If someone came to your door with Bible in hand, talking about Jesus, but shared a different gospel, would you recognize it? What if the pastor at your church introduced one? Would you know the difference?
Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, (1 Corinthians 15:1-4 NASB)
The Apostle Paul said clearly that the gospel which saves and is of first importance is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is the gospel he received and therefore presented to others. It was through their acceptance of that very same gospel that the churches in Galatia were birthed. Yet within a few years, Paul wrote with intense concern that they were now paying attention to a DIFFERENT gospel. Had they completely abandoned Christ? No, for he clarifies his statement that it’s “really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.” (Galatians 1:6-7 NASB)
According to Paul a distorted version is as good as saying it’s a different gospel.
Christians can agree to disagree on a lot of things within the faith, but this was not about peripheral beliefs and opinions, this was about the core message on how to be saved. When false brethren claimed one must be circumcised in order to be saved (Acts 15:1-2), they were not teaching anyone to denounce faith in Christ. Rather it was a “Jesus plus” message. And what does Paul, a foundation apostle, call such an addition? He calls it a DIFFERENT gospel.
To claim someone can not be saved unless they add to the core belief of Christ crucified for our sins is a DIFFERENT gospel. Yes, DIFFERENT.
I invite Christians and Jehovah’s Witnesses alike to study the book of Galatians and be refreshed by it’s message of God’s grace in contrast to the distorted gospel that had begun to infiltrate the churches in Galatia. I’m confident that the Spirit inspired words of the Apostle Paul will challenge anyone who’s been misled by a distorted version of the good news. If you’d like to grow in understanding of this letter and be better prepared and equipped to quickly discern when someone presents to you a different gospel, we’re offering a “Free Home Bible Study” guide in the book of Galatians available to download here! Use it for self study, share it with an ex-Jehovah’s Witness still struggling with the concept of grace, or introduce it to your small group at church. Please be patient as we are currently “under construction” but you can see what we’ve got so far at this link! https://www.4witness.org/galatians-101-bible-study/
Keep yourself in God’s love,