“(Now in what I am writing to you, I assure you before God that I am not lying.)” (Gal. 1:20)
Our first thought might be, why is Paul making this statement to churches who know him well enough to be convinced of his truthfulness. This is a solemn oath. Paul is not big on oaths but he seems to feel it is necessary in this case. It shows that he is very concerned about the drifting faith of the Galatian Christians. If we were writing this we would probably use an exclamation mark for emphasis. That’s what the oath does. Oaths were not lightly taken in Biblical times and Paul is making a major point about the issue at hand.
Paul will talk about liars in other places but he wants it perfectly clear that he is not misrepresenting the truth about the gospel he has preached. He wants it known that it is not a human revealed gospel but a heavenly one. Not only is this a heavenly revealed gospel it is the only gospel. There is no other and if the Galatians are believing another one then it is from men and not from God. Any gospel that differs from what Paul has taught them is to be disregarded as a gospel and considered damning.
Not only is the false-taught gospel to be abandoned to a dark place but so is the person teaching it. We don’t know who this was but we know that Paul is challenging that person to tell the truth or be accursed.
Paul is not a liar and the gospel he teaches is the truth from God. Today, hundreds of years later, people are still thinking that the gospel is for salvation only and not about the reign of Christ in the saved’s life. Paul persecuted the body of Christ and once turned from that he strived to protect the church. Paramount to the life of the church is the understanding that Jesus reigns over the kingdom of God. Paul insists that Jesus is not only the Son but also the Christ. He is the promised king and to be saved by the gospel is to become a part of the kingdom.
It is sad in a way that people could be so persuaded to disbelieve not only the teaching of an apostle but the apostle himself. What is sadder is that people still do it. They listen to preachers and TV evangelist and give them more credit than they do the Word. If that is not so, how do we explain such divergent views of scripture as we have in the Christian world? Why so many gospels? Why so much discussion of which denomination is the body of Christ. If there aren’t different teachings today then why a church building on so many corners? Where is the oneness taught in the scriptures? Is the New Testament a matter of personal opinion, of personal interpretation? Is Paul wrong in the first Corinthian letter when he decries the I’m of Paul and I’m of Peter philosophy?
If the writers of the New Testament don’t lie and we find teaching today that contradicts what they teach, then who is lying?
Task for Today: I realize that I mention this a lot but it really is important. Quit following the teaching of men hook, line, and sinker. Truth is not in men but in the word of God. Study for yourself. Compare what you are being told by men with what the Bible teaches. Know the truth and know that the only truth is from God and not from the teaching of men. Does that include this set of comments? Absolutely.