Week 2: New Gospel = No Gospel
News has reached Paul about the Galatian church that has moved him deeply. And his emotions almost immediately express themselves…
- Last week we looked at Paul’s gospel about Jesus. How would you now explain the gospel message to a friend?
In most of his letters, Paul follows his greeting with a paragraph of thanksgiving and appreciation for the lives of the people.
- Why is Galatians 1:6 such a shock?
- What kind of gospel is produced when any change is made to the gospel (v 6-7)?
- Why is this, do you think?
A group of teachers in Galatia had taught that Gentile (non-Jewish) Christians had to observe all the Jewish dietary laws and be circumcised for full acceptance and to be completely pleasing to God.
But by insisting on Christ-plus-something-else as the requirement for full acceptance by God, they were presenting a whole different way of relating to God (v 6) from the one Paul gave them (v 8).
Paul forcefully and unapologetically fought the “different gospel”, because to lose your grip of the true gospel is to desert and lose Christ Himself. Everything was at stake in this debate!
- How do people “add to the gospel” today in ways that diminish its power?
Here are three quick examples:
- Being good gets you to God.
- You need to perform certain rituals, or dress in the right way, or have a particular view of dating, to be a Christian.
- You need to feel overwhelming love for Jesus to truly be saved.
- What is Paul’s attitude toward those who distort the gospel (v 8-9)?
Paul’s gospel is the true gospel (we’ll see why over the next few days. So if we hear any “gospel” which doesn’t agree with Paul’s, we can know it’s wrong (v 9)!
- Describe Paul’s frame of mind when he wrote this. What has caused it? Is he warranted?
Thank God for those who taught you His true gospel.
Ask God to enable you to care as much about gospel truth as Paul did. Ask Him to help you recognise anything which in reality is a “different gospel”.