Though We or an Angel
The sage said, "Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar." (Pro 30:5,6).
Here is something often heard from pulpits; "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed." (Gal 1:8 KJV)
When the minister makes this statement, it may be that He himself is not preaching the same gospel the apostles preached. Anytime we add to or take something away from the simple gospel of faith in Jesus Christ, we have in fact preached a distorted gospel. Sorry to say it --- Been there. Done that. Not anymore.
Let's see what the apostles actually preached.
This is Bible Study DU001 - Though We or An Angel.
Let me begin by sharing a couple of Scriptures that really helped my wife to come to a true knowledge of the gospel message. One was the Galatian warning, which states, "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed." (NASB)
Paul is directing attention to what the apostles preached. The other Scripture the Lord placed in my wife's heart is Romans 10:8-10; "But what does it say? 'The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart' -- that is, the word of faith which we are preaching."
Did you catch it? There is no more clearer statement in the Bible about what the apostles actually preached than what the apostle is setting forth here. What then is salvation? Follow closely:
--- "That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."
True gospel salvation is based upon the message of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Salvation completes itself when we are personally able to confess the Lordship of Jesus in our own life. Any gospel that does not agree with this preaching of believing and confessing Jesus Christ is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is most certainly not the gospel that the apostles preached.
Let's hear it in another setting. Paul said, "Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain."
The apostle then outlines what a person is to believe --- "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised the third day according to the Scriptures..." (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
This is the message we are to believe. Paul then says, "Whether then it was I or they, so we preached and so you believed." (V11)
Yes, all the apostles preached the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, and that by faith in Christ as the risen Savior, is what salvation truly is. In fact the only witness a person needs to know that they are saved, is if they truly believe in Jesus Christ. Faith in Jesus Christ itself is the testimony of salvation.
This is where many people misunderstand the power of the gospel message. The message of the cross carries in it the inherent power that accomplishes the work of salvation. The moment a person truly believes, the Holy Spirit places a seal upon the heart of the believing one. Until we truly believe, there is no seal to be had. The apostle said, "The Spirit Himself testifies [bears witness] with our spirit that we are children of God." (Rom 8:16)
Back to the 'though we or an angel.' --- How can anyone miss the gospel message when it is laid out so plainly in Scripture? Don't find it strange. Satan's greatest deterrent to the salvation of humankind has been to distort the gospel. He does it by wrapping it up in religious jargon. He does it by introducing a mixture of strange teachings. He does it by creating strange gospels.
Satan knows that the simple gospel of Jesus Christ is the one thing people need to hear in order to be saved. He knows that the only thing a person has to do to be saved is to call upon the name of the Lord. This call is an appeal to the Lordship of Jesus. Satan cannot afford to have anyone make that appeal.
The gospel message is simple --- No person can be saved by their own efforts, or their own goodness, or by religious experiences. We are saved one way alone. By faith in the work of the cross and in the Lordship of Jesus Christ. This is why the writer of Hebrews said, "Do not be carried away by strange teachings." (Heb 13:9)
A strange teaching is any teaching that does not agree with the gospel of simple faith in Jesus Christ. Did not the apostle say, "We are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming"? (Eph 4:14)
Paul is using a picture of a foamy sea, combined with twisting winds, to make his point. His point here is that immature believers, who are not anchored in the true gospel of Jesus Christ, are easily caught up in the swirl of false teachings. Some people simply live from emotional push to emotional push.
The battle over false gospels has always been a major battle zone for the church. People who have yet to discover the wonder of the true gospel are continually seeking the next experience that will truly set them free. They do not realize that the peace of the cross only comes through the message of the cross.
So, with every untrue gospel comes the spirit of striving. You often hear about the next revival, or the next move. Ever stop to think what all these terms mean? They are saying that no believer can stop and rest. We must strive! Strive! Strive! Next thing you know, you have believers confused, tired and a little more than upset.
The apostles never taught a striving after the next move. They preached our fulfillment in Christ Himself. Paul said, "Christ in you the hope of glory."
What did Jesus say? "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." (Matt 11:28)
Did not John say, "For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace"? (John 1:16)
Paul said, "But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ." (2Co 11:3)
James said, "But the wisdom (fruit of the gospel) from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy." (James 3:17)
So what did the apostles preach? They preached the message of the cross. Sure there are deeper teachings about the cross, but the simple truth remains the same. Paul said it well; "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." (Acts 16:31)
"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission."
This study was originally shared on September 16, 2005. It was written by Pastor Buddy Martin, a former United Pentecostal Church minister, who founded and pastors Christian Challenge International. Writings are the copyright of Buddy Martin and reprinted on this site by permission.
Page added September 16, 2005
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