I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one (God) 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! – Galatians 1:6-8 emphasis added
Have you ever twisted the truth (mixed a little lie in with a little truth)? I remember when I was a kid twisting the truth from time to time when my parents asked me questions. I was afraid if they found out the whole story about a particular situation I’d be punished. Like the time I cussed out one of the neighborhood kids for picking on my little brother (I used the worst of any cuss word and I was only 10). My mom asked me out right whether I had cussed at the kid. I tried twisting the truth by telling her; “yes I did cuss but I didn’t use the really bad word.”
At ten I was not only naïve but also an idiot. I never took the time to think and realize that twisting the truth just made things worse and got me into even more trouble. And I never thought the parent’s of the kid I cussed at would call my parents.
But unlike my own example; a twisting of the truth is more difficult to spot than an outright lie. During Paul’s ministry and even today there are people who are twisting the truth of the Gospel. They claim to follow Jesus but will deny what He did on the cross is sufficient for our salvation. They twist the truth by teaching a “different gospel.” They teach that to be saved believers need to follow a set of rules and/or traditions. In other words they are saying that faith is not enough. Salvation is a gift from Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9) that is available to anyone who puts their faith in Him.
Just like Paul I too am shocked. Many teens are turning or have turned away from the truth. They are listening to the wrong gospel, a twisted version of the truth and sometimes a watered down version. We need to beware of people who teach a “different gospel.” When man adds rules and requirements for salvation, they are denying the power of Christ’s death on the cross (3:1-5). God does not accept man-made rules and traditions (religion) to take the place of our faith in Jesus Christ. There is only one way – a relationship with Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Nothing should get in the way of the simple truth of the Gospel. So how can we tell when people are twisting the truth? Make sure that anyone who teaches the Bible teaches about Jesus Christ. If what they teach does not match the truth found in the Bible, then it’s twisted.
Whenever I twisted the truth with my parents it always ended up with me getting severely punished. Just thinking about it makes my butt hurt (oops, did I say butt?) But what about those who twist the truth and teach a “different gospel?” According to verses 8-9 (NLT) “let that person be cursed.” WOW, harsh words. I think I’d take a paddling any day over being “eternally condemned.” I mean not even the angels are exempt from such a punishment. Yes Paul used strong words, but we need to realize the truth of the Gospel is a matter of life and death.