] is an American airline transport pilot (ATP), safety expert, and accident investigator from Danville, California.[2][3][4] Sullenberger rose to fame when he successfully ditched US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River off Manhattan, New York City, on January 15, 2009, saving the lives of all 155 people on the aircraft.

–          Imagine if various journalists changed the details: Everyone died, There were no seagulls that killed an engine, the whole landing was an accident. Sullenberger fell asleep and accidentally pulled the lever down, when the alarm went sounding, he woke up just in time to land the plan,

  • If you changed the story, and eyewitnesses were telling a different story, who are you going to believe?
  • After finding out the real story, how would you feel about the person who twisted the story? Do you think it would be wrong for them to be fired and feel any pity if they were never hired again?
  • How do you like being duped? by salesmen, by get rich quick folks, by real estate agents, etc. is it unloving to point out there reputation to loved ones who might be considering trusting such folks for advice? Is it wrong to think they should be fired if they were intentional in their lying? Calling out the liars and impostors is good for the business and good for the customer.
  • Is it unloving for a real estate agent to inform someone that a prospective house is in a flood plane, or built on a bad foundation? Is it wrong for a Bible-believing Christian to inform someone that their life is built on a shaky foundation?
  • What is going on here is that people have the real thing and these impostors are coming in and saying that their money is fake and offering fake money in exchange.

10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

–          Defending the Gospel against heresy is sometimes considered unloving. Sure, some folks might defend in an unloving fashion, but this is the greatest news ever given.

–          We need to be God-pleasers, which sometimes clearly means we will be rejected from man. This is what happens when you go public with any conviction.

–          Thank God Paul was a God-pleaser and not a man-pleaser, or the Gospel would have been distorted, accommodated, edited, subtracted from, added to, and everything else.

  • My money is real, my birth certificate is certified, my title to the house is genuine, I am grateful that my salvation is certified by the Apostle. I am grateful for building inspectors, why not Gospel inspectors?

–          I want to spend a brief amount of time reminding you all of some sects today that pervert the Gospel, but name the name of Christ. Paul wrote an entire epistle to warn the believers of the Judaizers and it is fitting from time to time to inform you of sects today.

Seventh Day Adventists believe in a different Jesus and salvation.

–          Jesus was really Michael the Archangel

–          Many other things about Sabbath regulations and the binding of the Mosaic covenant

–          Distort salvation:

Ellen White said that our sins are borne by Satan! “Their sins are transferred to the originator of sin” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 475).

In her book, The Great Controversy. “It was seen, also, that while the sin offering pointed to Christ as a sacrifice, and the high priest represented Christ as a mediator, the scapegoat typified Satan, the author of sin, upon whom the sins of the truly repentant will be placed” (p. 422).

Jesus didn’t fully atone for our sins and our atonement will be completed in Satan, not Christ. This is heresy. She was not able to distinguish that Jesus is the priest, the sin offering, and the scapegoat who removes our sins from us.

EGW also said, “As the priest, in removing the sins from the sanctuary, confessed them upon the head of the scapegoat, so Christ will place all these sins upon Satan, the originator and instigator of sin” (p. 485).

Jehovah Witnesses believe in a different Jesus.

–          He is not God, but a little god.

–          He did not physically rise from the dead, but body disappeared because was dissolved into gas in the tomb. They deny the miracle of the resurrection, but assert the miracle of the full decomposition of Jesus body in a mere 3 days in the tomb. They deny one miracle, but replace it with an absurd one.

–          They believe that Jesus came back in 1914 in order to fulfill the false prophecy of the church, and wiggle out of it by saying he came symbolically and will come a 3rd time.

LDS believes in a different Jesus.

–          Jesus and Satan were equals in their preincarnate state.

James E. Talmage in his book, “Jesus the Christ,” on Pages 132 & 133, discusses the council that is supposed to have taken place concerning “Free Agency” and the attack on it by Lucifer. He states that Christ may not have remembered the part He had taken in the great council of the “Gods” where the Firstborn Son’s plan was chosen and Lucifer, the rebellious and rejected son’s plan was refused.

“Christ, the Creator of heaven and earth, tabernacled as He then was in mortal flesh, may not have remembered His preexistent state, nor the part He had taken in the great council of the Gods…”

Neal A. Maxwell, in his book Deposition of a Disciple, on Pages 11 & 12 informs those interested that; President George Q. Cannon said, “He was our brother, sitting side by side with our Redeemer, having equal opportunities with him. But he rebelled. He turned against the Father because he could not have his own way.”

–          These teachings reveal so many errors!!!

  • Jesus and Lucifer were not co-equal created beings.  Jesus is not a created being. Hebrews makes clear that Jesus is above all of creation, including all angelic beings, of which Lucifer was one. They were never co-equals. It is atrocious to say that Lucifer was sitting next to Christ, having “equal opportunities”.
  • There was no council of gods long ago where they have some sort of Earth Savior competition and reject Lucifer’s offer and opt with Jesus. Worse yet, James Talmage says that Jesus may not even remember these events and not even know what took place. First off, it never happened, and if it did, they would dare question Jesus’ recollection. They would suggest that the glorious plan of salvation was something Jesus embraced and perhaps doesn’t even remember? I wonder how these LDS teachers know with specificity what took place to the T, but would say that Jesus may not remember.
  • How convenient? When you ask where in the world this stuff can be found in the Bible or from the teachings of Jesus, they can offer the convenient response that Jesus didn’t talk about it because He doesn’t remember, but we know what happened.
  • They also believe that Jesus was a polygamist who gave birth to many children:

The Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt:

–          “…it will be seen that the GREAT MESSIAH who was the founder of the Christian religion, WAS A POLYGAMIST, . . .the MESSIAH chose. . .by marrying honorable wives himself, show to all future generations that HE approbated the plurality of wives under the Christian dispensation, as well as under the dispensation in which His polygamist ancestors lived. . . .We have now clearly shown that God the Father had a plurality of wives. . .” (The Seer, page 172)

Mormon Apostle Orson Hyde made these statements:

–          “It will be borne in mind that once on a time, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; . . .no less a person than Jesus Christ was married on that occasion. If he was never married, his intimacy with Mary and Martha, and the other Mary also whom Jesus loved, must have been highly unbecoming and improper to say the least of it.”

–          “When Mary of old came to the sepulcher. . .she saw two angels in white. and they said unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She said unto them, Because they have take away my Lord, OR HUSBAND, and I know not where they have laid him.” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 2, page 210)

Statement by Brigham Young, second prophet of the LDS church:

–          “The Scripture says that He, the Lord, came walking in the Temple, with “HIS TRAIN; I do not know who they were, unless his wives and children;” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13. page 309)

LDS teaches that in order to attain the celestial kingdom, one must be married.  Well, it would be highly embarrassing to teach that Jesus Himself is not in heaven, so they must get Him married somehow. Contrary to the clear teachings of Scripture and historical data and external evidences, the Mormons believed that Jesus was not only a polygamist who bore many children, but this was taught as being an example to us that Jesus actually commends polygamy in this Christian “dispensation”.

The wrong Gospel is no Gospel, not good news, bad news. Let us believe in the “good news”.

We defend the Gospel because it is good…you take that away, then no grace, then no peace, then nothing.

May we never turn away or desert this Loving God who calls us and draws us into grace. Let us be content to rest in His divine favor, which is based on Christ’s righteousness given to us. The battle against the Gospel will be fierce, but we are called to be good soldiers and not to depart or become traitors.

Let us not add to grace, nor pervert it.


[1] Stott, J. R. W. (1986). The message of Galatians : Only one way (24). Leicester, England; Downer’s Grove, Ill., U.S.A.: Inter-Varsity Press.

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