What astonishes you? What catches you off-guard? One Sunday we were attending church when I looked up and saw two of our dearest friends standing there. Without warning, they stopped in on their way to Orlando for a surprise visit. I was astonished, and in a good way. But not all surprises are good. You can be astonished by something bad. And that’s exactly where we find Paul with the Galatians. He was astonished at them. He expected better of them. They not only are letting down Paul, but letting down the one who died for them.
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.
Astonished at Another Gospel!
And what was it that surprised Paul? That the Galatians were so quickly deserting Jesus. They weren’t abandoning a religion. They weren’t leaving a club. They weren’t turning in their philosophy membership card. They weren’t transferring from one temple for another.
No, they were betraying a person. They were in the process of being a turncoat. They were deserting God’s salvation by grace and walking back towards doing it all on their own.
And why? They were leaving the gospel for another gospel. That’s like saying we’re going to leave the truth for another truth. We’re going to move from one answer to another. We’re going to trade in one love for another.
The gospel of Jesus, his taking our place and paying for our sins on the cross, isn’t true because so many people like it. It’s not a multiple-choice test where we get to pick the answer that we like best. Circling the one that makes us feel good.
I once showed a passage out of my bible to a friend at work. To encourage the conversation, I let her take it home to read more deeply. When she returned it the next day, I saw a circle around some words with her comment written in red, “I like this!” There were also little hearts next to her comments. My heart soared.
But in the following paragraph, she circled some other words with the comment, “I don’t like this.” There were no hearts next to this comment. My heart sank.
And then I realized something, she wanted exactly what we all want. A faith that we create and control. A God who is made by us, does what we want him to do, say what we want him to say. We want nothing but comfort, plenty of money, success without hard work. We want everyone to like us, to give us exactly what we want, when we want it.