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 alraedy 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.
I've just started memorizing this section (again), and it's not coming back as easily as the first five verses. I actually must be intentional about memorizing it, which is probably better anyway. Here are a few thoughts that strike me about this passage.
1) I am ASTONISHED...I want to be in the place where Paul is - so in love with Jesus and following hard after his teachings that it would astonish him that someone was distracted by a different gospel. Personally, I get distracted all the time, so it's not really astonishing to me to think about it happening to others. But Paul can't even imagine why someone would desert Christ because he is walking so closely with him - and may I go so far as to say, experiencing the abundant life that Christ had for him. I need to get to that place.
2) Okay, it might be just me, but I'm thinking Paul was serious in his admonition to pay attention to the gospel being preached. Eternal condemnation doesn't sound fun to me. Of course, in this text he warns the Galatians to beware of those "throwing them into confusion" but I like that he then switches focus momentarily to warn those who are doing the throwing into confusion. In the same way, we need to test the preaching that we hear against the Word, AND we need to be careful about the gospel we spread as well.
3) The last verse in this section is one I think of often. It's easy for me to get caught up in focusing on the approval of man...and it's definitely something I crave. But it's not eternally significant, and that's the type of impact I want to make. I can't please man and be a servant of Christ at the same time. Sure, sometimes it coincides, but pleasing man should be a pleasant by-product, not my focus.
Anyone have any thoughts on this passage they want to share?