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. (Gal. 1:8)
In the opening verses of the book of Galatians, Paul uses such strong language when rebuking the Galatian Christians because he understands what is at stake. When tinkering with the gospel, people’s lives hang in the balance. People’s eternal destiny is on the line. Paul feels so strongly about this that he says to the believers in Galatia, “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” (Gal. 1:8-9). Paul is literally calling down a curse upon anyone who would dare preach a gospel message other than the one true gospel. And what is that one true gospel? That salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone, apart from any works or Law-keeping whatsoever. He makes this clear in Galatians 2:16 that a “person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ,…because by works of the law no one will be justified.” Paul is so dogmatic about this point that he will later say that all who desire to or attempt to be justified before God based on Law-keeping “are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace” (Gal. 5:4). That is strong language! To attempt to add some work or some form of Law-keeping to faith is to be “severed from Christ.” This is because to think some sort of work is necessary on our part for salvation is to think that Christ’s life, death, and resurrection was not enough. It is it to imply that something more needs to be added to what Christ has already done.
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