The Minor Prophet, Obadiah, put it this way, “The pride of your heart has deceived you.” (Obadiah 1:3) Paul knew enough about his own heart. His twisted devotion as a religious zealot gave him permission to persecute the devoted followers of Christ.
The Prophet Jeremiah warned, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9 NIV) Those who have received the gift of God’s Grace are just as suspect; they still have a human heart.
So, Paul gave his own warning, paraphrasing, “Beware anybody, including me, who has a message that limits the finished work of Jesus Christ. You might as well curse me if I do.” Proud preachers love religion; they use divine power to control followers.
Paul calls out those proud preachers, but his message is to the rest of us. His appeal is to protect our fickle hearts from the flashy fomenters. Those of us who love Jesus have the same responsibility to humble ourselves.
“I can’t believe your fickleness—how easily you have turned traitor to him who called you by the grace of Christ by embracing a variant message! It is not a minor variation, you know; it is completely other, an alien message, a no-message, a lie about God. Those who are provoking this agitation among you are turning the Message of Christ on its head. Let me be blunt: If one of us—even if an angel from heaven!—were to preach something other than what we preached originally, let him be cursed. I said it once; I’ll say it again: If anyone, regardless of reputation or credentials, preaches something other than what you received originally, let him be cursed.”
Galatians 1:6-9 MSG