Galatians 1:8 – But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you tan what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
Paul corrected problems in the Galatian Assembly. The error he dealt with was the false gospel of the Judaizers. They said Gentiles must add works of the Law, mostly circumcision to God’s grace. Biblically, this is Legalism or doing something from the Law of Moses to add to salvation. But Paul says if an angel or man preaches a different gospel, he/she/they are to be accursed. The Greek for “accursed” is “anathema” which means “eternally damned.” Harsh words indeed, but true.
They were necessary, as they are today. Legalism is alive. People say you must add to God’s grace to be saved, including the Law: dietary laws, saying you must worship on a particular day, etc. Others say you must be baptized, pray the rosary, go door to door, go to Mecca or save the Earth and more to add to God’s grace. In our world of “inclusivism” where “everyone is ok as long as they are sincere,” we don’t like to hear that God says salvation is exclusive to His grace through faith in Jesus alone! Scripture says, those who proclaim these false gospels are “eternally damned.”
We as the Church are quick to rightly expose cults, false religions, eastern mysticism or others for their deception and false gospels. But we forget there are those within the Church, which Paul was referring to, that proclaim false gospels, of which some have mentioned. One of the main false gospels today is the gospel of “health and wealth.” Those who teach this say God guarantees His children health and wealth. God gives health and wealth, but it is not guaranteed and many have been hurt or died because of these lies. Sometimes it is phrased as “giving you a better life” or “your best life now.” It’s also stated, “believe and achieve” or “name it and claim it” which is faith in faith. Faith is key, but this is a false gospel because it places faith in what we want, desire or can do and not God. Jesus didn’t come to make our life “better” according to what we think, but to save us from God’s wrath!
Another false gospel is moralism. This is where people proclaim Jesus died to “make you a good or better person.” Jesus didn’t come to make people better, but to bring people to spiritual life. If you are a Christian, the messages are, “do better” or “try harder.” While every Christian should be ethical, holy and moral, this is not the gospel, but the life that results from believing the gospel of God’s grace, recognizing it is ALL of His grace. Moralism is self-defeating, because we realize WE can’t do it. It comes from pride leading to more pride where we look down on others who “are not like us” or are “not as moral as we are.” Liberalism is false too, where people only focus on helping the poor, widows and the sick, the external results. The Church should help the poor and more, but to separate that from salvation isn’t the gospel. The Emergent Church proclaims this false gospel, devoid of doctrinal truth, but merely moralistic and liberal.
The only way to fight a lie is to know the truth and the truth is there is only 1 gospel, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God who took on Himself flesh and died in my place, shedding His blood as the perfect sacrifice. He was buried and physically arose 3 days later and by faith in Him alone in Him, can I be saved. Do you believe His gospel or do you believe in a false gospel?