“I marvel that you are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospe
Literally: “I wonder, I am amazed”—Implying that he had hoped better things from them, but he was surprised at their turning out so different from his expectations.
MARVEL: (Grk.–thaumazô)–Meaning: “to wonder at; to marvel.” Paul here uses as mild a word as possible. He does not employ the language of severe reproof, but he expresses his astonishment that the thing should have occurred.
Paul was deeply affected and amazed that such a thing could have happened.
1. They had cordially embraced the Gospel.
2. They had displayed a great attachment for him;.
3. They had given themselves to God.
And yet, in a very short time,
4. They had been led wholly astray.
5. They had embraced opinions which tended wholly to pervert and destroy the Gospel.|
6. They had shown an instability and inconsistancy of character which was to him perfectly surprising.
It was a matter of wonder to Paul that a people, so soundly converted to God, should have so soon made shipwreck of their faith. But mutability itself has not a more apt subject to work upon than the human heart; the alternate workings of different passions are continually either changing the character, or giving it a different coloring. Reason, not passion, the Word of God, not the sayings of men, should alone be consulted in the concerns of our salvation.
“so soon removed”
Literally: “being turned back.” and doing it “so quickly”. Either from the time of their conversion or most likely from the time when the Judaizers came and tempted them.
REMOVED: (Grk.–metatithesthe)–Meaning: “to transpose, put in another place;” and then, “to go over from one party to another.” Better translated as, “are being removed,” that is, you are suffering yourselves so soon (whether from the time of my last visit, or from the time of the first temptation held out to you) to be removed by Jewish seducers. So easily some of them are falling victims to these perverters of the Gospel.
This proves that the epistle was written not long after the Gospel was first preached to them. According to the general supposition, it could not have been more than from two to five years.
1. Had it been a long and gradual decline?
2. Had they been destitute for years of the privileges of the gospel? Or,
3. Had they had time to forget him who had first preached to them?
It would not have been a matter of surprise. But
a. When it occurred in only a few months; w
b. When their once ardent love for Paul, and their confidence in him had so soon vanished, or,|
c. When their affections become alienated, and,
d. When they had so soon embraced opinions tending to set the whole gospel aside, it could not but excite his wonder.
The ardor of the affections became cool, and some artful, and zealous, and plausible teachers of error seduce the mind, corrupt the heart, and alienate the affections. It implies that foreign influence had been used to turn away their minds from the truth.
Where there is the ardor of the first love to God, there is also an effort soon made by the adversary to turn away the heart from Him; and young converts are commonly soon attacked in some plausible manner, and by art and arguments adapted to turn away their minds from the truth, and to alienate the affections from God. Their affections had become transferred to other doctrines than those which they had at first embraced, and they had moved off from the only true foundation, to one which would give them no support.
Literally: “so quickly”–After my last visit; when I hoped and thought you were untainted by the Judaizing teachers.
If this Epistle was written from Corinth, the interval would be a little more than three years, which would be “soon” to have fallen away, if they were apparently sound at the time of his visit. It may be implied in 4:18, 20 that he saw no symptom of unsoundness then, such as he hears of in them now. If from Ephesus, the interval would be not more than one year.
“from Him, that called you”|
Literally: “from him calling you”–There has been great difference of opinion in regard to the sense of this passage. Some have supposed that it refers to God; others to Christ; others to Paul himself.
Either supposition makes good sense, and conveys an idea not contrary to the Scriptures in other places. It is not possible, perhaps, to determine the true sense. The reasons are,
1. That He who had called them, is said to have called them “into the grace of Christ,” which would be hardly said of Christ Himself; and,
2. That the work of calling men is usually, in the Scriptures, attributed to God, (I Thess. 2:12; 5:24; II Thess. 2:14; II Timothy 1:9).
“unto another gospel”
Literally: “to another gospel”–There are two aspects of the Gospel: (1) The facts of the Gospel, and (2) the interpretation of the facts. The facts of the Gospel are the death, burial and bodily resurrection of Christ (see I Cor. 15:3-15). The subject of Paul’s letter to the Galatian concerns the interpretation of the Gospel.
The Judaizers had followed Paul into the Galatian country. They did not challenge the facts of the Gospel. The heresy they were expounding concerned the interpretation of the Gospel. They were telling the Galatian Jewish believers that Paul was teaching that they should keep the Mosaic Law to be truly saved. This is adding something to grace. It is doing something, instead of simply believing something. It is faith-plus-something. It is adding something to grace. Dr. M.R. DeHaan is quoted as saying, “To add anything to grace is a disgrace.” AMEN, DOCTOR! Every cult and “ism” has something to do in order to be saved.
The affections of these Galatian Christians had become transferred to other doctrines than those which they had at first embraced, and they had moved off from the only true foundation, to one which would give them no support.
Paul said to the Philippian jailer, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). Simon Peter said to the Sanhedrin, “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other Name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Christ told the apostles to preach the Gospel of Salvation by Grace. They were not to do anything to gain salvation, but there were to trust what Christ already had done for them.
ANOTHER: ( Grk.– heteros)–Meaning: different; not the same. Paul is writingto the Galatian believers and saying, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another (different kind of) gospel.”
“Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ.”
“which is not another”
Literally: “which is not another of like kind.”—Which is not a similar gospel.
Paul is telling these Galatian believers that the different gospel to which they were verging was really not another, not a second gospel. There is only ONE Gospel: the Gospel of Jesus Christ dying for our sins, and rising again from the dead for our justification! The gospel of the Judaizers, though it formally accepted Christianity, did reveal a different form of justification.
ANOTHER: (Grk.–allos)–Meaning: another of a similar kind.
It is called a gospel, but it differs most essentially from the authentic narratives published by the evangelists. It iS NOT really gospel, i.e. good tidings, for it loads you again with the burdens from which the genuine Gospel has delivered you. Instead of giving you peace, it troubles you; instead of being a useful supplement to the Gospel of Christ, it perverts that Gospel. You have gained nothing but loss and damage by the change.
That was no “gospel” (good news) at all, but a yoke of bondage to the law and the abolition of grace. There is but one gospel and that is of GRACE, not works. This was not gospel, i.e., good tidings, for it loaded them again with the burdens from which the genuine Gospel has disencumbered them. Instead of giving them peace, it troubled them; instead of being a useful supplement to the Gospel of Christ, it perverted that Gospel. They had gained nothing but loss and damage by the change.
It was a different system, and one which taught an entirely different method of justification before God. The system which they taught was, in fact, the Mosaic system–the Jewish mode, depending on the rites and ceremonies of religion–and which, therefore, did not deserve to be called the Gospel. It would load them again with burdensome rites, and with cumbrous institutions, from which it was the great purpose of the Gospel to relieve them.
“there be some that trouble you”
Literally: “there are some troubling you”–Though this is most manifestly another system, and not the Gospel at all, yet there are some persons who are capable of giving trouble, and of unsettling your minds, by making it plausible. They pretend that they have come direct from the apostles at Jerusalem; that they have received their instructions from them, and that they preach the true Gospel as they teach it. They pretend that Paul was called into the office of an apostle after them; that he had never seen the Lord Jesus; that he had derived his information only from others; and thus they are able to present a plausible argument, and to unsettle the minds of the Galatians.
“and would pervert”
Literally: “desiring to pervert”– That is, the tendency of their doctrine is wholly to turn away, to destroy, or render useless the Gospel of Christ.
It would lead, to the denial of the necessity of dependence on the merits of the Lord Jesus for salvation, and would substitute dependence on rites and ceremonies. This does not of necessity mean that such was the design of their teaching, for they might have been in the main honest; but that such was the tendency and result of their teaching. It would lead men to rely on the Mosaic rites for salvation.
WOULD: (Grk.–thelô)–Literally: “to desire; to wish; ” “to pervert”; they could not really pervert the Gospel, though they could pervert Gospel professors
PERVERT: (Grk.– metastrephô)—Literally: “wish to pervert.” This is a strong word, used by Dr. Luke in speaking of the sun turned to darkness (Acts 2:20) and by James, speaking of laughter turned to mourning (James 4:9).
To attempt to change the gospel has the effect of making it the very opposite of what it really is (i.e., to negate it). “To destroy,” or “to render useless” the Gospel of Christ. It would lead to the denial of the necessity of dependence on the merits of the Lord Jesus for salvation, and would substitute dependence on rites and ceremonies. This does not of necessity mean that such was the design of their teaching, for they might have been in the main honest; but that such was the tendency and result of their teaching. It would lead men to rely on the Mosaic rites for salvation.|
Though acknowledging Christ, they insisted on circumcision and Jewish ordinances and professed to rest on the authority of other apostles, namely, Peter and James. But Paul recognizes no gospel, except the pure Gospel of Christ.
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”
Literally: “even if; even though”–Supposing a case which has never occurred. But “though we;” that is, we the apostles.
Probably he refers particularly to himself, as the plural is often used by Paul when speaking of himself. Here he is possibly alluding to a charge which was brought against him by the false teachers in Galatia–that he had changed his views since he came among them–and now preached differently from what he did then. They were probably trying to fortify their own opinions in regard to the obligations of the Mosaic Law, by affirming, that though Paul when he was among them had maintained that the observance of the Law was not necessary to salvation, yet that he had since changed his position on this.
To refute these Judaizers, Paul affirms that the Gospel which he had at first preached to them was the true Gospel.
1. It contained the great Doctrines of Salvation.
2. It was to be regarded by them as a fixed and settled point.
There was no other way of salvation but by the merits of the Savior.|
1. No matter who taught anything else;
2. No matter though it be alleged that he had changed his mind;
3. No matter even though he should preach another gospel; and,
4. No matter though an angel from heaven should declare any other mode of salvation, it was to be held as a fixed and settled position.
“or an angel from heaven”
Literally: “Or an angel out of heaven.” This is a very strong rhetorical mode of expression.
We are not to be supposed that an angel from heaven would preach any other than the true Gospel. But Paul wishes to put the strongest possible case, and to affirm, in the strongest manner possible, that the true Gospel had been preached to them. God’s great Plan of Salvation had been taught to them; and no other was to be admitted:
1. No matter who preached it,
2. No matter what the character or rank of the preacher, and,
3. No matter with what imposing claims he came.
It follows from this, that the mere rank, character, talent, eloquence, or piety of a preacher, does not of necessity give his doctrine a claim to our belief, or prove that his gospel is true.
A new revelation, even though seemingly accredited by miracles, is not to be received if it contradict the already existing revelation. For God cannot contradict Himself (Deut. 13:1-3; I Kings 13:18; Matt. 24:24; II Thess. 2:9). The Judaizing teachers sheltered themselves under the names of the great apostles, James, John, and Peter.
“preach any other gospel
Literally: “preach a gospel”–Meaning any gospel that differs from that which was first preached to you; any system of doctrines which goes to deny the necessity of simple dependence on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.
In our day we hear many speakers who are giving us another “gospel” which they call the “social gospel.” They may even look like angels to you; after all, don’t forget that Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light, and his ministers also are transformed as the ministers of righteousness (see II Cor. 11:14-15). The Church has no power to add doctrines to the Gospel of Christ.
1. It has no power or authority to invent a new doctrine.
2. It is bound to discover the whole truth contain in the Gospel,
a. To exhibit it in all its relations, and,
b. To adapt it to the various aspects of human speculation and needs of men.
BUT, it has NO power or authority to invent a new doctrine. Thus, Paul here condemns the Roman Catholic Church in its decreeing new Articles of Faith that are not found in Scriptures but altogether inconsistent with the Scriptures. The Gospel of Christ will tolerate no rivals;
1. It will allow no alien elements;
2. It will admit NO additions that would undermine its essential principles.
All things necessary to salvation are to be found in the Word of God.
HERESY IS A SERIOUS THING:
1. It has the power to damn the soul.
2. It is a sin against God, against the soul, against the truth, against the Church, against the world.
3. It is the tendency of modern times to regard error in spiritual matters as in no way endangering the salvation of man.
A flippant infidelity denies that a man is responsible for his beliefs. There is a teaching today that everybody is right, that nobody is wrong, that nothing but an evil lifestyle will bring retribution hereafter. Let all those who, from the fickleness of their own minds, are ready to favor the reveries of every pretended prophet and prophetess who starts up, consider the awful words of Paul. As, in the law, the receiver of stolen goods is as bad as the thief; so the encouragers of such pretended revelations are as bad, in the sight of God, as those impostors themselves. What says the Word of God to them? Let them be accursed. Reader, lay these things to heart
“let him be accursed”
Literally: “Anathema, let him become.”—The object of Paul is to express the greatest possible abhorrence of any other doctrine than that which he had himself preached. So great was his detestation of it, that, says Luther, “he casteth out very flames of fire; and his zeal is so fervent, that he beginneth almost to curse the angels.” Anathema; given over to the judgments of God. See I Cor. 16:22.
ACCURSED: (Grk.-–anathema)– Literally: “cursed to Hell!” It is not really wrong here to be rendered “accursed,” or “devoted to destruction.” It follows from this,
1. That any other doctrine than that which is proclaimed in the Bible on the subject of justification, is to be rejected and treated with abhorrence, no matter what the rank, talent, or eloquence of him who defends it.
2. That we are not to patronize or countenance such preachers.
No matter what their zeal, or their apparent sincerity, or their apparent sanctity, or their apparent success, or their real boldness in rebuking vice
a. We are to withdraw from them.
b. We are to withdraw from their teaching;
c. We are to regard their doctrines with abhorrence; and,
d. We are not to lend our countenance to them.
To their own master they stand or fall; but what must be the doom of a teacher whom an inspired man has said should be regarded as ANATHEMA: “ACCURSED!
It may be added, how responsible is the ministerial office! How fearful the account which the ministers of religion must render! How much prayer, and study, and effort are needed that they may be able to understand the true gospel, and that they may not be led into error, or lead others into error!
This verse is as strong as anything could possibly be. Paul has said that even if any angel dared to declare any other message than the Gospel, he would be dismissed as preaching heresy If an angel should appear and say, “You are right as far as you go, but you also should do something to be saved,” you should say, “Get out of here. In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I pronounced you as being accursed.”
“As we said before, so say I now again, ‘If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.’”
“As we said before, so say I now again,”
Literally: “as we have said before”–Paul knew that he has just made what some will consider an extreme statement. But it is a deliberate one and not mere excitement. He will stand by it to the end. He calls down a curse on any one who proclaims a gospel to them contrary to that which they had received from him.
It cannot be supposed that he had said this when he was with them, as it cannot be believed that he then anticipated that his doctrines would be perverted, and that another Gospel would be preached to them. The sentiment of verse 8 is here repeated on account of its importance. It is common in the Scriptures, as indeed it is everywhere else, to repeat a declaration in order to deepen the impression of its importance and its truth. Whenever the Holy Spirit has something repeated it is for emphasizing that point. Paul would not be misunderstood on this point. He would leave no doubt as to his meaning. He would not have it supposed that he had uttered the sentiment in 1:8 hastily; and he therefore repeats it with emphasis.
“If any man preach any other gospel”
Literally: “if anyone preaches a gospel”–Alas, preachers have turned away from Christ, (our pulpits are full of such) and preach “humanism” or some other “new-fangled” notion. The Jews termed Paul a renegade for leaving Judaism for Christianity. But it was before Paul had seen Christ that he clung to the Law. Paul is dogmatic and positive here, for he knows that he is standing upon solid ground, the fact of Christ dying for us and rising again. He had seen the Risen Jesus Christ. It is not really wrong here to be rendered “accursed,” or “devoted to destruction.” REMEMBER THIS: The opposite of dogma is dodge-ma. You are either dogmatic about the truth of the Word of God, or else you dodge the truths.
“than that ye have received”
Literally: “besides what you received”–When we were visiting you (so “before” means).
RECEIVED: (Grk.–paralambanô)—“To receive from another; to take; to appropriate to one’s self.” It was used of a hospitable welcome such as a host gives to his guest. Such a welcome the Galatians had given the gospel of grace when it was preached among them by Paul.
“let him be accursed”
Literally: “to be anathema”– This anathema is not simply excommunication; for an angel could not be affected by such a thing.
What it really means that it is the very curse of the living God Himself. God only can inflict such. Paul does it here by the same authority that sent him to preach the gospel—the authority of that Lord Who has the keys of hell and death. Anathema is a word used in the LXX (Septuagint) of a person or thing set apart and devoted to destruc-tion, because of the hateful to God. Thus, in a spiritual sense, it denotes one who is alienated from God by sin. It cannot here refer to ecclesiastical excommunication, for angels are included.
Literally, what Paul is saying is, “Let him be damned!” The gospel shuts out all works. Romans 4:5 says, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Unfortunately, many people think they must become “good enough” to be saved; however, the only class that God is saving is the ungodly.
The Judaizers did not actually deny the facts of the Gospel—that Jesus died and rose again. What they denied was that this was adequate enough for salvation. They insisted that you must keep the Law PLUS trust Christ. But Paul is saying here that whosoever tries to mix Law and Grace—let him be damned to hell! Why? Because they pervert the Gospel of God. This is a prevalent problem now: preachers mixing Law and Grace. I have heard some preach, “If you do (thus-an-so) you’ll go to hell.” That is nothing more than mixing law and grace. They don’t understand that the O.T. is under Law, and the N.T.(especially past Acts chapter 2) is under Grace.
If you preach the Gospel of Grace today you may get into trouble because it is the Gospel of the Grace of God that the Satan hates and therefore his people also hate. Many unsaved church members do not want to hear the message of grace. They want to hear a message that appeals to the flesh. The Gospel of Grace puts us in the dust and makes us beggars before God.