God's Unchanging Gospel

The world that we live in very much considers itself “progressive”; we are ever-changing and ever-evolving, always seeking to be or find something new. Sometimes this is good; it’s a wonderful thing when we can grow morally as a people, leaving behind immature things (1 Corinthians 13:11—I realize this Scripture is contextually about spiritual gifts, but the idea of growth being good can be seen in it). This form of change is great; however, when society thrives on “being progressive,” certain changes that should never be made come into being: Our progressive world wants to change the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Changing the word of God has been expressly forbidden since the beginning. Mankind challenged God’s word and death was brought into the world (Genesis 3). Nadab and Abihu sought to worship God in their own way with a “strange fire” and were punished with death for their disobedience (Leviticus 10:1-3). God explicitly tells the Israelites that they are not to change his word in any way; they must keep his commandments (Deuteronomy 4:2).

Moving into the New Testament, we find the same lesson. In 2 Timothy 2:17-18, we learn that Hymenaeus and Philetus had changed the word of God by declaring that the resurrection had already come. By doing this, they upset the faith of some (which is sin, in and of itself) and committed blasphemy; they were “turned over to Satan” for doing so (1 Timothy 1:19-20). Once again, God tells us that we are not to change his word in anyway; Revelation 22:18-19 tells us, “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.” 

Some say that these passages do not apply today, but Scripture reveals that God speaks to us today by his Son (Hebrews 1:1-2), and his Son speaks to us by the apostles and their writings (Matthew 10:40; Luke 10:16). We then learn, from Christ himself, that his words will never pass away (Matthew 24:35) and we will be judged by them (John 12:48). If we have yet to be judged, it is safe to say that these words are as authoritative today as they were when Christ physically spoke them.

Finally, if these words are as authoritative today as they were then, then these words are, also: “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 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.” (Galatians 1:6-9). Our world may be changing, but let’s not change God’s word.