Galatians 1:6-7 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.
The devil’s ‘trap’ that many of the people in the Galatian churches were falling into, even in the first century, was a very subtle and dangerous one. Yes, Paul was ‘astonished’ that it was happening, but he might be less astonished if he could have foreseen the history of the Christian church for the twenty centuries that have passed since then!
Probably Satan’s most effective ploy in his determination to destroy the Church is not directly OPPOSING/DENYING the Gospel, but sneaking in a counterfeit ‘likeness’ to it that undermines it’s very essence. Paul, of course, was quite aware of his ‘schemes’, as he solemnly warned the Church in Corinth: “that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.”, and “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 2:11 & 11:14). Satan’s main strategy (and he has our deep-seated pride, which we have all inherited from Adam through the Fall, on his side), is to convince us that we CANNOT, MUST NOT, accept our salvation as a free, unmerited Gift of God’s GRACE, but we must DO something to merit it.
At Galatia, the thing to ‘do’ was to undergo the rite of circumcision; throughout church history it has been things like ‘obedience to God’s Law’, ‘acts of charity’, ‘the rite of baptism’, ‘church attendance’, ‘church membership’, etc, all of which are good things in themselves and pleasing to God, but must always be understood as ‘flowing from’ our salvation, and NOT as the means of gaining it! This wrong attitude/approach to being saved Paul called a “different” (Greek, ‘heteros’) ‘gospel’, a fact that ought to be obvious to us because how could EARNING our way to heaven by ‘good works’ ever be seen as ‘GOOD News’ when even our best efforts fall a long way SHORT of what God requires? As the prophet Isaiah noted, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;” (Isaiah 64:6). No, a DIFFERENT gospel is not a ‘Gospel’ at all.
So let us not be hoodwinked by Satan’s wicked perversions of what has been declared clearly by God: “For it is by GRACE you have been saved, through FAITH – and this not from yourselves, it is the GIFT of God – not by works, so that no-one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:8-10). Good works are the RESULT of our salvation, and can NEVER be the SOURCE or CAUSE of it!