One Gospel and Only One – Galatians 1:1-10
Galatians can be summed up with a simple statement: Jesus is our freedom. With so many offers by the world to give us the freedom we desire, it is necessary for us to look back to Paul’s encouragement to the church in Galatia for a reminder of our freedom. The Galatian church heard the gospel clearly (as we have) but was far too quick in tossing it aside for other false truths (as we are given to do as well). In the first ten verses of his letter to the Galatians, Paul laid out these three principles.
I. Paul proclaimed a specific Savior. (verses 1-2)
The church has a particular message. It is Jesus. We have many choices among those people and things that claim the power to change our lives. If I have to choose a team, and I do, I’m going with the One who got up out of His grave. As a play on what others have said, Jesus + nothing = everything. We do not need any other substitute saviors in our lives. Charles Spurgeon once said, “If Christ is not all to you He is nothing to you. He will never go into partnership as part Saviour of men. If He be something He must be everything, and if He be not everything [to you,] He is nothing to you.” Everything we do must be anchored around the Who whom we proclaim. It is the greatest cause and effect equation for life.
II. The Savior achieved specific results. (verse 3-5)
The gospel is more than a sterile set of rules. It is the rescue mission that we desperately need. In the gospel, we are both sanctified in real-time & saved for eternity. Rather than seeking the world’s approval, we are now set out on the rescue plan by the Savior. Rather than retreating from the powers that stand against the church, we hold on to the countercultural person of Jesus in His plan for rescuing the lost. The gospel did not, does not, and will not make any sense to the world. It is countercultural to love those who are different, broken, hurting, and can do nothing to repay you. It is countercultural to say that the world is beautiful in its variations but broken where people place their hope. The world defines success as amassing power, hoarding possessions, and stacking up achievements. The gospel deems your life successful when you die to self, give all you have to the poor, and work for the good of another. We are to share the words of freedom with those who are enslaved to death; even when they think they live freely. The specific results of the gospel alive in us is to be salt and life to those who are dying in their sin.
III. False gospels have a specific price. (verses 6-10)
Paul warned that there were dangers to trusting in a false gospel. First, it means that you turn from God Himself. The early believers were exchanging the New Covenant life for the Old Covenant law. They traded in Jesus and followed Moses again. Embracing a false gospel is toxic to your relationship with God. Secondly, it means that you receive a curse when you preach a false gospel. Paul’s passion for the true gospel made him figuratively breathe fire about a false one. We should have the same passion. God’s curse means that someone (or something) is set aside exclusively for God’s wrath for it to be utterly consumed. In it, there is no hope.
But trusting in the true gospel allows you to be a slave to Christ. It is where our freedom is found. Each day, we need to wake up and identify what is seeking to draw our gaze away from the Lord. Answer the question: What tempts me away from Jesus and His gospel? Presence at religious events and in the lives of the needy is good but God does not give anyone a pass for just showing up. Love is the great result of the gospel but love without biblical truth is a tolerance for sin. Serving others is a response to Christ serving us but cannot substitute for telling others about the grace of Christ offered through faith and repentance. We proclaim presence, love, and service as results of the gospel but they should never be substitutes for it.
Jesus alone has the power to transform a soul. The gospel does not need an adjective, modifier, subtraction, or addition. It is perfectly sufficient to grant us freedom.