“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)
To ensure that the Galatian churches clearly understood his message, the Apostle Paul emphasized an important point: those who brought an alternative means of salvation were doing no such thing. It was not as if their message represented a variation of Paul’s teaching- their alternative did not originate with God at all.
Instead of edifying these regional churches and working to facilitate their spiritual growth, these false teachers were troubling (CSB), confusing (GW), upsetting (GNB), and even pestering (CJB) the Galatian Christians instead. From our 21st century vantage point, its easy to recognize this strategy: by working to trouble and confuse the Galatian believers, these false teachers gained a foothold to promote their alternate gospel. Our challenge is found in recognizing those who employ a similar strategy today.
One commentator underscores this point with the following observation: “Some who trouble you means that someone brought this false gospel to the Galatians. False gospels don’t just happen. People bring them, and the people who bring them may be sincere and have a lot of charisma” (1) Nevertheless, its important to understand that these tactics did not begin with the churches of first-century Galatia.
You see, the origin of this approach extends back to Genesis chapter three and the serpent’s question to Eve in the Garden of Eden: “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden… You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:1, 4-5).
A similar approach was used by those who opposed the rebuilding of Jerusalem in the Old Testament era: “Now it happened, when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being restored and the gaps were beginning to be closed, that they became very angry, and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion” (Nehemiah 4:7-8).
When faced with those who act in such a manner, it helps to remember that God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). Whenever we see such tactics employed today, we would do well to consider their source.
(1) David Guzik, Galatians 1 – Challenging a Different Gospel © Copyright – Enduring Word https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/galatians-1/