The Apostle Paul is adamant that he had taught the genuine and full gospel to his hearers. In fact, Paul’s Gospel (The Gospel of Christ) was the only complete and true Gospel. Any addition to this gospel made it a false gospel and cursed. Strong words indeed!
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently, some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! – Galatians 1:6-9
A Law-free Gospel of Righteousness
Years ago, when beginning to study Galatians again, this introduction arrested my attention and forced me to think about my definitions of the Gospel. It made me read through Galatians, Romans, and Ephesians (the whole New Testament actually) extremely thoroughly, weighing up what Paul was saying versus what I thought I believed. I had to admit that because my “gospel” required Law to be righteous, I did not have the true Gospel. In fact, my gospel was ladened with legalism. Paul forced me to have a re-think. It forced me to start exploring the concept of a Holy Spirit empowered and Law-free gospel of righteousness.
Really! It is still Good News!
A grace message that requires Law to balance it is no grace message at all. Grace, as administered by the Holy Spirit, is the same Grace that was in Jesus. Grace not only reckons us as being righteous (justification) it also produces, by the power of the Spirit, righteous behaviour (sanctification) including Love. Righteousness by faith means that our empowered relationship with Jesus is Grace from beginning to end.If the Grace-only message offends you it means that your view of the gospel is legalistic and therefore a false gospel. The Gospel is brilliant, empowering, good news! Let’s keep it that way! – David Crabtree