When the apostle Paul addressed the churches in Galatia, he chided them for accepting a perversion of the gospel. “I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” (Galatians 1:6-7) The word pervert (meta, exchange, transfer, strepho, convert, turn) means to transform into something of an opposite character. The Galatians were accepting not just another version of the same gospel, but a gospel of a different kind, a message owing no allegiance to Christ. This the most disastrous attack on the truth: not outside opposition, but the perversion of truth by those feigning to represent it.
Because of this perversion, Paul announced the anathema of heaven upon any one who would dare to preach any other message than that delivered by the apostles. (Galatians 1:8-9; 2 Corinthians 5:20) The gospel thusly delivered originated with God and was inspired by the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 1:10ff, 1 Corinthians 2:2-13)
The particular perversion under consideration was an amalgamation of the law of Moses with the gospel of Christ, whereby it was taught that the Gentiles must be circumcised and keep the law of Moses to enjoy the grace God in Christ. (see Acts 15:1,24) Paul resisted all such teaching and practice. (Galatians 2:3-5) In chapter 2 of Galatians, he relates two occasions when he opposed such error, and concludes that “by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified,” reasoning that if one could so be saved, then Christ died in vain. In chapter 3, he relates the historical enactment of the law, showing that it served as a tutor until the faith of Christ came. In chapter 4, he presents an allegory, proving that the old law cannot be in force at the same time as the new, and that physical Israel cannot be counted as the people of God with the church. In chapter 5, he boldly concludes: “Christ is become of no effect upon you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” All of this the Galatians should have known, but inasmuch as they were turned from the simplicity of the truth, he was afraid that perhaps he had labored among them in vain. As he chides them again (chapter 4), he asks, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” (Galatians 4:16)
Paul preached the truth, but he was often rejected. It is certainly tragic that men will count as an enemy one who labors for their soul. Actually, one is an enemy who will sanction sin and disobedience for friendship and gain. A man who will allow a soul to die unprepared, without issuing a cry of warning, is not a friend.
Others have been rejected who were truly friends.
Why will men reject the only thing that will save their soul, and count as an enemy the one who loves their soul? No greater friend has the world than Jesus (John 15:13) … He was crucified. Stephen preached the truth to the Jews … they stoned him to death. James labored in behalf of souls … he was beheaded wit the sword. Paul, and many others, were persecuted, imprisoned, and maligned for their labor of love. Even today, true preachers of the gospel are hated by those who would compromise the truth. Is such an one your enemy?
Do you hate the truth?
Is one your enemy (from the word “hate”) who tells you the truth? Truth is that which corrects all error, and as we are guilty, it cuts and convicts. (Hebrews 4:12)
Tell the sensualist to leave his sins. Warn him that the friendship of the world is enmity with God, that all adultery and lasciviousness must cease in order to please God. (James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-16) Warn the wicked that God will not be mocked, but what a man sows he will reap. (Galatians 6:7-8); 5:19ff.) The grace of God that brings salvation teaches us to leave all ungodliness and worldly lusts, to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this world. (Titus 2:11-12) Tell the sensualists to leave sin … and many will count you an enemy.
Tell the moralist to obey. Point out to the man of good character that morality alone will not save, but that all men need Christ. Christ is the author of eternal salvation unto all who obey Him. (Hebrews 5:8-9) If, one the other hand, a man fails to obey His gospel, he will reap the vengeance of God. (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9) The only way that we can know that we know God is in the keeping of His word. (1 John 2:3-5) Tell moralists that good conduct cannot save without obedience to Christ … and many will become angry and count you as an enemy.
Tell the denominationalist that division is condemned. Jesus prayed that there be no divisions. (John 17:20-21) Show in the Bible that the Lord adds the saved to the one church of which He is the Saviour. (Acts 2:47; Ephesians 1:22-23, 4:4, 5:23) When division and strife arose in the church, those involved sinned. (1 Corinthians 1:10, 3:3, Romans 8:6,7) Tell the denominationalists (the very word admitting of divisions) that division is condemned … and many will count you their enemy, for they love their sect more than unity.