«But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ» (Galatians 1:11, 12),
PAUL IS GOING to defend the gospel, the only true gospel, comparing it to what the Galatians were trying to incorporate as another gospel. Let us look at the characteristics of the one and the other.
Characteristics of the false gospel:
It considers the death of Christ as being worthless (Gal. 2:21).
People must obey the law to be saved (3:12).
God’s grace is earned by practicing certain rituals (4:10).
It relies on obedience to laws to maintain a good relationship with God (5:4).
Characteristics of the true gospel:
It teaches that God is the Source of the gospel (1:10, I l).
We attain life through Christ’s death so that we may die to sin and live for the Lord (2:20).
Believers receive the Holy Spirit through faith (3:14).
The only way to salvation is by the grace of Christ received by faith. We cannot be saved by obedience to laws (3:21, 22).
Believers are one in Christ, without discrimination (3:26—28).
We are freed from sin through the work of the Holy Spirit (5:24, 25).
The Protestant Reformation elevated the true gospel. Swiss historian Dr. J. H. Merle d’Aubigné, often quoted in The Great Controversy, wrote: «Early Christianity and the Reformation constitute one and the same revolution, produced at different times and under different circumstances.»
The five great pillars of the Reformation gave prominence to the one and only true gospel:
Sola Scriptura: The Holy Scriptures, inspired by God, are the one, unique, and sufficient authority in all matters of faith and practice.
Sola Gratia: Salvation is entirely by grace.
Solo Christus: A single Mediator between God and men.
Sola Fide: Justification by faith alone is the central truth of Christianity and the true test of the gospel.
Soli Deo Gloria: To God be the glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever (Eph. 1:6; 3:21).
The road to heaven passes not over a toll bridge, but over a free bridge, namely the undeserved grace of God in Christ Jesus. «Grace finds us as beggars, but it leaves us as debtors» (Augustus Toplady).