When Paul wrote Galatians 1, he was frustrated that the people of the church he had left behind to carry on the ministry, were now going astray. They weren’t going astray on their own, they were being led astray by someone with intentions to do so. Paul doesn’t identify this person and perhaps doesn’t know who he is. But Paul is clear that he can tell by their actions what is happening.
You see, they were attempting to alter the gospel message to make it relevant to the current culture in their community. While you SHOULD alter the method in which you explain the gospel to make it culturally relevant, you SHOULD NEVER alter the gospel message itself. To do so, waters down the gospel message and destroys it’s intent.
The same thing goes on today in our communities. Many churches are looking at the culture of today, the political and cultural temperature of their local city, and altering their version of the gospel. Paul has some pretty strong words about people who do this.
“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you,let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed” (Gal 1:8-9)
Altering Christ’s message to attempt to be relevant in the culture means you are seeking to please the wrong audience. “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant[b] of Christ.” (Gal 1:10).
I have observed from a distance, my friends in Houston deal with this exact situation. If you’re not aware, the Mayor of Houston has gone through the legal steps to subpoena the sermons of 5 large churches in Houston, specifically regarding any teachings about homosexuality. The culture of the city is to see this as acceptable, but the gospel of Christ is to see this as sin. There are hundreds of acts that our culture sees as acceptable but Christ sees as sin. Any attempt to water ANY of them down as not being sin would be to water down the gospel message.
This Mayor (and plenty others like her) are not challenging the church in any of these other topics. Adultery is a sin yet nobody is concerned when a church says so. Using the Lord’s name in vain is a sin, again, no outrage when this message is preached. But preach about the sin of homosexuality… well… now you’ve gone too far (according to the Mayor).
We as Christians must never attempt to alter the gospel message to the culture of the day. The message is the same now as it was over 2000 years ago. Cultures have come and gone, risen and fallen, but the gospel of Christ is exactly the same.
We have ALL sinned, fallen short and are not worthy to be reunited with God. However, Christ took ALL of the sins of this world upon His shoulders, and bore the punishment of death. He then conquered that death by rising again, teaching again before ascending back into Heaven. There is NOTHING you can do to earn a relationship with God, you simply are not worthy. However, if you accept this gift of grace, that Christ has paid the price for your sins…. then you are completely pardoned of all past and future sins. You cannot earn righteousness and unity with God, but it has been given to you none the less.
Accept this free gift of grace. This is the one and only gospel message. To water it down with culturally relevant issues is to ignore the price that Christ paid. His sacrifice is 100% sufficient to pay for your sins, all your sins. Even those sins that your society accepts and calls normal.