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. --Galatians 1:8
The Galatians were plagued by enemies of the Gospel who were trying to teach an elitism based upon keeping the law and ceremonies of the nation of Israel. Paul prescribed what to modern elitist ears must seem a strange remedy: the exercise of private judgment.
Ordinary Christian people were called to exercise private judgment over whether or not an Apostle, an Angel from heaven, or even Paul himself was truly preaching the Gospel.
How could they do that? It makes sense only by one consideration. They were to judge by an infallible standard which they already possessed: the Gospel that they had already heard. This shows that the Gospel was not Paul's idea, but he was simply a messenger from God to them. The Gospel that Paul had preached to them, was the very one that he was to be judged by, the one testified to by the Old Testament Scriptures and which had been preached to them.
What significance these words have! Since that first Gospel was preached, and the Scripture was complete, there is no other standard by which to judge a message that purports to be from heaven. We are not to take an angel's word; we are not to take a man's word, no matter how lofty his office or how dignified his title; Paul said that we should not even take the great apostle's word for it. The only standard is the gospel that was already preached.
How could the Galatians have obeyed Paul's word here, if they did not have an infallible rule by which to measure? That measure would be the Scriptures of the Old Testament, the New Testament books that had already been written, including Paul's, which was what Paul had preached to them. The message must measure up to these standards; and even angels must conform to them. God does not play guessing games with us: we know exactly what we are to believe and what we are to do.
Hallelujah!! We do not have to wander [or wonder!] in the dark. Return to menu