1:8-9 8But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
Twice in these two verses, Paul makes one of his most audacious statements ever. If someone from earth or heaven preaches anything different than what I preached, he is cursed.
“We.” I myself. Paul has already changed radically. He is not going to change again. This is the truth. Don’t listen to me if I ever say anything different.
Or any member of my team. Anyone on earth.
Or an angel. Obviously, not an angel from Satan’s side. That would be recognizable enough. Paul, you remember, rebuked a demon spirit that was advertising his Gospel every day through a young slave girl. And hopefully, all of us see through the Joseph Smith and Muhammad claims to have been visited by angels who gave them new revelations of truth. No, not those angels…
But Paul says, if even an angel from heaven, a “good” angel says something other than what he said about the gospel, that angel from heaven is to be cursed.
Paul was on safe ground in making such a pronouncement. He knew that no angel from the heavenly realm would pervert the Gospel.
But how to tell the perversion? How to know the difference? What exactly was the “gospel” that Paul preached to these Galatians? Do we have a record of it? Yes indeed!
We spoke in the introductory matters above about a certain missionary journey of the apostle, accompanied by Barnabas. Both had been sent out by the church in Antioch of Syria. Ironically, the first sermon recorded by Paul in Galatia, is at a church in Antioch of Pisidia, a region of Galatia (Acts 13).
Galatians, remember my message to you when I was there? This is the Gospel! No one is to add to or subtract from it.
You will note, as we walk through the Antioch message, that it sounds a lot like Peter’s first sermon:
Quotes from Psalms and prophets.
The death and resurrection of Jesus, pointing to David’s words about it.
The offer of forgiveness.
Let’s look a little more closely at Paul’s Antioch, i.e., Galatian Gospel. Here’s an outline of the message in Acts 13:
16-22. Jewish history from Egypt to King David.
23-25. Jesus, from David, comes and is announced by John the Baptist.
26-29. The guilt of the Jews in condemning Jesus to death. Bad news before good news!
30-33. God raises Jesus from the dead, fulfilling God’s promise.
34-37. Proof of the resurrection, using David and his words.
38-39. The announcement of forgiveness of sins, attainable to anyone who believes. The Law is excluded from the plan of salvation.
40-41. Exhortation and warning.
Notice in verse 26 of that narration, Paul is addressing not only “sons of Abraham’s family”, the Jews, but also “those among you who fear God,” proselytes and interested persons who were considering the Jewish faith. Gentiles.
This was Paul’s Gospel. Bad news about their sins. Good news about a Savior who died, was buried, and rose again. Encouragement to believe God and be saved.