Shelby G. Floyd
The members of the churches in Galatia were fickle and disloyal to the gospel of Christ by which they had been saved. They were easily led astray by “false brethren” and “false teachers.”
In this context Paul addressed them in his opening remarks: “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:6-7). It is amazing how quickly some people can change their belief. It is because many people do not have a strong conviction of their faith. The Galatians appear to be “anybody’s dog who would hunt with them!”
A Different Gospel
Paul marveled that they could so quickly desert God and him and turn to “a different gospel.” The adjective “different” is from [éτερος-heteros], and conveys the idea that they were turning to another gospel of a different kind. The gospel they have taken up with is of a different class, form, and nature. Paul further explains that this “different gospel” is “really no gospel at all,” because it is not the gospel of the same kind [αλλος-allos] that they had formerly received.
“False brethren” (Galatians 2:4) had entered the congregations and did “trouble” the members and did “pervert” the gospel of Christ. When people are “troubled,” we may be sure that there is a “trouble maker” nearby. Some preachers and teachers glory in keeping people agitated all the time. “Trouble” is from [ταρασσω-tarasso], and means figuratively to agitate, trouble and “to cause one inward commotion, take away his calmness of mind, disturb his equanimity; to disquiet, make restless, to render anxious or distressed, to perplex the mind of one by suggesting scruples or doubts.”—Thayer, page 615. Therefore this different gospel was a perverted [μεταστρεφω-metastrepho] gospel—it had been corrupted and poisoned by the “traditions” and “doctrines of men.”
Zealots for Human Traditions
Paul could identify the source because formerly he had laid siege against Christ and the church:
For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers.
Like wild and vicious animals that mauled innocent and unarmed men to death in the amphitheaters, Paul went about making havoc of the church before his conversion. (cf. Acts 8:3.)
Let all who love the Lord and his way, be satisfied with the ancient gospel without any additions and subtractions. It is the only gospel that will save.
Copyright © 2016 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved
Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142