“It can’t possibly be the correct interpretation that Paul’s usage of the term ‘accursed’ in Galatians 1:8,9 meant believers could lose their salvation. What is your position on this issue?”
“As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:9).
Let us look to Deuteronomy 7:26, which is the first place in our English Bibles that the Hebrew word ghehrem is translated “a cursed thing.” This will help us understand Paul’s usage of the term. It is important to bear in mind that the apostle had a thorough knowledge of the Old Testament, from which he often borrowed his terminology, even when writing in Greek.
“Neither shalt thou bring an abomination [an idol] into thine house, lest thou be a cursed [accursed] thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed [accursed] thing” (Deut. 7:26).
In other words, the idol was to be removed from their presence; it was to be avoided. In like manner, those who reject Paul’s gospel are to be avoided lest we be drawn away to another gospel, which is exactly what happened at Galatia. As we know, two cannot walk together in close fellowship unless they are agreed (Amos 3:3).
So Paul isn’t speaking about saints who teach another gospel losing their salvation, because we know that those who are saved are eternally secure in Christ. Thankfully, salvation doesn’t depend on our actions, but on Christ’s finished work at Calvary on our behalf. Clearly the apostle is speaking about separating ourselves from those who deny his gospel. However, there may have been some who believed a false gospel and therefore were not saved in the first place. Those who believed such a false gospel and went on to teach it to others were accursed indeed.
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.