“8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.”
Based on Paul’s strong statements in Galatians 1:8-9, we have been considering how to make sense of the severe language that we sometimes encounter in Scripture.
There are several important lessons to be learned from Paul’s severe language in Galatians 1:8-9.
The first lesson we noted is how Paul’s severe language demonstrates how little the gospel is actually understood.
Second, Paul’s language emphasizes how significant the gospel actually is.
In Galatians 1:8-9, we see the depth of Paul’s understanding and devotion to the significance of the truth of the gospel.
We must approach the severe language of the Bible with gospel glasses (i.e., a gospel-centered presupposition). This is the only way that the severe language of the Bible can be understood.
Thus, to highlight the significance and exclusivity of the gospel, Paul issues a shocking verdict on anyone who would distort the gospel.
Fung, in his commentary on Galatians notes,
“The severity of the anathema is thus the measure of the significance which Paul attaches to the principle of righteousness by faith: for if any teaching at variance with the original apostolic preaching involves the messenger in the divine wrath, then only the message of justification by faith is the divinely sanctioned message, the one gospel worthy of its name,” (p. 48).
As repulsive and offensive as the idea of a God of judgment and wrath maybe, Paul was far more appalled by anyone who would rob the gospel of its truth and glory.
Just as the beauty of a diamond is highlighted against the backdrop of a black piece of cloth, so to the beauty and glory of the gospel is highlighted against the dark and ominous backdrop of God’s judgment and eternal punishment.
To be continued…