Protecting Yourself from Alternative Gospel
“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.” (Galatians 1:6-8, ESV)
When I was a little girl, my grandma had this bookshelf with a series of short story books on it. I remember I loved to look at them, the spines straight like soldiers in a row, all the same color, all the same size, and lined from one end of the shelf to the other, yet all incredibly different on the inside.
You see, this was back before things like encyclopedias were obsolete, so volumes of books in series with beautiful, gilded bindings weren’t so peculiar to see. I remember wanting to read all of them because the illustrations were so pretty and there were more books than I could believe at the time. I
thought that the sheer amount of words in them had to have been so vast and unbelievable.
Now, we live in a day and age that prioritizes different things. Computers have replaced that old shelf. The internet has dwarfed those volumes to a laughably small drop in the proverbial bucket. We’re lucky. We can ask questions and innovate and share our ideas farther and wider than ever before in human history. We can complete assignments without wading through pages of research. We can call up information at the push of a button.
But with more access to more knowledge than ever before, we also need to have more discernment over what we believe and protect.
When Paul was writing to the churches of Galatia, he had a warning. At that point, mere years had passed since Jesus did His work on the cross and ascended to Heaven. So with the Gospel being so new, Paul was astonished when he heard that the Galatian churches were turning away from the pure and true Gospel for other versions that were more comfortable or popular.
All around the Bible, there is a warning against false teaching and false teachers. Here, Paul points out that anything that deviates or strays from the true story of Jesus Christ is cursed by God. Why? Because any departure from who Jesus is and what He did is breaking covenant with God. Anyone who would pervert His love for their gain offends Him.
And we would do well to remember that, especially when there are so many outlets and avenues that would want to distort the Gospel and Jesus’ move in the earth today. Especially when there are people that want to use the Lord to gain their own notoriety and success off of it.
The truth is, the Gospel is not comfortable. It challenges us. It is a story so unbelievable in nature that people have tried to warp and twist it into something more marketable.
The story of Jesus goes against our pride. It shows us that we cannot save ourselves. It takes all the credit for our salvation off of us and gives all the glory to Jesus.
The story of Jesus offends our wisdom because human nature would never lay down its life for someone else. Without Jesus, our first reaction to everything is self-preservation. But Jesus gave Himself up to the most disgraceful death to prove His love for us, and that’s something we may never understand in its entirety.
The story of Jesus hurts our knowledge. It goes against human reasoning, scientific theory, and personal experience. Humanity has tried to explain Him away and reduce Him to fiction or fantasy because admitting that there is a God who created the universe from nothing and came back from the dead is beyond anything we can achieve or understand.
Jesus and everything he stands for is not comfortable. It’s not a lifestyle of ease or popularity. But it is beautiful. It is worth protecting and standing by. You see, Paul says Galatia is turning to a different gospel. Not “different” as in “alternative,” but “different” as in “counterfeit.” Because anything other than the birth, death, resurrection, and coming again of Jesus is false teaching.
We cannot add one more word to it; we cannot take anything away from it. And in this world, there are so many that want to edit the Gospel or add footnotes to it, but there is only one version that can save. There is only one version that gives life over darkness. So no matter how similar the fakes may look, no matter how close the counterfeits are, there is only one truth.
We would do well to recognize it. We would do well to make sure that we live it and protect it.
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