Curse to Those
Who Pervert the Gospel (1:6-10)
Father, grace, peace, glory, gospel, accursed, please men/God.
1. According to Paul, he was an apostle
because he had been called by Jesus Christ and God the Father (1) to preach the
gospel among the Gentiles (16). Although he had never been with the Lord Jesus
during His earthly ministry, he had seen the risen Lord just as the other
apostles had (1Cor 9:1; 15:1-8). At the time of Paul’s conversion, Christ also
revealed to him that He had called him to be His witness (Acts 9:10-16;
26:15-18). Thus, Paul stated in his epistles that he had been called to be an
apostle (Rom 1:1; 1Cor 1:1). This is the same mission as that which was
entrusted to the Twelve (Acts 1:21-22). In short, the clear calling by the Lord
and the mission to be Christ’s witness qualified him as one of the apostles.
His apostleship was further attested to in Luke’s writings (Acts 14:4,14).
The Lord Himself
also confirmed Paul’s apostleship. It was on this basis that Paul went to great
lengths to defend his apostleship in 2 Corinthians. He considered the
Corinthian believers themselves to be the evidence that proved he was a
minister of the gospel (2Cor 3:1-3). He also cited the signs of an apostle from
God through signs, wonders, and mighty deeds (2Cor 12:11-12). Because of all
the marvelous work of the Lord through Paul, it was clearly evident that the
Lord had called him to be an apostle.
2. The Judaizers
attempted to discredit the true gospel that Paul had preached by claiming that
he was not a true apostle. In response, Paul reinforces the message of the true
gospel by arguing that it was God, not any human being, who appointed him to be
an apostle. For this reason, any gospel that was different from the gospel he
had preached would be a false gospel.
3. In lieu of the commendations and
thanksgiving that are common among Paul’s other epistles, Paul just plunges into
the heart of the matter after a short benediction. In fact, even as early as
the first verse, Paul has begun to defend his apostolic call.
4. Salvation through Christ’s atonement in
accordance with God’s redemptive plan.
5. Through God’s saving grace and power,
believers have been delivered from the corruption in the world to be partakers
of the divine nature (2Pet 1:2-4). We have been freed from the bondage of sin
that controls the lives of unbelievers and have been given a new life in Christ
(1Jn 5:18-19). We also have the hope of being delivered from all evil and
preserved for the heavenly kingdom (2Tim 4:18).
6a. 1. The use of strong language, such as
“marvel,” “so soon,” “be accursed.” 2. The repetition
of the warning and curse in 8 and 9.
6b. Seeing that the
Galatians were on the verge of falling away from the grace of Christ, Paul had
to take drastic measures to awaken them from the delusion of the false gospel.
7a. Based on Paul’s
defense of the gospel in Galatians as well as the recordings in Acts (Acts
15:1), we can infer that the false gospel that had misled the Galatians
advocated salvation by observing Old Testament laws, including circumcision.
7b. While the false gospel appeared to be only a
slight variation of the true gospel (because it did not deny the saving works
of Christ but added the necessity of works to faith),
it had actually undermined the role of Christ in salvation. The perversion was
so serious that it had in essence completely nullified the necessity of
Christ’s atonement (cf. 2:21)
8. “Those who trouble you.” They had taken
away the liberty the believers had in Christ and put them under the bondage of
9. The effect of the false gospel is so great
that those who accepted such message turned away from God and His grace (1:6;
5:4). Hence, anyone who spreads such message is guilty of leading people to
destruction and deserves condemnation.
10. The true gospel does not originate from or
depend on any individual, including the preacher himself. Even if the preacher
of the gospel turns away from the truth and preaches a different gospel, he
will be accursed. Therefore, we should not let our faith rest on men but solely
on Christ. Man may change, but God’s word endures forever.
12. The true gospel is revealed to us through the
Scriptures. It was first spoken by the Lord and passed down to us through the
apostles and prophets (Eph 2:19-20). This gospel is also confirmed by the Lord
through signs and wonders, various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit (Heb
2:3-4). Therefore, to know if the gospel message we have received is from the
Lord, we need to see whether it is in complete accord with the teachings of the
Lord and the apostles, and whether the Lord confirms this gospel message just
as He did in the apostolic church, through pouring out the promised Holy Spirit
and through signs, wonders, and miracles.
13. Paul did not tolerate the preaching of a
different gospel within the church, since the body of Christ shares only one
faith (Eph 4:5). Thus, individuals or congregations that believe and uphold a
different gospel from what the apostles preached cannot be part of the body of
14a. As servants of Christ,
we are serving God, not men. It should be our aim to please our Master, to whom
we have to give an account (2Cor 5:9-10). We must be faithful in carrying out
God’s word, even if doing so runs contrary to men’s opinion.
14c. The Scripture teaches us to please our
neighbors or brothers in order to save them and build up their faith. Doing so
does not mean compromising God’s word in order to please men. Rather, we are to
restrict our personal freedom and become more empathetic to others’ needs (cf.
Rom 14:20-21; 1Cor 8:1,9-13; 9:19-23). But when
pleasing others involves actions that are contrary to Biblical teachings, we
must choose to please God rather than man.