Friday, 4 February 2016
…which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. Galatians 1:7
The NKJV wisely departs from the older KJV in their translation of verses 6 and 7. Notice the difference between the two –
I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. NKJV
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. KJV
Two entirely different words are translated as “another” by the KJV. The first is héteros – another (of a different kind). This stands in contrast to állos (“another of the same kind”). The KJV confuses this. Should verse 6 be cited alone, which is not an uncommon thing for people to do, there could be a misunderstanding of what Paul is saying. Thankfully, there are other versions one can refer to in order to get a fuller meaning of the intent of what is being said.
His words show us that what was presented to the Galatians by the Judaizers was a “different” gospel which was no gospel at all. He is so adamant against these people who are bringing in their false message that he calls them hoi tarassontes – “the troublers.” They are especially troublesome and are to be utterly rejected. There is one message of the good news found in Jesus Christ, and that is His fulfilling the law and then annulling it through His sacrifice on Calvary.
Paul notes in Romans 7:2, “For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband.” In this, he was using a real-life example to make a spiritual point about the law. In his continued explanation he then says in verse 7:6, “But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.”
In other words, the gospel is that of grace. Christ fulfilled the law on our behalf and then He died, thus annulling the law (Hebrews 7:18) for all who believe in the sufficiency of His work. This is the gospel message. The Judaizers had come to the Galatians and were proposing a “different gospel” which was based on works of the law. This will be seen as we continue. It is these wicked people who Paul speaks of with the words, “but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.”
The word Paul uses for “pervert” is metastrephó. It indicates a complete turning from one thing to another. To understand its sense, read the words of Acts 2:20 which use the same word –
“The sun shall be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.”
The change in the sun is complete, from light to darkness. This is what happens when works of the law are reintroduced into the grace of Christ: something entirely different results; something which can only bring condemnation to those who pursue it.
Life application: Paul lays out, in advance of directly making his charges against the Judaizers, the enormity of the error which has come to Galatia. It is an error which continues on today when any precept of the Law of Moses is reintroduced into the Gospel of grace of Jesus Christ. Paul will use circumcision as the benchmark of what he means concerning reintroducing the law. But the precept stands true for any other precept of the law: “You cannot eat pork.” – heresy! “You must tithe” – heresy! “You must observe the Saturday Sabbath” – heresy! We cannot pick and choose what constitutes grace. We can only trust in the grace that is given through the work of Christ. Trust in Christ and in Him alone for your salvation. After that, if you want to not eat pork, that is fine. If you want to give 10, 20, or 90% of your money to the church, that is fine. If you want to lay around all day on Saturday and do nothing, that is fine too. But if you are doing these things expecting to earn God’s favor and bring you salvation, you have fallen from grace.
Heavenly Father, how marvelous is the grace of Jesus Christ. He did all the work, fulfilling the law on our behalf. Now, you simply ask us to believe. How can we continuously muddy these pure and precious waters with all kinds of crazy additions to what He has done. “Yes, He fulfilled the law, but…” Rather, “I trust that what He did is fully sufficient to save me and keep on saving me. No ifs, ands, or buts!” Thank You for this absolute surety I possess. Amen.