Remember the days when the simplicity of the Gospel was protected, taught, and fought for? Remember the days when leaders would rather stand alone with the Gospel, than stand in a crowed with a shade of it?
I read Galatians this morning and let’s just say…Paul really brings the pain here. Not in a, “You should do this, this, this, and that” kind of way. More in a, “Are you stupid? Why in the name of Jesus are doing this, this, this, and that as if it’s going to change anything?!?” I’m sure it was just a slip of the pen when he said that they were not intelligible, unwise, and foolish…no good pastor would ever say such things…
But here is my favorite rebuke of Paul’s…which would easily be included in a list of top 10 things teachers should say that they don’t/can’t/won’t anymore:
Whoever tells you a good news that is different from the Good New we gave you should be accursed, even if he is one of us or an angel from heaven. I’m now telling you again what we’ve told you in the past: I’m now telling you again what I told you in the past: If anyone tells you good news that is different from the Good News you recieved, that person should be accursed.
Not just once, but twice, does Paul make it clear that people who distort the freedom we have Christ (as he explains in the rest of this letter) should be accursed. Some translations say: condemned…one even says ‘condemned to hell’ (I think it’s for a little extra somethin’ even though it’s not in the greek…I had to look, thanks studylight.org!)
I think that if we get past the shock of Paul being so strong here, we can see something else. At this time in the Church, the purity of the Gospel was at stake. The Church’s message in it’s infancy could not be distorted and required protecting. If a corruption were to have occurred at this stage, then every offspring that this message produces would carry the same…wound. So, the message Gospel had to be purified of the untruths put on it.
Are any of view finding yourself asking the question, “uh, why did we ever stop protecting the clarity of the message of Jesus? Shouldn’t this be something that we still do?” I think this is a worthy question. And I think that Paul addresses it Galatians when he says, (1:10)
Am I saying this now to win the approval of people or God? Am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ’s servant.
This says all that I could.
Amongst all the things that Paul says are not important to a true Gospel, he says three things that we should chew on ’till our jaw hurts…I’ll leave you with these:
“As far as our relationship to Christ Jesus is concerned, it doesn’t matter [what laws we do or don’t follow]. What matters is faith working itself out in love.” (5:6)
“[Use your freedom to] serve each other through love.” (5:13)
“Certainly, it doesn’t matter whether a person is [following a specific law] or not. Rather, what matters is being a new creation.” (6:15)