Let’s face it, the gospel we preach is hard for many people to swallow. And because of that, sometimes Christians try to dilute it or sugar-coat it in order to make it more palatable for people to accept.
“Oh yes, Jesus said he was the only way, but he didn’t really mean that. There are many other godly people in this world and God will surely accept them even if they never put their faith in Jesus.”
“Jesus doesn’t ever want you to suffer under any circumstances. It’s his will that you live the good life, and to be healthy and prosperous here on earth.”
“Yes, I know that the Bible says this is sin. But really, it was just laws for that time. We are no longer under those laws. The important thing is that we love and accept people for who they are.” (I am not saying here that we are saved by keeping rules, which is the main thing that Paul speaks against in Galatians. I’m speaking against the opposite error of saying that we are free to live what God calls a willfully sinful life and still call ourselves Christians.)
For the Galatians, it was the grace of God that was diluted. No longer were people saved by God’s grace alone. Instead the gospel was diluted with the idea that you had to keep the laws Moses gave the people in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
Why did some Jews try to dilute the gospel? Probably because they were too worried about what the non-Christian Jews would think. They were worried that if they preached the grace of God alone for salvation, that they would no longer be seen as good Jews. That they would be rejected by their family and friends. And so they adopted this gospel that they hoped would be more acceptable to them.
Many people today do the same. In order to make the gospel more “acceptable” to those around them, they dilute the gospel message.
But Paul says in this verse,
Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
In short, he’s saying, “When I preach the gospel, I’m not concerned about people’s approval of the message. I’m not trying to please them. Rather, I am trying to please God.”
And because of that Paul fought to preserve the utter simplicity and purity of the gospel, even going so far as to oppose Peter to his face when necessary (2:11-14)
How about you? Are you diluting the gospel message to make it more acceptable to people? Or are you telling people like it is? As long as we are worried about what people think of us, we cannot please God. And we certainly can’t please God by sharing with people a diluted gospel.
What kind of gospel are you sharing with those around you?