Galatians 1:4-9

Sunday Evening Service

March 20, 2005


Paul is writing to a group of churches which he had helped to establish.

After having established these churches, there were a group of teachers called “Judaizers” who came in and began spreading their own doctrines.

The Judaizers felt that a Gentile couldn’t really be saved apart from first becoming a Jew.

They taught that after a person came to Jesus, they would have to then be circumcised, and begin to follow the Law of Moses.

We’re finishing up Paul’s introduction …

:1-5 Introduction

(NKJV) :4 who gave Himself for our sins

forhuper – in behalf of, for the sake of; the word speaks of substitution.

Jesus died on a cross for the sake of our sins. He died as our substitute on the cross.

Even the high priest Caiphas would unknowingly, but prophetically, speak of this:

(John 11:50 NKJV) "nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for (as a substitute, in place of) the people, and not that the whole nation should perish."

Paul hasn’t even gotten out of his salutation, and he’s already clearly dealing with the issues.

This is the root of what it’s all about, our salvation.

Our salvation isn’t based upon our works, but on God’s works.

:4 that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

deliverexaireo – to pluck out, draw out, i.e. root out

presentenistemi – to be upon, impend, threaten; close at hand; present

evilponeros – evil, wicked, bad; not just sitting on a sofa “evil”, but “evil” that tries to reach out and corrupt others.

We live in a very evil world. It is “present”, all around us.

And Jesus’ death on the cross not only was to pay for our sins, but was to deliver us from the power of the world around us.

He loves you just as you are, but He also loves you so much that He doesn’t want you to stay like you are.

It is God’s desire, it is God’s “will” that you trust in Jesus and be delivered from the evil around us.


Jesus delivers us from worldliness.

I find it fascinating to watch some of the cults, like Mormons, and see how incredibly worldly the people are in it.
Or Judaism itself, how worldly.
Yet, as Christian, we are delivered from the power of the world.
We no longer have to conform to the world’s standards any more.
Soon after Augustine’s conversion, he was walking down the street in Milan, Italy. There he accosted a prostitute whom he had known most intimately. She called but he would not answer. He kept right on walking. “Augustine,” she called again. “It is I!” Without slowing down, but with assurance of Christ in his heart, he testified, “Yes, but it is no longer I.” Although young in the faith, he knew something of a solicitation to do evil and the way of victory over temptation. His reply, “It is no longer I,” expresses a realization that he had a new power available to combat the forces of sin and evil which would seek to dominate his life. He was a changed man.

:6-9 Another gospel

:6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon

turning awaymetatithemi – to transpose (two things, one of which is put in place of the other); to transfer; to change; to fall away or desert from one person or thing to another; lit. - “You were in one place, and now you’re in another”


Talking Dog for Sale

This guy sees a sign in front of a house: “Talking Dog for Sale.” He rings the bell and the owner tells him the dog is in the backyard. The guy goes into the backyard and sees a dog sitting there. “You talk?” he asks. “Yep,” the dog replies. “So, what’s your story?” The dog looks up and says, “Well, I discovered this gift pretty young and I wanted to help the government, so I told the CIA about my gift, and in no time they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping.” “I was one of their most valuable spies eight years running. The jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn’t getting any younger and I wanted to settle down. So I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security work, mostly wandering near suspicious characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings there and was awarded a batch of medals. Had a wife, a mess of puppies, and now I’m just retired.” The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog. The owner says, “Ten dollars.” The guy says, “This dog is amazing. Why on earth are you selling him, and so cheap?” The owner replies, “He’s such a liar. He didn’t do any of that stuff.”

Cults are a little like the talking dog.  People are sucked in by what seems to be some amazing thing, only to find out that it just ain’t true.

Paul is blown away that it has been so little time since they were converted, and they are already going away from the truth.

It’s my understanding that the cults will often work this way (not with talking dogs)

They will sometimes prey on the new believers.

Calvary Costa Mesa used to have Mormon missionaries sneak in and sit in the back, and then after an altar call, they would seek out the new believers and hit them up.

The Harvest Crusade also has had all kinds of groups try to come out on the field during an altar call, and try to pass out literature among the new believers. This is why they’re pretty strict about counsellors going through training, references from pastors, and wearing badges on the field.

:6 from Him who called you in the grace of Christ,

Gospel = good news, what good news?

What was Paul's gospel?

First the bad news.  The bad news is that you are a sinner.

(Rom 3:23 NKJV) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

And it gets worse.  Your sins actually come with a consequence.  Your sins separate you from God.

(Rom 6:23 NKJV) For the wages of sin is death …

The good news is that when you were impossibly separated from God, God took care of the problem by sending Jesus to die in our place, paying the penalty for our sins.

(Rom 5:8 NKJV) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

All we need to do to receive this payment for our sins is to believe in Jesus, and accept God's free gift of salvation.

(John 1:12 NKJV) But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:

It's not about cleaning up your life, to somehow become worthy of knowing God.

We are totally unable to do anything to merit God's blessings on our lives.

It's only what God does for us that counts.

Grace is at the center of what the gospel is all about.

What is grace?

charis - grace ; it speaks of something that causes joy, pleasure, delight.  The New Testament idea of grace is that it’s what God has done for us without our having done anything to deserve it.  It is unmerited favor.

Paul wrote:

(Eph 2:8 NKJV) For by grace you have been saved through faith …

Our salvation comes as a result of God's loving grace.

We receive our salvation through the agency of faith.

It's as if faith is the hypodermic needle that injects the life giving serum of grace into our veins.


The boy stood with back arched, head cocked back and hands clenched defiantly. “Go ahead, give it to me.” The principal looked down at the young rebel. “How many times have you been here?” The child sneered rebelliously, “Apparently not enough.” The principal gave the boy a strange look. “And you have been punished each time have you not?” “Yeah, I been punished, if that’s what you want to call it.” He threw out his small chest, “Go ahead I can take whatever you dish out. I always have.” “And no thought of your punishment enters your head the next time you decide to break the rules does it?” “Nope, I do whatever I want to do. Ain’t nothin you people gonna do to stop me either.” The principal looked over at the teacher who stood nearby. “What did he do this time?” “Fighting. He took little Tommy and shoved his face into the sandbox.” The principal turned to look at the boy, “Why? What did little Tommy do to you?” “Nothin, I didn’t like the way he was lookin at me, just like I don’t like the way you’re lookin at me! And if I thought I could do it, I’d shove your face into something.” The teacher stiffened and started to rise but a quick look from the principal stopped him. He contemplated the child for a moment and then quietly said, “Today my young student, is the day you learn about grace.” “Grace? Isn’t that what you old people do before you sit down to eat? I don’t need none of your stinkin grace.” “Oh but you do.” The principal studied the young mans face and whispered. “Oh yes, you truly do...” The boy continued to glare as the principal continued, “Grace, in its short definition is unmerited favor. You can not earn it, it is a gift and is always freely given. It means that you will not be getting what you so richly deserve.” The boy looked puzzled. “You’re not gonna whup me? You just gonna let me walk?” The principal looked down at the unyielding child. “Yes, I am going to let you walk.” The boy studied the face of the principal, “No punishment at all? Even though I socked Tommy and shoved his face into the sandbox?” “Oh, there has to be punishment. What you did was wrong and there are always consequences to our actions. There will be punishment. Grace is not an excuse for doing wrong.” “I knew it,” Sneered the boy as he held out his hands. “Lets get on with it.” The principal nodded toward the teacher. “Bring me the belt.” The teacher presented the belt to the principal. He carefully folded it in two and then handed it back to the teacher. He looked at the child and said. “I want you to count the blows.” He slid out from behind his desk and walked over to stand directly in front of the young man. He gently reached out and folded the child’s outstretched, expectant hands together and then turned to face the teacher with his own hands outstretched. One quiet word came forth from his mouth. “Begin.” The belt whipped down on the outstretched hands of the principal. Crack! The young man jumped ten feet in the air. Shock registered across his face, “One” he whispered. Crack! “Two.” His voice raised an octave. Crack! “Three...” He couldn’t believe this. Crack! “Four.” Big tears welled up in the eyes of the rebel. “OK stop! That’s enough. Stop!” Crack! Came the belt down on the callused hands of the principal. Crack! The child flinched with each blow, tears beginning to stream down his face. Crack! Crack! “No please”, the former rebel begged, “Stop, I did it, I’m the one who deserves it. Stop! Please. Stop...” Still the blows came, Crack! Crack! One after another. Finally it was over. The principal stood with sweat glistening across his forehead and beads trickling down his face. Slowly he knelt down. He studied the young man for a second and then his swollen hands reached out to cradle the face of the weeping child. “Grace...”


Our salvation is totally God's work.

We need to keep this always in the forefront of our faith.
It wasn't because we cleaned up our lives that we got saved.
It wasn't because we stopped smoking or drinking.
It was only because Jesus died in our place, while we did not deserve it, and we have accepted His payment on our behalf.

:6 to a different gospel,

These Judaizers were preaching another message than what Paul preached.

Paul wrote to the Corinthians and warned them about people who preach about another “Jesus”.

(2 Cor 11:4 NKJV)  For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted; you may well put up with it!

Groups may use the same words and talk about Jesus, but their “Jesus” is not the Jesus of the Bible.

For example:

“Mormon Jesus” - One of many “gods”, was the half-brother to Lucifer.
“Jehovah’s Witness’ Jesus” - used to be Michael the Archangel, a created being.
“Eastern Religion Jesus” - one of many enlightened ones who show us how to reach peace within ourselves, others include Krishna, Buddha, Maharishi’s, etc.
The “DaVinci Code Jesus” – who married Mary Magdalene and had kids.

:7 which is not another;

The word translated “another” in verse 6 (heteros)is not the same word translated “another” in verse 7 (allos).

The bottom line is that Paul is saying in verse 6, that these guys are preaching a completely different gospel, but in verse 7 he's saying that it's not another of the same kind, it’s just completely different.  It’s not good news but bad news.


Not all churches are the same

Some folks say that it doesn’t matter which church you go to as long as you go to church.
But not all “Christian” churches are Christian at all.  You need to find out which “Jesus” and which “gospel” they teach.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that everyone outside of Calvary Chapel is a cult.  There are many great, wonderful churches.  But there are also wolves in sheep’s clothing as well.

:7 but there are some who trouble you

troubletarasso – to agitate, to cause one inward commotion, take away his calmness of mind; to render anxious or distressed

These Judaizers had moved in on the Galatian churches, and where there had been peace of mind in these believers, there were now all kinds of doubts and anxieties.


Difference between grace and legalism: Anxiety

When our relationship with God is totally dependant upon God’s work for us, then there can be peace.
When our relationship with God is dependant upon our keeping of some code or law, then we’re constantly having to be on guard, and worried about falling short.
If you have anxiety over whether you’re right with God or not, maybe you’ve strayed into legalism.

From Why Grace Changes Everything, Chuck Smith, page 40:

“I have discovered that the lack of God's blessings on my life has nothing to do with my outward performance, but rather stems from my lack of faith in God's grace. I have learned that God's blessing is unconditional. The more I see His blessing in my life, the more I realize how totally undeserving I am. Because of this truth, I can have glorious peace. I have no need to worry.
“If we are trusting in our righteousness as the basis for our relationship with God, we will never experience consistent peace. Trying to relate to God on the basis of effort and works is always a struggle, always a strain, always pressured. If we are ever to come to know the peace of God, we must realize that this amazing grace of God first flows toward us even though we're rotten and undeserving of it.
“Then, after accepting this glorious grace of God, the peace of God fills our hearts and lives. We know that He loves us - even though we are far from perfect, even though we have failed. Even when it seems as if nobody else loves us (and we don't blame them, because we don't even love ourselves), still God loves us.”

:7 and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.

pervertmetastrepho – to turn around

How was the gospel turned around?

Instead of the gospel being all about what God has done for us, it becomes all about what we must do for God.

:8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you,

we – Paul does not put himself above scrutiny.  If he, Paul, should change his message, then he’s off base.

We need to be diligent to test all things, search the Scriptures, like the Bereans:

(Acts 17:11 NKJV)  These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

angel – More than one cult has been started by someone claiming to have new revelation from “an angel”.

:8 let him be accursed.

accursedanathema – something doomed to destruction without any hope of salvation.


Charles Edward Pugh exclaimed before his death, "The Christian way is horse sense. It is sanity. And anyone who thinks otherwise is a damned fool, and I am not swearing when I say that."


God is serious about those who pervert the gospel

On a cold winter day in 1986, Diane Elsroth entered a store in Bronxville, New York looking for something to relieve her pain. She bought a bottle of medicine, not knowing that someone had opened the bottle's tamper-resistant wrapping, tainted the capsules with cyanide, and returned them to the store's shelf. Within a short time after Elsroth left the store, the cyanide-laced capsules killed her.
Like a medicine mixed with cyanide, a perverted gospel has the power to kill rather than make whole. Someone swallows it expecting some relief and they end up dead.

:9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

Paul repeats himself.

Do you think that Paul is very serious about this?

Do you think we ought to be serious about this as well?


Homework:  Read the book of Galatians in a single sitting.