Galatians 2

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INTRODUCTION

After a brief introduction and greetings, Paul raises the issue that is troubling him, and that is the fact that someone is troubling the Galatians. Not only this, but they are not being troubled on some secondary issue. The gospel itself is at stake.

THE TEXT:

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you that that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ (Gal. 1:6-10).

AMAZING DRIFT

We are accustomed in Christian circles to speak of God’s amazing grace. But something else that is amazing is how quickly Christians can drift away from this amazing grace. And Paul marvels at it—how readily the Galatians were unsettled! How quickly they were removed from the Father, the one who had called them into the grace of Christ (v. 6). And when they began to be removed from the true gospel, they went to the only alternative, which was a false gospel.

OF COURSE . . .

Of course another gospel cannot really be another gospel—there cannot be more than one of them (v. 7). And this means that this new and improved gospel is actually a turning aside from the gospel; it is perversion. Moreover, such perversions are no accident. When there is perversion, there is a pervert. “Someone” was troubling the Galatians.

GOSPEL AUTHORITY

The benchmark against which everything else was to be measured was the gospel that had been preached to the Galatians at the first. Paul says this two ways—”that which we have preached unto you” (v. 8) and “that ye have received” (v. 9). This primitive gospel outranks everyone, whether the emissary is apostolic or angelic. It certainly outranked the false brothers who were troubling the Galatians.

DOUBLY DAMNED

So adamant is Paul about this that he repeats his grave anathema twice, and he does this deliberately for emphasis. There is even an indication that Paul may have said this before, when he was with the Galatians. The gospel is not something that men have the authority to alter or improve, or adjust to fit with the times. Anyone who attempts this falls under the divine curse. An angel or an apostle who sets himself against the gospel will be condemned under the reign of the gospel. This is not the kind of difference that allows for dialog with alternative perspectives, or provides for a search for common ground.

THE WRONG LINE OF WORK

Who was Paul trying to persuade? Was he trying to persuade men or God? Who was he trying to please, men or God? He makes it very plain that if he wanted to be a man-pleaser, he made the wrong choice in becoming a servant of Christ (v. 10). The two do not abide together, and cannot.

Let it be said at the outset that there are carnal ways to displease men, and let us even emphasize it. But the point that has to be made from this text is that anyone who wishes to be a faithful servant of Christ will incur the enmity of men. Moreover, when that enmity is incurred, the adversary will not say that it is because of faithfulness to Christ. The claim against Paul was that he got his apostleship from men, that he set aside the law of Moses, that he did lots of things he shouldn’t have done. The verbal weapons employed against God’s servants are not the reason for the war.

HERE AND NOW

So what do we discover here? What words of encouragement can we take away from this? We have been privileged to have drawn the fire of the enemy. We have risen to the dignity of needing to be opposed. We have the great honor of needing to be lied about. From all this, we must take solace and encouragement.

But, like the Hebrews, we have not yet resisted to the shedding of blood. We are discovering that the parade after boot camp and engagement with the enemy are two different things. We are discovering that it is one thing to come home on leave and have the girls admire your uniform, and quite another to enter into the chaos and confusion of battle.

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Kevin Brendler
Kevin Brendler
5 years ago

“The claim against Paul was that he got his apostleship from men ….”

The charge was plainly contrived.

“The claim against Paul was … that he set aside the law of Moses ….”

This charge was perfectly true.

Kevin Brendler
Kevin Brendler
5 years ago

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel.”

Removed from Him? And shall the warning texts spread throughout the NT be reduced to mere hypotheticals? No way. Many Christians vehemently oppose what the Spirit says to the churches.

Kevin Brendler
Kevin Brendler
5 years ago

“If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received ….”

In Paul’s context, the “other gospel” was not faith in Lord Jesus plus human effort.

In Galatia, the false gospel that set the apostle’s hair on fire was faith in Lord Jesus plus adherence to the Mosaic Covenant, the Law of Moses.

Kevin Brendler
Kevin Brendler
5 years ago

“How quickly they were removed from the Father ….”

This is the stark reality (“removed from the Father”), DENIED by virtually EVERY Christian I’ve ever discussed it with. The vast majority of Christians cannot stomach a doctrine of apostasy. They will not bite on God’s Word here. This truth threatens their (false?) peace and is eagerly, wantonly, sloughed off their plates into the garbage disposal.

Kevin Brendler
Kevin Brendler
5 years ago

“This primitive gospel ….”

The primitive gospel as preached by the apostle Paul was this:

“You Gentiles may become Abraham’s offspring and members of Christ Jesus, totally apart from obedience to the Mosaic Covenant. God is now pleased to count your FAITH in His Son AS righteousness, the very righteousness that the Mosaic Covenant demanded. So repent of your sins, ye Gentiles, and trust in the atoning work of the Jewish Messiah on your behalf, submitting yourselves then to Christian baptism for the forgiveness of sins and regeneration through the Holy Spirit. And you shall receive Eternal Life!”

Kevin Brendler
Kevin Brendler
5 years ago

“The benchmark against which everything else was to be measured was the gospel that had been preached to the Galatians at the first.” The gospel that was preached to the Galatians at the first was NOT sola fide, in general, as a fundamental theological principle. Instead, the benchmark gospel as propounded by Paul was sola fide *VIS-A-VIS* the Mosaic Law, the Old Covenant. Today, we measure the gospel as an Athenian philosopher and not as the Jewish apostle. We have lifted the gospel out of its redemptive-historical context and transformed it into a spiritual principle. And consequently, much of the… Read more »

Kevin Brendler
Kevin Brendler
5 years ago

” … anyone who wishes to be a faithful servant of Christ will incur the enmity of men.”

John Stott wrote the same thing in his classic, The Cross of Christ. In that great mother lode of theology, which I mined close to thirty years ago, the one piece of gold that has remained in my back pocket is this:

All true Christian mission involves suffering.

Kevin Brendler
Kevin Brendler
5 years ago

“Moreover, when that enmity is incurred, the adversary will not say that it is because of faithfulness to Christ.”

This is the double whammy of the wicked.

Not only will they viciously harm you; they will then viciously lie about you, as if to justify their cruelty.

Kevin Brendler
Kevin Brendler
5 years ago

“We have the great honor of needing to be lied about.”

That calls for a huge, blow-out-all-the-stops party!

Or, at the very least, you should skip around the corner and do a little jig :-D

For great reward awaits you in Heaven.