The Galatian people were being subverted by Jewish Christians. They pushed for Christ Plus Judaism–variance in the Gospel. Many Jewish Christians of the time were displeased that the Gospel spread to the Gentiles. There was a council called in Jerusalem and the leadership (Which included Peter, James, and John as well as Paul and others) agreed after much prayer and discussion, that the Gentile Christians were only responsible to accept Christ and follow Him. They were not subject to Jewish circumcision or dietary laws. In addition, there were groups called Gnostics that believed that one should have Christ + knowledge to be saved. So, Paul again had to address the idea that Christ+ anything (including Knowledge) was not true salvation.
So as Paul returned to the mission field, he was being followed and criticized by these Jewish Christians. They claimed that for the Gentile Christians to be truly saved, they had to follow Jewish tradition, dietary and circumcision law. So Paul was being discredited as an apostle and as a teacher. In the process, people were being drawn away from following Christ and causing division. So, Paul was calling those teachers out as frauds and telling the church that the gospel remained simply to know Christ and to follow him. It required nothing extra. It was bad enough that they were undermining Paul’s ministry, but, they were also teaching doctrines that simply did not line up with the truth.
Then and now, our salvation comes from accepting Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives–nothing more. There is no dress code, dietary law, traditional holiday to follow–we simply need to trust God and follow Christ. Amazingly, that looks different to different people. The bottom line as Paul spoke it so clearly was that Christ + anything is not the true gospel. If we begin to make Christianity a rules-based religion, we lose the very essence of grace and freedom. We have to trust Christ, follow Him closely and honor His will on our amazing journey.
God Bless You
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— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently, some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!
10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Paul Called by God
11 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin.12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.
13 For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. 17 I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus.
18 Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas[b] and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother. 20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie.
21 Then I went to Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they praised God because of me.