(Song of Solomon 6-8; Galatians 1)
Oh, does Paul have a word for the churches today! If he were asked to speak at a majority of churches in our current times, what would he say? (Of course, through the Word, he IS speaking to these churches; however, rest assured that they would have nothing to do with inviting him to fill their pulpits!)
Paul would have done his homework. He would know the current state of affairs in these churches. Concerned believers would have informed him that real problems had cropped up in the leadership and among those who attended. Surely, he would have looked down and shaken his head in unbelief and disgust. How could this happen? What could possibly have occurred that they would stray so far from the truth of Jesus Christ?
In his time, Paul faced the issue in the church in Galatia that false teachers had come in and were distorting the Gospel. Astonished to learn of the blasphemies being preached, he wrote his letter to bring correction. The first thing he did was to remind them of Jesus Himself in Galatians 1:4:
… who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,
“Listen, church; we must keep our eyes on Jesus – on Him alone – because it is only through Him that we can maneuver through the darkness of this world. We live in a time of wickedness. How can you expect to make it through intact unless your faith and trust are wholly in Christ?”
What was going on that would require Paul to rebuke the church? Here is what he said in Galatians 1:6-7:
“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.”
Someone had begun distorting the truth, and the church was accepting this lie as if it was the Gospel of Christ. They had no discernment to differentiate what they’d originally been taught from this altered teaching.
‘What are you thinking?’ Paul seems to be saying. ‘Listen to me, and hear me well’ is the message in the following verses of Galatians 1:8-9:
“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.”
So adamant is Paul that he repeats himself to drive home the point. There is no Gospel but the true Gospel they learned at first. Any change from that is from Satan. The KJV uses the word anathema in place of accursed. Accursed means to be ill-fated or doomed. Anathema carries an even weightier meaning of being consigned to damnation. In other words, Paul tells the Galatians that someone who preaches anything but the true Gospel will be judged by God and consigned to hell.
This is a strong statement and one that’s entirely appropriate. Only the truth of Jesus Christ saves a man’s soul. If one hears and believes any message other than that, then he will not – he cannot – be saved and rescued from the eternal fires of the pit. Thus, a man who leads others to this place of torment himself deserves nothing less.
The message-bearers of today are storing up for themselves the wrath of God. How many pulpits are filled with men and women who proclaim that it’s just fine with God if you’re a “gay Christian”? How about those churches that have such people in their pulpits as an example to their congregations? What are we to think when we see so many denominations embracing the works of the world, such as Black Lives Matter, the social justice gospel, or climate change as the most important issues facing mankind? There are so many more falsehoods proclaimed in the name of the false Jesus they pretend to follow.
How many people believe these fabrications because they are ignorant of God’s Word? Talk about the great unwashed! The real definition of those who fall into this category are people who don’t read the Word of God and haven’t been cleansed by its living water. This is the vast majority of pew-sitters in churches. They have no idea what the Bible says because they don’t read it. Whatever they think they know comes only from their pastor or priest. If that person is spouting deceptions about Scripture, those hearing cannot discern. As G.K. Chesterton famously said:
“When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.”
And so it is: Of course, all white men are racist because… they are. The problems of this world emanate from injustices found in the systemic structure of our society. Our earth has been warming since the age of dinosaurs because of man’s carbon emissions. The only way to heaven is through the Catholic church and its rituals.
How many born-again believers are there who accept such garbage? I suppose there are some, but how unfruitful must they be! Anyone truly saved should run from churches that spout this nonsense. Whoever thinks he can reform such a church by remaining there is sadly mistaken. A mission field? No doubt. But surely such an individual is himself continuing to absorb lies by not being fed with real meat; he’s eating tainted food and may end up poisoned. That’s an unwise situation in which to remain.
Paul’s message to the church in Galatia is the same as for today. Hearing God’s Word is the absolute necessity for any who call themselves Christians. Those who bring a message contrary to the true Gospel are instruments of the devil.
As Paul said elsewhere in 2 Corinthians 6:15:
“What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?”
[Author Note: Briefly, I want to set the stage for you as to the nature of most of my articles in this season. Each year I read the Bible through completely at least once – that has been my practice since I came to the Lord in 2005. I remain astounded at what God has done in my life because of that discipline!
Each day I read from both the Old and New Testaments. I choose a verse from one of those passages and write my commentary and reflection based on that. In the title of my article, you’ll see the verse I chose. In addition, you’ll see the reading for that day if you’d like to follow along with greater context.]
Gary W. Ritter is a lay pastor, Bible teacher, and prolific author. His Whirlwind Series comprises three books: Sow the Wind, Reap the Whirlwind, and There Is A Time. These books are contained in the collected volume of the Whirlwind Omnibus. Gary has been given the Christian Redemptive Fiction award for three novels: The Tattooed Cat, Alien Revelation, and for his collaboration with Terry James in writing The Minion Protocols, the third book in James’ Second Coming Chronicles.
Earlier this year, Gary released a four-volume set of Awaken Bible Study Notes that comment verse-by-verse through Scripture from a Biblical prophetic lens. He is currently editing a sequel to Alien Revelation called Alien Zombie Plague, which he plans to release later in the fall of 2021. Recently, Gary wrote a novella for the new Kindle Vella platform. That story is called Tribulation Rising: Seal Judgments – The Coming Apocalypse. This seven-part short work can be found at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B099Z462WD.
Each day this year, Gary has been writing commentary and reflections based on his reading through the Bible in a year. The intent in all his writings is to bring a strong Christian witness to what people read. You can see all his books and blog articles and reach him at his website:www.GaryRitter.com or his Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/gritter3390. You can also see his older video Bible teachings on his Gary Ritter YouTube channel – look for the fish symbol, and more recently on Rumble on his Awaken Bible Prophecy channel: https://rumble.com/c/c-783217.