“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.
The first lesson we noted is how Paul’s severe language demonstrates how little the gospel is actually understood.
Second, we saw how Paul’s severe language emphasizes how significant the gospel actually is.
Third, we see from Galatians 1:8-9 how Paul’s strong language exposes the deadly consequences of legalism.
Someone may ask, “Why did Paul react so strongly?” The answer is that he understood the deadly consequences of legalism.
Legalism nullifies the grace of God (Gal. 2:21a). Legalism forfeits the favor of God and brings a man under the curse of God (Gal. 3:10).
Legalism renders the cross of Christ useless (Gal. 2:21b). Legalism severs a man from Christ (Gal. 5:2, 4). Legalism destroys relationships and leads to fleshly living (Gal. 5:13-26).
And perhaps most importantly, legalism minimizes, neutralizes, negates and denigrates the all-sufficient saving, work of Christ. Legalism mars the glory of Christ.
Paul insists that anything that maintains “Christ plus” is a false gospel, corrupts the glory of God and thus punishable by the most severe consequences.
Paul’s double curse reveals that distorting the gospel is no light matter. Proclaiming and believing a distorted gospel is a serious crime punishable by the most severe, eternal consequences.
His strong language reveals how deadly he deemed the differences to be between the gospel he received (1:12) and the one the Judaizers were teaching and preaching (vv. 8-9).
Paul deemed preaching and believing a distorted gospel to be so evil that those who do so deserve to be eternally cut off from Christ and all His blessings.