Which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. (Galatians 1:7)
Paul planted several churches in the Roman province of Galatia on his first few missionary tours. Paul wrote to the Galatian Christians because he was concerned that they had embraced a false message, a different gospel.
Galatians 1:7 reveals three things about this different gospel. First, it was an illegitimate gospel (not another true message). Second, it was not good at all but trouble. Third, it was a distortion or perversion of the true gospel.
Paul recognized this different gospel was not really another gospel at all. Those who promoted this different gospel perhaps said, “We know our message is different than Paul’s message. He has his truth, and we have ours. He has his gospel, and we have ours.” Paul rejected the idea that their message was a legitimate alternative gospel in any way.
The word gospel literally means “good news.” Paul meant, “There is no ‘good news’ in this message. It is only bad news, so it really isn’t a ‘different good news.’ It is bad news. This is not another gospel at all.”
Those who brought this other gospel to the Galatians brought them trouble. They didn’t advertise their message as trouble, but that is what it was. False gospels don’t just happen. People bring them, and the people who bring them may be sincere and have a lot of charisma.
The message of these false teachers was to pervert the gospel of Christ. It was a distortion of the true gospel of Jesus Christ. It didn’t start from nothing and make up a new name for God and pretending to have a new Savior. It used the names and ideas familiar to the Galatian Christians, but it slightly twisted the ideas to make the message all the more deceptive.
Paul plainly wrote that these people want to distort the good news of Jesus. It is sometimes hard for us to understand why someone would want to pervert the gospel of Christ.
When we understand how offensive the true gospel is to human nature, we better understand why someone would want to pervert it.
– The gospel offends our pride. It tells us we need a savior, and that we cannot save ourselves. It gives no credit to us at all for our salvation; it is all the work of Jesus for us.
– The gospel offends our wisdom. It saves us by something many consider foolish – God becoming man and dying a humiliating, disgraceful death on our behalf.
– The gospel offends our knowledge. It tells us to believe something which goes against scientific knowledge and personal experience – that a dead man, Jesus Christ, rose from the dead in a glorious new body that would never die again.
The good news of Jesus Christ isn’t ours to edit, twist, or transform. That message is ours to believe and proclaim in all its life-changing power.