Paul to the church in Galatia:
“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— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 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. 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.” – Gal 1:6-9
Strong words, aren’t they? The Apostle Paul was astonished to see believers in Galatia turning to a ‘different gospel’. What did he mean? Well, he defined it for us twice:
“. . .a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you.”
“. . .a gospel contrary to the one you received.”
Two definitions, one gospel. A different gospel is that which is contrary to the gospel Paul preached and the same one they received. All we need to do is find out what that gospel was – not at all a difficult task.
We are told in the New Testament, from the lips of Paul himself, that only preached Christ, and Christ crucified (1 Cor 2:2).The clearest definition of the gospel ‘preached’ and ‘received’ is in 1 Cor 15: 1-4:
“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you–unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. . .”
This is this is the gospel message that is the power of God for salvation of which Paul was not ashamed (Acts 1:1), and therefore the gospel message we should offer those who know not Christ as Lord and Savior. We are not prohibited from also speaking of the many blessings God offers His children, but the gospel Paul preached and that must be received for salvation is to be paramount.
In our zeal to see ‘decisions for Christ’ we tend to offer the blessings and benefits of being a Christ follower as either primary reasons for trusting in Christ, or secondary reasons to counter the harshness of the matter of sin, judgment, and the wrath of God against all sin (if we mention the ‘bad news’ at all). When we do that, do we honor God, His Son, and the message of the gospel?
The Apostle Paul answers that for us:
“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. 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.” – Gal 1:6-9
I don’t know about you, but I need to ask myself “Self, what gospel are you preaching?”