There’s danger present for the Corinthians. False apostles among them are preaching a gospel that is not the gospel. Always, that danger exists, probably not so much that we will out and out reject the gospel; rather, that, little by little, the gospel message is whittled away by prevailing cultural trends and thought and contemporary cultural mores. Or we might lose the gospel simply through neglect and failure to protect the message from worldly influences. Who was it – Benjamin Franklin? – who, at the Constitutional Convention, was asked: “What kind of government have you given us, Dr. Franklin?” And he responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
Well, we have been given this wonderful, wonderful gospel. Will we keep it? That seemed to be the question for the Corinthians. And so, Paul warned them against “false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ” (11:13). Even “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (11:14) and would deceive us if he could. The gospel is a precious thing. But it is despised by the world, and Satan would take it from us. We must be always on the watch, as Jude puts it: “to contend for the faith that was delivered to the saints once for all” (Jude 3). What a precious gift is the gospel and our Savior!
How sweet the name of Jesus sounds
in a believer’s ear!
It soothes our sorrows, heals our wounds,
and drives away our fear.
It makes the wounded spirit whole
and calms the troubled breast;
'tis manna to the hungry soul,
and to the weary, rest. -- John Newton (1779)