AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH
ETERNITY HAS NO TIME FOR TIME CHANGE:
ITS GOSPEL UNALTERABLE, DELIGHTFUL, DIVINE
I. ONCE IS WONDERFUL
In how many bodies, then did Christ die ?
On how many dates did He die ?
In how many places did He die ?
In how many agonies did He
find His life sacrificed in atonement,
offered to all sinners,
in sincerity, reality and abundant pardon ?
It is one.
He came once, died once, sacrificed Himself once, rose once, paid for the Gospel once,
sent His Spirit in ONE initial scope which has continued,
speaking of ONE Saviour, ONE Lord in ONE way (John 16:13, 14:26),
so that the Gospel which
ONCE was predicted (SMR pp.
is ONCE AND FOR ALL,
perfected (Hebrews 2; 9:12,10:10-14).
But what does Galatians 1:6-12 itself say MORE THAN ONCE ?
It is in effect that the Gospel is beautiful, that its promulgation must be dutiful,
its origin is divine,
and ministers are limited to presenting what it is,
without adornment, alteration, innovation or equivocation.
2. GALATIANS REPEATS THE 'ONCE'
· Multiple Wounds, but One Site (Galatians 2-3)
· Multiple Predictions to Him, One Body (see SMR Ch. 8)
· Multiple Graces, One Face (II Corinthians 11:4,13),
· Multiplied Predictive Outputs from Him, One Precise Parallel
called history (Galatians 4:4, cf. SMR Ch. 9).
Note then that this present Age is called "evil" and it is one in which ONE, Jesus Christ, gave Himself for our sins,
in divine programmatic perfection, in holy harmony with His Father,
bringing grace and peace to His people.
That is the first declaration from Galatians, clear from the first.
is this. In view of such wonderful things declared,
Paul marvels, is amazed, staggered (1:6)
that they to whom he speaks are so facilely turning to some OTHER Gospel,
which of course is NOT another (1:7).
How is this apparent antinomy to be resolved ?
Quite simply: it is presented in pretence as a "gospel" or even "the gospel" by false prophets,
but it is NOT another gospel for one very good reason:
THERE IS ONLY ONE GOSPEL.
That is the force of his utterance, which we have brought out so that the full impact of the terms is realised.
What then is being preached ? Is it the Gospel ? Well. But if it is another 'thing' therefore, whatever that thing may be, it is NOT either THE or A Gospel! It is a FRAUD.
This then is the apostle Paul's pronouncement. He is far from finished: though the Gospel is!
He then in effect indicates that we might suppose an angel came along and said:
"See my goodness, my brightness, my angelic glory ? Now listen to me.
I have a new gospel. Isn't that great ? Remember the shepherds hearing the news ?
Well I HAVE NEW NEWS!"
In such a case, Paul indicates, not only should you not listen, not only is it thoroughly corrupt and wicked, delusive and false, but such an angel would be subject to a divine curse! He goes further.
Suppose now (1:8), virtually impossible to imagine, but just suppose that PAUL himself came with a 'new look', Paul Mark II or what you will, and here, in the midst of his apostolic ministry - try to imagine this - he stated this: HERE is the NEW GOSPEL! I PAUL, the apostle, noted for my miracles, divinely inspired dynamic and aflame with divinely enabled integrity, one like a standard and authority among you, I declare a new Gospel.
Can you imagine that ? the apostle in effect is asking ?
If that happens, then there is one thing that remains. THAT PAUL, be he apostle or whatever, he would be ACCURSED. A divine curse and not a divine blessing would rest on what had seemed apostle brows, and his brows would be battered by divine disapprobation of the utmost severity.
Let me repeat this, Paul asseverates. IF ANYONE, anyone at all preaches some other Gospel, this is what the apostle Paul declares in God's name (I Corinthians 2:9-13, 14:37), that person is accursed – any such person is accursed.
Curse not blessing, damnation not deliverance, this is the place for any such antic as preaching a false gospel, which is ANY other, since there is NO other! IF THAT is the way of the person's life, then THIS is the result. Not only would those hearing the gospel which being fraudulent, is not a Gospel at all, be gulled and so left in their cursed condition under judgment (Galatians 3:10, Romans 6:23, 5:1-12, Ephesians 4:17-19); but the very speaker would be cursed with them, misleader of the misled, fraud, guilty of fostering damnable lies (II Peter 2:1) against the grace of God and mutterings to confuse His mercy.
Such is the position of man, that UNLESS you call on the name of the Lord, this same Jesus (cf. II Corinthians 11:4ff.), there is no go; it is as if you used the wrong house key. It looks like a key, but far is this from opening the door. It is a criminal pretence or a blasphemous guile.
Christ made clear his detestation of such guile, godlessness and pretension in Luke 11:52 when He referred to the scribes who not only failed to enter the kingdom themselves, but misusing the 'key of knowledge' interfered with those who were entering in. So far from helping to obtain the remission from God, they hinder them!
This is the substance of Paul's message as we seek to translate his terms to our modern minds, so that the full impact is felt.
Let us hear Micah on just such a point:
"Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets
· Who make my people stray; Who chant "Peace"
· While they chew with their teeth,
· But who prepare war against him
· Who puts nothing into their mouths:
"Therefore you shall have night without vision,
And you shall have darkness without divination;
The sun shall go down on the prophets… ”
Yet Paul is not finished yet.
3. REASON ITSELF IS ROBUST FOR THE TRUTH
Not content with this threefold confirmation, Paul reasons with them now (Galatians 1:10).
AM I, he asks, ENGAGED in an act of persuasion of God, as if I were to have surveyed mankind, found their wants, and as an Ambassador of Humanity, stormed the gates of heaven, asking for an audience so that the claims of man might be met ?
AM I PERSUADING GOD ? he asks.
Or AM I PERSUADING MEN ? Which is it ?
Is Paul for GOD's SAKE persuading men to be reconciled to God on HIS DIVINE terms (II Corinthians 5:17ff.),
or is he for MAN's SAKE persuading God to be reconciled to man on man's human terms!
As his ministry is God-given, so the terms of reference are God-supplied, and this Gospel, the same one which has figured in the prophetic scriptures for generations (Romans 16:25, Isaiah 42,49,50-55, Jeremiah 31, Micah 5, Psalm 2,16,22,40,102,110 cf. Joyful Jottings 22-25), is no more alterable than is the changeless and glorious God! (Psalm 102:27, Heb. 1:11-12).
Thus if anyone acts as if to mutate it, to mutilate it, to transform it, that person is an enemy of God. He is like a chemist who changes the medical prescription handed to him, and puts a useless or even poisonous substance in its place. In view of the disease already racking or condemning the patient, this is an act more than merely criminal: it is merciless, arrogant, pompous, self-assured and spiritually insane (cf. Hosea 9:7, Micah 3:5-6).
Yet pause once more. Let us not daub only with negatives. If anyone insists on rejecting this Gospel, even for convenience, or its absolute claims, those of God, then is the case much better ? Without Christ deep or light in hell, does it really matter much ? It is a Gospel with GO in it, so GO to Him at first (John 10:9), and let your sins go to Him (Titus 3:3-7), your will bend to His (Luke 6:46), and His peace come to you (Philippians 4:4-6), having found the liberty of Christ, stand fast in it (Gal. 5:1,24-26).