Galatians 1:6-7 (CSB) - "I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from him who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are troubling you and want to distort the gospel of Christ."
The Apostle Paul shows grief over what the Galatians had been doing. He showed great Concern (1:6-7) over their change. Paul uses the Greek word Thaumazo that means to marvel, wonder, be surprised, be astonished. Paul was expressing an on-going shock that the Galatians had so easily defected from the Gospel of God’s Undeserved Grace. They had unwittingly fallen for “a different gospel” The Greek word used here – Heteros - means one not of the same nature, form, class, or kind. The people who were doing this he said were perverting the Gospel.
Paul found this issue so hideous – he pronounced that anyone who perverted the Gospel of the Grace of God deserved eternal destruction. He was very concerned with the purity of God’s Gospel. There is one and only one Gospel. It is the one that teaches about the Grace of God. We read in Ephesians 2:8, 9 – “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” He teaches of it here in Galatians – his first letter, and in 2 Timothy his last – 2 Timothy 1:9 –“Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began…”
Paul started out teaching this Gospel, and he went to his death teaching this gospel. Whenever we add anything to the cross of Christ to be saved – it is heresy. Whenever we add anything to the cross of Christ to stay saved – it is heresy. Basically – it is legalism. Paul stresses and is agitated that the Galatians were being drawn away into this false gospel message.
In line with what he is about to say, Paul gives us insight into His call to salvation and sanctification. It was not of man (1:1, 11). He was saved by Jesus Christ. To be an Apostle, one must have been personally chosen and taught by Christ. Paul is showing how that he fit the category because of a special work of God.
It was not from man (1:12). His salvation was a special revelation from Christ Himself. Review the Damascus Road experience. Previous to his conversion we see his cruelty to Christians (1:13) – he sought to destroy the Church. And his commitment to Judaism (1:14) – he sought to keep the law in it’s entirety and was very painstaking in what he did. He later called himself later the chief of sinners because of his mistaken way of seeking God’s favor. After his conversion Paul speaks of being chosen by God (1:15-16). This is his way of saying that his call and conversion were strictly by God’s grace, not his actions.
He did not confer with the Apostles, but went into the Arabian wilderness following his conversion. Many believe that in the 3 years he was here that Jesus may have personally taught and trained him – much like we find the 3 year training of the 12.
He reviews his travels following this time. From Arabia to Damascus (1:17), from Damascus to Jerusalem (1:18-20) [3 yrs after conversion he meets with Peter and James], and then from Jerusalem to Syria and Cilicia [Basically, he went back to his boyhood home in Tarsus]. And everywhere he went, he was not ashamed to proclaim the true Gospel.
In this Paul is establishing that our freedom through grace is fundamental to our life as a bondslave to Jesus Christ. Do we walk free as bondslaves today? Let us continue tomorrow in our study of this vital doctrinal teaching of Paul.
Prayer: Father, we want to be pleasing to You in all we think and do. Help us to sort out the heresy from the truth. Help us to walk in the true liberty that we received from Jesus at the point of our conversion. Amen.