This is going to be a kind of… random/disorganized post. I’m just going to let my thoughts run straight into my fingers on this keyboard, so bear with me. So my companion and I were walking down a street one day in the great Montanan metropolis of Hungry Horse when suddenly, a man pulls up beside us. He says something random that I can’t remember and then asks,
“What company are you with?”
“We’re LDS missionaries,” I respond after a pause, somewhat perplexed by his question. I tap the name tag on my shirt pocket.
“Oh,” he says. “I guess the shirts and… Well hey, you ever read Galatians?”
“Yeah, I have.”
“Well, you should read it again. Read it over and over again.” He smiles. “Eventually you’ll get it.”
I smile back. “Alright, sir. You have a good day.”
Well, this morning I remembered that short conversation and decided to break out Galatians again. Paul begins boldly, speaking out against those of The Church who were engaging in the perversion of the gospel.
I marvel that ye 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.
I wonder if the man we talked to was trying to perhaps… suggest something. Well, if I could talk to him again, I’d tell him that Paul was referencing an early apostasy of The Church, an embryo, if you will, of the Great Apostasy, the Dark Ages.
Paul then continues,
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
Here Paul basically says that anything other than what Christ taught is not His doctrine. It doesn’t matter if an angel came down from Heaven to preach it. If it’s not Christ’s gospel, it’s no good. The doctrines of man will not and cannot bring salvation. But here’s where it gets good, and here is where I’ll end this little rant of mine.
For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
I will echo Paul’s question. Do I seek to please men or God? I could easily preach things pleasing to man. “All you have to do is believe in Christ and you will be saved!” Easy as that, and people would give me money to do it. But no, that’s not what I do. We don’t seek to please men, but God. Work out your salvation with a steadfast faith in Christ. We are not saved in an instant, but through a lifetime of dedication to Jesus Christ and His gospel. Yes, there are things one must do along with things he or she must believe. Salvation is not cheap, and God didn’t put us on this earth to waste our inheritance on worldly junk.
Does that sound like a doctrine pleasing to man or to God? As missionaries, we sometimes tell people stuff that’s hard to take. We don’t tell them it’s easy, because that’s a lie. We don’t even tell them that all they need to do is get baptized in our church, because that is also a lie. We tell people to have faith in Jesus Christ (for only through His name can salvation be made possible) and to work. Jesus Christ filled His life with service to His Father in Heaven. As Christ’s disciples, we must do the same.
But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
As Paul, I can certify as well that the gospel which is preached of me is not after myself or mankind. It is after Jesus Christ. And just like Paul, I received it by revelation, which has not ceased, but continues today.
I’ve only read through Galatians a few times, but I think by now I get it.