I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you,let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
There are only two religions in the world: God’s religion, and man’s religion. God has revealed himself, the truth about our origin and the world’s beginning, the sad story of man’s fall, and the glorious story of God’s redemption through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ death, resurrection, ascension to the right hand of the Father, and the hope of his glorious return are at the center of the gospel that Paul preached. Through Jesus Christ we have life and salvation.
Through faith in Jesus Christ, trusting in his atoning death and repenting from our sins, we are saved. Anything that would undercut that truth is opposed to God’s religion. Any way that we would add to God’s religion makes it man’s religion. Mans’ religion will never save us; only Jesus can do that. For that reason, Paul calls the Galatian Christians back to the gospel they had forsaken, and anathematizes those who would teach something other than God’s religion.
When we lived in Utah, we encountered a different gospel, contrary to that which centered in Jesus Christ. Despite their insistence that the name of Jesus is part of their church name, the Mormons actually center their faith in a man, Joseph Smith. Through an angel, Joseph is reportedly to have heard a new revelation that would establish the church anew. Such a preacher is to be accursed.
There are plenty of ways in which the church today is corrupted, ineffectual, erring, and in need of reform. There are plenty of preachers who don’t get it right when it comes to the finer points of the faith. But those who center their faith and teaching in Jesus Christ, and return to that center again and again, offer the true gospel that is our only hope. We don’t need new revelations or additional rituals. We need a Savior. Thank God we have one. His name is Jesus, and he has saved us from eternal anathema. I don’t want to forsake that Good News!