It is remarkable how easily we ignore the teachings of Scripture that we find not quite to our liking. In many individual cases as hearers, we simply do not obey the plain strictures of the Word of God that are being expounded from the pulpit. In other cases, the pulpit omits or twists those Scriptures so as to deny the truths they express. It seems certain, that few major doctrines are so roundly disregarded, debauched, or denied as the biblical doctrine of separation. Upon those who would so mishandle the Word of God, Paul pronounces a stern curse.
“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from [“deserting”] him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that which ye have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:6-9). There is much meat for comment here, but we will limit ourselves to the few bites that follow.
Heterogeneous proclamations. “I thought we were just taking two separate paths to heaven,” an older acquaintance told me a number of years ago when I began to question the validity of his unscriptural belief. Paul is adamant: there may be many messages, but there is only one truth. The good news of salvation is that which is found in a faithful exposition of Scripture. Anything else Paul calls “another [Gk., heteron, “different”] gospel,” which he hastens to explain “is not another” (gospel, that is). It is “another” message, but it is devoid of good news when it presents a hope of salvation other than by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Paul says that such a message only “troubles” the hearers; it does not help them. In fact, such a message, Paul says “perverts,” or “corrupts” the truth, making it spiritually destructive.
Heavenly proclaimers. Paul writes as emphatically as possible. The accuracy of the message is of paramount importance—so much so that if even he, Paul, or those who have ministered with him, or even an angel from heaven (as if that might be possible) preached something contrary to the Word, he is not to be believed or accepted. Neither mighty heavenly sounding words as from angels or the manifestation of miraculous signs and wonders even as from angels should be permitted to convince anyone of the value of a message that is contrary to the plain teaching of Scripture. The message, not the messenger, the message, not the miracle, must take precedence. Do not follow men; do not follow miracles; follow the Word of God alone.
Hellish pronouncement. Charity does not tolerate false doctrine regarding the gospel. It must not cohabit with “damnable heresies” (II Pet. 2:1). Paul reserves the severest of pronouncements for any such purveyor of error: “let him be accursed [Gk. anathema].” “Paul,” some might ask, “did you really mean to speak so forcefully? Did you have a slip of the tongue? A momentary loss of temperance or discretion?” No! “As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”
Here is a separation—absolute and final—that must be exercised against those who preach that salvation is by any other means than that which Paul expounds in his epistle to the Romans and elsewhere. Are we called upon to pronounce a curse upon those who proclaim a false gospel? Probably not. But at the very least, we must treat such preachers of error as those accursed of God: we must denounce their error and refuse to listen to or support them in any way. For God makes abundantly clear that the way of salvation that He has provided is not to be tampered with by men. Charity does not wink at error nor embrace those who promote it; rather, it exposes and denounces it. May we, like Paul, be “separated unto the gospel of God” (Rom. 1:1).
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