I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in 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. Galatians 1:6-7 (NIV).
In this verse, and again in 2 Corinthians 11, Paul strongly admonishes his friends that listening to any gospel other than the good news of Jesus Christ is listening to no good news at all. What’s more, any good news not about the gospel of Christ isn’t about Jesus. Translation: it’s paganism. It’s sin. In a word, it’s perverted.
Pervert (or perversion): that’s a particularly dirty, nasty word in our culture. It brings to mind thoughts about dirty people saying and doing really dirty things, usually of a sexual nature. My dictionary says that, to pervert something, is to turn away from what is right and good. I think that’s the definition Paul was most closely alluding to. But let’s go with the fact that this same dictionary also attaches the former definition (and connotations about it) to a person called “pervert.”
If you think about what Paul’s saying in that light, then what people do when they turn away from the good news of Jesus Christ is pretty sickening. THAT is something I believe Paul would agree with.
He was astonished that the people he thought he knew well were quickly turning away from the good news of Jesus’ divine salvation for something that was contrary to divine salvation. To be honest, I’m astonished that Paul would be astonished. Perhaps he was using word-play for effect in the letter; that’s quite possible, even likely. Otherwise, I’d question how much Paul understood our fallen nature.
Our fallen nature, as sinful people, constantly urges us to do anything but what God wants. To turn away from Jesus whenever we can. To seek perversion wherever we can find it; to glory and revel in it. Our present age is constantly evil specifically because of that: because we so eagerly turn away from Christ. If we didn’t, the evil would be neither constant nor present. If we simply clung to Christ in all we said and did, the fallen world would slough off us like water off a duck.
Instead, we’re thick with perversion, with turning away. We desperately need salvation because, otherwise, we’re damned. We desperately need Jesus to build a bridge for us to stand before God and not be destroyed. We desperately need His blood to wash us clean from our particularly dirty perversions.
For further reading: Jeremiah 23:16 & 36, Acts 15:24, Romans 8:28, 2 Corinthians 11:4, Galatians 1:8
Lord Jesus, I’m filthy with sin. I’ve turned to things and words other than You and I’m filthy because of it. Cleanse me. Save me for only You can.
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