Gal 1:6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel
When someone truly understands what we just described in verses Gal 1:3-5, it is astonishing that they would leave that “gospel”, the gospel of grace (Salvation by faith in the grace God gave us in giving the life of His Son for our sins) and turn to a different gospel (a gospel of works)
deserting the one who called you
Who is the one who “called” you? What did we see in 3-5? It was God who gave us salvation, who rescued us. He “called” us out of sin and into freedom. It was His will. It was His plan! (Eph 1:7-12 according to…) How could you desert that? But, he doesn’t say they were deserting salvation, he says they are deserting the one who called them! This was walking away from God to follow another!
Application: How often have we deserted, or walked away from the one who called us, to pursue our own calling / pleasure / possession / etc? I astonish myself sometimes, at how quickly my heart can be deceived and run after other things.
Paul was astounded.
Gal 1:7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.
There were “some” who were distorting the gospel by teaching something contrary to what God’s word says. Paul had taught them the true gospel. They had understood the good news of God’s grace clearly. But, they were experiencing a lot of pressure and false teaching that was confusing them. These false teachers were “throwing them into confusion.” They were actively trying to pervert the gospel of Christ!
These men were doing the work of the enemy. He is the father of lies. Lying is his native tongue. (John 8:44)
The Galatian believers were taught clearly. They understood clearly. But, now Paul was not there, and the false teachers were. So their voices were louder and hard to ignore. It was creating great confusion for the Galatian believers.
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:
Paul is quite strong in his opposition to false teachers. He will actually come back to that later in the book. But here he is pretty clear with what he wants to happen to these guys. They are perverting the true gospel. They are leading God’s kids away from Him. They are “throwing” people into confusion. Paul says it twice, “let him be eternally condemned!”
The reality is, they are already condemned because they do not believe the truth. In the story of Nicodemus in John chapter 3, Jesus declared that God loved the whole world, and that whoever believed in Him would not die, but have eternal life. (Jn 3:16-18) Those who believe are not condemned, he said in John 3:18. “But whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God!”
If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
Paul reminds them of what they had “already accepted.” “You guys know what I taught you! You know that salvation is by faith in what Christ did on your behalf. Christ gave himself for your sins to rescue you from the present evil age. He did it not because of anything you did, or because you deserve it or earned it. He did it “according to the will of our God and Father.” (Gal 1:4-5) That is what you accepted! Anything other than that is “another gospel!”
Gal 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Paul wasn’t worried about what others thought of him. Those last couple verses were definitely not going to win him any popularity contests! He wasn’t concerned about that. Paul was only interested in God’s approval.
Phil 1:21 He said, “for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain!” Later in Phil 3:7-9 He said that he considered everything else as worthless compared to knowing Christ, and being found in Him, not having his own righteousness, but Christ’s through faith.
Paul saw himself as the servant of Christ. Everything he did was for Christ. And because that was his focus and what occupied his life, he was not occupied with trying to please men.
Why is this written?
Paul is setting the stage to begin refuting the teaching that was causing so much confusion.
What is God saying to me through this passage?
What occupies my life? What have I forsaken to follow Christ? Can I say with Paul, “I count everything as worthless?” In his book Abiding in Christ, Andrew Murray expounded on these thoughts in chapter 16.
Andrew Murray Abiding in Christ (16)
“I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found IN HIM. –Phil.3:8-9.
If we are really to abide in Christ, and to be found in Him–to have our life always and wholly in Him–we must each in our measure say with Paul, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, that I may win Christ, and be FOUND IN Him.”
* forsaking everything unholy
* Giving up all self-righteousness
* giving up all lawful occupations and possessions
* giving up even the very gifts and powers God has given me, to yield them to Him instead of the the power of the flesh.
The secret of a life of close abiding will be seen to be simply this: As I give myself wholly to Christ, I find the power to take Him wholly for myself; and as I lose myself and all I have for Him, He takes me wholly for Himself, and gives Himself wholly to me.
From this passage, what am I realizing that I need to become more aware of?
I have said often that this is my life verse. Gal 1:10 Am I seeking to please men or God? When I seek to please men, I am no longer a servant of God, I become a servant of men!
Seeking the approval of men isn’t as much of an issue as it used to be, praise God. Today my challenge is more a question of what occupies my mind? What do I forsake Christ for in order to pursue or follow after? What is more valuable, more important to me than being God’s servant? Can I say with Paul, “I count everything as worthless?”
What do I need to do as a result of what I have read?
What’s the first step?