In medical school, we were taught that to determine the disease or what's wrong with the person, we must first and foremost KNOW and MASTER the normal functions of the body, so we can easily distinguish what is abnormal and pathologic to help us in treating the person.
The same goes with the word of God, the GOSPEL; as a follower of Jesus, our primary task is to be masters of the truth of the Gospel so we cannot be easily swayed by the perversion of heretics who try to add to the whole Gospel, because there is NO OTHER GOSPEL.
In the first five verses of his letter, Paul set out the Gospel in a nutshell, and there establishes the truths he would defend throughout the epistle.
The heretics, who claimed to bring a message from the other apostles in Jerusalem, were lying. The heretics diminished the work of Jesus Christ by saying that human works are necessary for salvation as a supplement to Christ’s work.
It is clear that Paul believes this “different gospel” cannot provide salvation as its content differs from the gospel he received from Christ. Instead, this other “gospel” is no gospel at all (v. 7). If, as the New Testament declares, the gospel is the good news that God’s kingdom has come in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, then works of the Law cannot be added as a requirement for salvation. Jesus has done all that is needed to redeem His people; therefore, the only way to enjoy redemption is to trust Him and what He has done without resting on our good deeds at all.
The apostle will curse even himself should he deviate from the gospel of grace (vv. 8-9). Even he has no right to change the message, for his gospel’s truth and authority is grounded in God Himself. Paul, John Calvin comments, “demands from all, equally with himself, subjection to the word of God.”
Thus, we ought to ask ourselves: Are we certain of the Gospel that we hold on to? Can we distinguish the true Gospel from a false one?
Praise the Lord we were able to go through the book – What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert, and be reinforced by the core truths of the Gospel:
– God is Holy
– Man the Sinner
– Christ the Solution
– Man’s Response
The Gospel must have these truths, no more or no less, to make it complete as what Jesus and the Apostles’ taught and proclaimed. Any addition to this would render it NOT the true Gospel. According to Stephen Nichols, a false gospel is this: Gospel + Error.
So, to know the error, we must be soaked with and be masters ourselves of the truths of the gospel.
Lord, help us to truly honor You in studying the truth and not be swayed by false teachings. Amen.