A Contrary Gospel
Read Galatians 1:8-9 (ESV)
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. 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.
What does Paul say will happen to false teachers who change the message of the Gospel?
Counterfeit gospels are a dime a dozen these days. But when we go back to the Bible, we see that they are nothing new. Satan has been trying to distort the Gospel of Jesus Christ since the very beginning because people who are confused about the doctrine of salvation don’t know how to come to Christ so they remain on Satan’s side. They are held in his bondage and left in the dark.
That is why Paul repeatedly warned the Galatians that people would try to deceive them with gospels contrary to true Christian doctrine. He wanted his listeners to realize the importance of what he was saying and take his warnings seriously. He said that if “we” come to you and preach a different gospel from the one they had already taught them, that person or persons should be accursed. The “we” likely means Paul, his associates, or the other apostles. But his point was if anyone came to Galatia preaching a gospel that contradicted their original message, that man should be considered “anathema,” or cursed to eternity in hell. Paul said this should apply even if he himself was guilty of this!
Paul also said that if, hypothetically, an angel would appear from heaven and preach a different gospel, they shouldn’t accept it as truth. The apostle John agreed with Paul in 2 John 1:10-11: “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.”
The Gospel message never changes because God never changes. Hebrews 13:8 says that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
Numbers 23:19 confirms this: “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?”
If someone preaches a spiritual message to you that doesn’t match the apostle’s teaching in Scripture, do not buy into it! If they claim to have “new revelation from God” do not believe it! Paul said these people shouldn’t just be ignored, they should be accursed. Distorting, changing, and manipulating the Gospel is serious sin. In 2 John 1:7, John referred to false teachers as “deceivers” and “the antichrist.”
Interestingly, deceivers throughout history have claimed that angels brought them new or corrected gospel messages and these false teachers have led people astray into false systems of belief. For example, Muhammad claimed that the angel Gabriel gave him the message of Islam. Joseph Smith also claimed to have been visited by an angel and given a set of gold plates that he translated into English for the Book of Mormon. But both of these “new revelations” contradict Scripture in numerous ways so they cannot be true!
Friends, the true test of a message is whether or not it agrees with the original Gospel message that Jesus Himself taught to His apostles. If anyone tries to persuade you to accept a contrary “gospel,” don’t buy it! Remember that in 2 Corinthians 11:14-15, Paul told us “for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” A message may sound good and it may seem to be from God, but it cannot be trusted if it is a “contrary gospel.”
Lord, I humbly ask that you would increase my understanding of Your Word, the true Gospel. Give me spiritual discernment to be able to quickly identify false teachers and false messengers. I also ask for the courage to stand and defend the truth of Your Word for the sake of the salvation of others and for Your glory. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
If you found value in this post, please share your comments, questions, and prayers with us!