A Perverse Gospel

cowPervert! We often think of a sexual deviant but this primarily means to “alter (something) from its original course, meaning, or state to a distortion or corruption of what was first intended.” Paul warned in Galatians that to pervert the Gospel deserves eternal condemnations. Yes, “Eternal” “Condemnation.”

I have had people fight against the Gospel of Christ in the Church. They are correct to avoid Jewish law, there is no problem here, it is that they counter with a false gospel, a gospel of no re requirements. Of course, just saying “requirements” makes them react by responding “Requirement is another word for Law. As a result, they find themselves defending the gospel of oblivion, one of no action or pick and choose. They find themselves at odds with Christ and subject to the judgment pronounced by Paul, eternal condemnations for a false gospel.

Galatians illuminates faith through contrast with the Law.

Here are the germane quotes that help us see clearly from the book of Galatians.

Law:

The Jew under law separated themselves from Gentiles (2:12 separate himself from the Gentiles) and followed Jewish customs as prescribed by them (2:14 Jewish customs).

They were required to celebrate special days (4:10 special days and months and seasons and years!) and were required to be circumcised (5:3 circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.)

These are the only descriptions noted in Galatians but these are great to look at and compare to faith.

Faith:

In faith in Christ for eternal life, we take care of the poor (2:10 remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.) We live for God (2:19 Live for God.)

His Spirit resides in those of faith with a connection with God (4:6 calls out “Abba, Father.”) In Galatians, he clarifies again expressing the essence of faith (5:6 The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.)

Then Paul shows the goal of faith and the summation of the Law (5:14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”) He also identifies what the Spirit is like (5:22-25 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.)

This shows the Law of Christ noting there is a requirement (or at minimum) a way to determine if you are truly in the faith. (6:2 in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.) He emphasizes the good works resulting from faith and the cost/trial (6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good.)

Finally, he draws us to a great point of clarity; what faith is like or better “is” (6:10 let us do good to all people) and (6:15-16 what counts is a new creation.)

To sum this up is easy. Law is, one fulfills superficial obligations it imposes but faith results in adherence to the Law of Love: compassion.

Faith will result to active allegiance to Christ. We become a new creation, living for and loving God. This is expressed in caring for the poor and all in need without tiring. This fulfills the law of Christ.

When Jesus spoke to the Pharisees, he made the same contrast as Paul in Galatians.

Luke 11:42

“Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.

Matt 23:23-24

23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices — mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

Luke 11:39-42

39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But give what is inside [the dish] to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.

42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone. NIV
Faith moves us beyond ritual and spiritual observance to the love Jesus exhibited, laying down His life for others: “….do likewise and you shall live.” Jesus

Paul:

Gal 1:8-9 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! NIV


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