Denunciation Part 2 of 6 (Series: Lessons on Romans)
by John Lowe
into the grace of Christ
This clause can also be rendered, "into the covenant of grace which is by Christ." It is the method of salvation which is by or through “the grace of Christ.” There is no doubt that it refers to the plan of salvation which is by Christ, or in Christ; and the main idea is, that the scheme of salvation which they had embraced under his instruction, was one which considers salvation only by the grace or favor of Christ; and that from that they had been removed (or removed themselves) to another scheme, which is essentially different; a scheme where the grace of Christ was made useless and void. It is Paul's objective to show that the true plan of salvation makes Christ the great and prominent object; and that the plan which they had embraced was, in this respect, entirely different.
"The grace of Christ," is Christ's gratuitously purchased and bestowed justification, reconciliation, and eternal life. They had been ‘CALLED’ “into the grace of Christ.” They probably were not looking for Christ when God called them: they did not find Him in the Old Testament scriptures or in the traditions and ceremonies of the synagogue: they found Him in the gospel which had been preached to them; it was the most glorious discovery of divine grace and mercy in Christ Jesus; so they had been called to partake of the greatest blessings and benefits, such as justification, and reconciliation with God here, and eternal life and happiness hereafter. Our Lord Jesus has purchased these for us at the expense of his precious blood, and freely bestows them upon all who sincerely accept Him: and therefore, it is hard to understand how they could set aside the great privileges they enjoyed, in favor of a system God had abandoned. God called the Galatians to salvation which was: (1) purchased at Calvary; (2) offered in and by grace; and (3) to be accepted by faith. All that God requires of man, He has already provided by grace in Christ.
There is a test for the Gospel is grace. If the message excludes grace, or mingles law with grace as the means of either of justification or sanctification (Gal 2:21; Gal 3:1-3) or denies the fact or guilt of sin which alone gives grace its occasion and opportunity, it is "another" gospel, and the preacher of it is under the anathema of God (Gal 1:8, 9).
unto another gospel:
There are two Greek words which mean another. One (Gr allos) means another of the same kind; and the other (Gr heteros) means another of a different kind. Here the meaning is that there is no other gospel, although the legalists had brought them a different kind of teaching, which they claimed to be the gospel. There is an essential difference between the true gospel and a man-made, counterfeit gospel For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him (2 Cor 11:4 (KJV) Gal 1:6 shows that the Judaizers perverted the gospel to the extent that it was really another gospel. Therefore, Paul tells the Galatians, “There would be an excuse for your conduct, though a bad one (for ye ought to give heed to no Gospel other than what ye have already heard from me, Ga 1:6, 7); but the false teachers do not even pretend they have "another Jesus" and a "different Gospel" to bring before you; they merely try to supplant me, your accredited Teacher. Yet ye not only "bear with" them, but prefer them.”. There is only one gospel concerning the Son of God who became a man in order to become the propitiation (an appeasement) for the sins of the whole world And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. (1 John 2:2 (NKJV). Christ is the propitiation, the mercy seat, the meeting place between God and man. Propitiation means “atonement.” It means that sins have been paid for by the suffering of another. Christ is my Advocate, interceding for me, and He Himself is the propitiation. Christ’s finished work at Calvary enables God to be just and the justifier of him who believes in Christ To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. (Romans 3:26 (KJV) God has no other gospel, and He cannot and will not tolerate the perversion of His gospel.
In the very early ages of the Christian Church there were several bogus gospels in circulation, and it was the multitude of these false or inaccurate narrations that induced St. Luke to write his own Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us. (Luke 1.1 (KJV) Apparently there were a number of early attempts to record parts of Christ’s life and work, and also the beginnings of the New Testament church after His death and resurrection. These early narratives were probably written by other believers. They may have been truthful, authentic, and genuine accounts, but they were not God-breathed (II Tim 3:16), and thus passed off the scene as they were replaced by the inspired documents penned by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I have read that seventy of these false gospels (or parts of them) have been collected and published as a book: these were “another gospel” since they were not God inspired.
There are two aspects of the gospel; (1) the facts of the gospel, and (2) the interpretation of the facts. The facts of the gospel are the death, burial, and bodily resurrection of Christ. Paul said to the Corinthians, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received Paul didn’t originate the gospel; he received it, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3–4)]. These are the historical facts of the gospel which cannot be changed. You have never preached the gospel unless you have stated these facts. The second aspect of the gospel is the interpretation of the facts. They are to be received by faith plus nothing.
The subject of Paul’s letter to the Galatian believers concerns the interpretation of the facts of the gospel. The Judaizers had followed Paul into the Galatian country. They did not challenge the facts of the gospel. After all, five hundred people at once saw the Lord Jesus after His resurrection. When you have that many people around as witnesses, you don’t run around denying the facts of the gospel. The heresy they were promoting concerned the interpretation of those facts. They were very sly and subtle and said something like this, “Did Brother Paul come here among you?” The folk would say, “Yes, he came and preached the gospel and we accepted it. We are converted. We know Christ as our Savior, and we are in the body of believers.” The Judaizers would respond, “Oh, that’s wonderful. Brother Paul is accurate as far as he goes, but he doesn’t go far enough. Did he tell you that you should keep the Mosaic Law? Oh, he didn’t? Well, he should have told you that. Yes, you are to trust Christ, but you must also follow the Mosaic Law or you won’t be saved.”
This is one of the oldest heresies known, and it is still with us today. It is adding something to the gospel of grace; it is doing something rather than simply believing something. It is faith plus something rather than faith plus nothing. Every cult and “ism” has something for you to do in order to be saved.
It is interesting that Paul said to the Philippian jailer, “… Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved …” (Acts 16:31). Simon Peter said to the Sanhedrin, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Christ told the apostles to preach the gospel of salvation by grace. They were not to do anything to gain their salvation, but they were to trust what Christ already had done for them. The gospel shuts out all works.
Now Paul is writing to the Galatian believers and saying, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel”—