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Accept no counterfeits

“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.” Galatians 1:8

“How do you know it’s a fake?” This was the last question at the end of my training to become a teller at a local bank. I had spent three days looking at counterfeit bills, studying each one carefully and looking for even the slightest sign of error. On the first day, I struggled and would have easily passed counterfeits as the real thing. After three days of spending hours and hours studying what makes a bill authentic, not a single counterfeit passed by unnoticed. Why? Because I knew what to look for: the marks of true authenticity.

In this verse, we find Paul warning the Galatians about false teachers with a counterfeit gospel. Paul had proclaimed the truth of Jesus’ gospel to the Galatians, but soon after he left, false teachers started to proclaim a false gospel that required the people to be circumcised in order to be seen as righteous before God, and not justified by faith alone.

In order to drive the point home, Paul goes as far as to say that even if angels or Paul himself were to say something that was found in error with what he had rightly proclaimed about Jesus, that they should “be accursed”—rejected by all.

There are some false beliefs that are easy to spot and which stick out like a sore thumb. The real danger is when a counterfeit comes along that looks similar to the real thing and can even sound pretty convincing. Hence, we must be diligent to study the Scriptures and to hold tightly to what the Bible actually says about the person and work of Jesus.

If anyone or any belief seeks to add to or take away from what the Bible has clearly proclaimed, it should be rejected completely, regardless of who is making the false statement. God’s word is clear that there is only one God, and one Savior, offering one way of salvation: by the grace bestowed through Jesus death and resurrection. No more, no less.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is unchanging and a finished work, because Jesus’ death and resurrection put sin to death once and for all and confirm, “It is finished” as true and unwavering. Knowing this, we can stand firm and confident in the truth, and reject anything that offers hope or salvation apart from the grace of Jesus alone.

Accept no counterfeits. Hold firm to the unshakable truth of the gospel of Jesus.

Drew Hensley is a lead pastor resident at the U-District church.

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