There are reasons behind Paul’s declaration that some find difficult to understand.
Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any account; but what counts is a new creation.
“Oh. What are they?”
For one, his desire to warn people from adding obsolete rites and ceremonies to the pure and simple Gospel, as if they are necessary for salvation
“That’s serious, I admit. Any other reasons?”
Yes, but I’ll mention two more: some of the Judaizers seemed to want to add another name to their growing lists of “re-converts.” Others found they could escape Jewish persecution by doing so. Someday, take a gander at Galatians 6:13, and you’ll understand what I mean.
“Was there serious controversy over the matter?
You betcha’. The first general council of the church was held to confront the issue head on. You can read all about it in Acts 15.
“What did they decide?”
That the provisions of the law were no longer applicable, and that, therefore, the Gentiles shouldn’t be burdened with trying to fulfill them. They admitted such things had been a “yoke” too heavy for them to bear. And it was clear that even Peter had abandoned the Old customs and rituals, and was “living like a Gentile” (Galatians 2:14).
“Wow! You mean Peter, himself—the first pope!”
Well, Peter, anyway. A discussion of whether he was the “first pope” can wait. I’ll just say this much—according to the Bible, the first supposed pope was married!
“And when they decided that Paul and Barnabas were right that cleared up the matter once for all, I suppose.”
It should have, but it didn’t. Everywhere Paul and Barnabas went, starting new churches, the Judaizers would move in to add their doctrines to the Gospel. Paul had to contend with this to the very end.
“Wow! So are their still Judaizers around today?”
You’d better believe it! Although circumcision isn’t the issue in our day.
“What is it?”
There are people who are continually thinking of things to add to the cross and resurrection message (the good news). Some add baptism, others church membership—you name it.
“Do they think they are adding to the Gospel?”
Well, not exactly. They usually try to include such ceremonies as a part of the Gospel.
“I see. That’s dangerous!”
It means that they teach “another gospel,’ which Paul characterized as “not another” (Galatians 1:6,7). The King James Version fails to make the distinction that the Greek does. The Greek reads, “A different gospel, which is not another of the same kind.”
“And the matter is so serious that Paul cursed anyone –even an angel [whose name might be Moroni, If you are a Momon]—for doing so.
“So this is a serous matter, then?”
It strikes right at the heart of the faith. The Gospel is news to believed; ceremonies are works to be performed. Jesus’ death and resurrection were once-for-all, and utterly sufficient; nothing more need, or could, be added. To speak of ceremonies to perform, is to say that we are saved by works. That’s heresy. No wonder Paul called down a curse on those who taught it.
“So, such teaching isn’t Christianity at all?”
Not according to the Scriptures. People are duped into believing falsehood by thinking that they need something more—a “Full gospel” as some would call it.