It is not popular for Christians to talk about doctrinal separation. Separation is not one of the top ten ways to make friends and influence people. There are times when the people that influence us most are close friends. For this reason many people wrongly compromise God’s doctrine rather than confronting an old friend or teacher according to Galatians 6:1 and Ephesians 4:15.
Yet, even nutritionists testify that just as important as what you put in your diet is what you leave out. You cannot have a healthy body by eating unhealthy food. Neither can you maintain sound doctrine by a diet of wrong teaching.
The Lord instructs us to be separate from those who would try to influence us with wrong doctrine (Rom 16:17, 2 Cor 6:17). The Galatians were being zealously influenced by those who would “pervert the gospel of Christ” (Gal 1:7). They had been doctrinally removed from the gospel Paul had taught them, and by which they were saved (Gal 1:6).
It was for this serious doctrinal derailment that Paul makes the statement:
“…though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” – Galatians 1:8
He is so emphatic that he repeats it again in the following verse (Gal 1:9).
There were teachers then and now who pervert the gospel of the grace of God and would zealously affect those who have come to a liberating understanding of God’s glorious grace truth (Gal 5:1).
This perversion does not come in the manner of personal sins or in worldly distractions. Instead, Paul was addressing a more religious problem with the Galatians. These wrong teachers of “another gospel” were teaching Jesus, good works, and salvation. Yet, they were teaching salvation as a product of behavior, thus perverting the gospel of the grace of God. They had accused Paul of inventing the gospel of grace (Gal 1:10-12).
Many good-mannered teachers today pervert the gospel of the grace of God by mixing law and grace. They place their listeners back under a law system under which both Paul and Moses described as a curse (Gal 3:10).
This perversion comes in the form of added water baptism, repeated sin confession for forgiveness, church going, law of tithing, Sabbath days, and even spiritual sacrifices. This is a damning perversion as it hides the understanding of God’s grace gospel from the minds of the hearers.
These teachers need to be confronted and separated from if they persist. More important to Paul was the doctrine God had committed unto his trust (1 Tim 1:11). Even if it meant doctrinally separating from those who were close to him because they taught another gospel (Rom 9:1-2, Gal 1:10).