No Other Gospel
Open Your Bible
Galatians 1:6-10, Isaiah 52:1-10, 2 Corinthians 11:1-4, 2 Corinthians 11:12-15
My daughter is in a truly delightful developmental stage that is characterized primarily by make-believe. She spins magical tales and recites them with flourish, keeping us entertained and amazed at her creativity and sense of humor. Some of her stories are easy to identify as play—I know empirically that, no matter how awesome it sounds, a seagull did, in fact, not land on her head and take a seashell that she had balanced there.
But some of her stories are harder to sift out truth from make-believe. Did she really swim without a life jacket at camp? Despite all the assurances that she would always have a Personal Flotation Device, it’s possible the counselor forgot. Maybe? Sussing out fact from fiction in these scenarios is hard, a delicate balance of demanding honesty and encouraging her storytelling, creativity, and play.
When fiction is easy to identity, we delight in the power of story. When the line between truth and embellishment blurs, it is easy to believe first and question later. This is exactly Paul’s point in today’s part of the letter to Galatians. “I am amazed,” he writes, “that you are so quickly turning away from him who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another gospel” (Galatians 1:6–7). Paul pulls no punches, telling them, “If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, a curse be on him!” (v.9).
Furthermore, in 2 Corinthians, Paul admonishes, “For if a person comes and preaches another Jesus… you put up with it splendidly!” (2 Corinthians 11:4). The warning is two-fold: Stay true to the one true gospel and to Christ, and do not follow or teach a false gospel.
More often than not, the false gospels I am drawn to are not patently false at first glance. They dance on the line of biblical orthodoxy, skirting around it and often adding to it. A real Christian should live this way! they say, along with a pseudo-salvific claim to living out some expectation of modern life. Today’s false gospels bend Scripture, asking it to do or be something it’s not— adding to it to say something it does not say, or twisting what it actually does say. Which is exactly what the false teachers in Galatia were doing: adding a requirement of circumcision and following other Jewish laws to become a Christian.
I actively fight against the temptation of false gospels every day by engaging in Scripture, the north star that always points us exclusively to Christ. Filtering out falsehoods and embellishments is the work of the Holy Spirit in my heart through the means of grace that is the Word of God. I am so thankful for it.