Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel--which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Gal 1:3-10)There is no question that God was their spiritual Father (1:3) and that they accepted the real gospel when Paul preached it to them (1:9). That is also confirmed in Acts:
The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe. They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust (Acts 14:20-23).
Verses 8 and 9 magnify the one and only gospel to the zenith of importance by stating that even if Paul, one of God’s angels or anyone else would preach a gospel that is different than the one Paul preached, then let that person be eternally condemned. The TEV renders 1:8 as condemned to hell! The Bible teaches that one can go to hell just for preaching a false Gospel, according to these verses. Why is this true? Because such a false teaching can cause a repeat of what was happening to the Galatian Christians. The seriousness of those Galatians believing a false gospel is shown in chapter 5:
Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. (Gal 5:2-4)Regardless how the eternal security teachers would twist the plain meaning of these Scriptures and sometimes say ridiculous things like you can fall from grace and never be in grace, we have already seen positive proof Paul was writing to true Christians. The meaning of and danger behind the words you have fallen away from grace is revealed in 5:2. That is where Paul wrote, Christ will be of no value to you at all. To fall from grace means to not have value from Christ anymore. For one who is a Christian that can only mean that he doesn’t have salvation anymore, since you can’t have salvation without Christ.
Furthermore, for people to say that doctrine is not important is grossly dangerous, besides being a doctrine itself. (To them their doctrine that doctrine is not important is important.) Paul certainly believed doctrine was important, especially if it centers around the gospel.
It is amazing how the eternal security teachers distort the word of God to make it fit into their theology instead of shaping their theology around the word of God. If they shaped their theology around the Bible they would have to reject eternal security. Sadly many think that would be too high a price to pay as it would adversely affect their temporal “ministry” and reputation.
An example of distorting Scripture to fit eternal security would be how berean call Dave Hunt deals with Galatians chapter 1. Below is first a question, then Hunt’s answers:
Dear TA and Dave, I have read the book of Galatians more than once and each time it puzzles me as to whether or not Paul is telling them that they are in danger of losing their salvation by turning to another gospel. I believe there is only one true gospel that can save a person and it’s from that gospel that the Galatians are turning. However, I also believe that the Bible teaches eternal security. So I don’t believe they could become lost. Therefore, I can’t quite resolve these apparent conflicts. What do you say?
[TA]: Paul’s pretty strong in his condemnation of those who are turning to the law, turning to circumcision in Galatians and he calls that another gospel. But is he indicating that they might not, that they may be losing their faith or turning from the faith or losing their salvation?
[Dave Hunt]: It’s not a question of losing your salvation. What Paul is concerned about is, did you really understand the gospel to begin with? He says, I stand in doubt of you. He tells them ...
[TA]: Yeah but he says, doesn’t he say in chapter 3 they began with the Spirit.
[Dave Hunt]: Well, no, he’s reasoning with them there. He’s not saying that, that doesn’t have to do with their salvation right then. But that has to do with their living the Christian life. And if you got the Christian life by faith through Christ, then you can’t generate this yourself. What you began in the Spirit you can’t perfect in the flesh. I think he’s arguing that with them. He’s already said, I’m crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live yet not I but Christ is living, living in me. But he also in chapter 5, verse 4 for example, says Christ has become of no effect unto you whosoever of you are justified by the law. You are fallen from grace. Now I don’t think he means you can lose your salvation. What he’s saying is, well earlier he says, I stand in doubt of you. Are you really Christians?
Isn’t it sad that the person who asked the question actually saw its meaning in Scripture—the danger of losing salvation by turning to another gospel, but because of their erroneous belief in eternal security that person would not accept what the Bible clearly teaches. It is also unfortunate that that person asked someone like Dave Hunt, who embraces eternal security. (Please know Dave Hunt is no worse than any other eternal security teacher. They are all alike, that is, they all distort the Scripture to make it fit their security-in-sin doctrine/theology.)
Also remember that the established religious leaders in Jesus’ day were evil and wanted him dead. Should we be surprised that so many in our day, nearly 2,000 years later, are the same or close to it as far as being blind leaders?
Remember also that the above misinterpretation of Galatians 1 is just one example that is dangerously distorted and which may come from any eternal security teacher on this subject.