"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." Galatians 1:8-9
The great theme of the New Testament is, of course, the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ. As we ponder this wonderful truth, we recall what we need to do with this gospel:
1) Believe it.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” John 5:24.
2) Proclaim it.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8
3) Defend it.
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel, not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.” Galatians 1:6-7
Yes, the church needs to defend the gospel lest, after others have whittled it out of existence, we have nothing left to proclaim. Jude predicted certain individuals would creep in unawares to pervert the gospel (Jude 4), a warning also echoed by Peter (2 Peter 2:1-3).
In our age of accommodation, where everyone wants to be liked and not really stand for anything, we need to be loyal to our Lord Jesus Christ and His eternal gospel. Gospel perversion takes place slowly, with tiny compromises and “harmless” concessions. But the Apostle Paul and others were not sympathetic to such “negotiations” and gospel “give-a-ways.” Paul refused to “practice cunning or to tamper with God’s Word” (2 Corinthians 4:2), but instead proclaimed “Jesus Christ as Lord” (verse 5). He predicted a time when some would “depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teaching of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). The Apostle John, sometimes called the “apostle of love,” cautioned his readers not to “believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God” (1 John 4:1). He goes on to attribute such teachings to the “spirit of the antichrist” (verse 3).
Clearly we have a mandate to believe and proclaim the gospel, and to support all worthy efforts of others who do. But equally, we need to treasure the gospel by not allowing ourselves or others to be taken captive by the seducing spirits of our age. Ultimately, such teaching comes from the evil one, our sworn enemy.
Will we be faithful in standing up for gospel truth, and will we hold up the gospel in all its purity? Too many today wilt under the pressure of the world spirit that says, “it really doesn’t matter what you believe; we’re all going to the same place.” Unfortunately for them, we are not all going to the same place, and the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ remains our only hope for salvation. Let’s not allow others to hijack the gospel for their own purposes, but instead let us take our stand in valiantly defending it. One day you will be rewarded for your stand, while others will moan their compromises and concessions.
Posted on Fri, October 25, 2013
by Sam Petitfils