Once the devil was walking along with one of his cohorts. They saw a man ahead of them pick up something shiny. "What did he find?" asked the cohort.
"A piece of the truth," the devil replied.
"Doesn't it bother you that he found a piece of the truth?" asked the cohort.
"No," said the devil, "I will see to it that he makes a religion out of it."
Truth taken out of context and twisted is the basis for many false religions.
In every period of time since man was created by God, the devil has been working to get man to question God's Holy and inerrant Word. It started in the garden when the devil asked Eve, "Has God really said?" It has continued throughout all the generations and today the Word of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ seems to be attacked with more ferocity than ever before. Satan always goes after the foundation of the Christian faith. He is perfectly fine with someone believing a half-truth or part of the truth just as long as they do not get and believe the whole truth and believe in the authority of Scripture.
Satan is perfectly fine with man-made religion; he is perfectly fine with people filling up churches and believing things "about God" just as long as they do not believe what God has said in His Word. Satan gets quite a bit of joy out of people professing Christ and denying His Word by how they live and by how they operate.
Every false religion is born out of Satan's desire to purposely twist and pervert the very Word of God. God's people of every time must stand for truth and stand for the Word of God and for the gospel because in our day there are countless false gospels and there are countless attacks on the inerrancy and the authority of Scripture.
The same was true for Paul's day and the attack on Scripture, the attack on the gospel, and the attack on the freedom we have in Christ was the backdrop to his letter to the Galatians. Paul was astounded that they were so quickly deserting the true gospel for a false gospel. They were being disturbed by the Judaizers who were teaching that one must be circumcised and keep the law along with faith in Christ in order to be a Christian.
Well, Paul would make it clear in his letter that the Word of God does not teach that and that is also not what Christ taught, and it is not what the true gospel is. The true gospel is justification by faith alone.
You see, what was at stake in Paul's day and what is at stake in our day is not some lower-level issue or something that is not clearly or fully revealed that can be debated without division. What was being attacked in Paul's day and what is being attacked in our day are the very definitional issues that define the historic Christian faith once for all handed down to the saints.
Then after fourteen years I went up to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain. (Galatians 2:1-2 ESV)
Notice that this section in Galatians chapter 2 coincides with what is going on in Acts chapter 15 with the Jerusalem council. Paul in Galatians chapter 2 says that he "set before them" or "submitted" to them the gospel (Submitted – lay out a case). He did so in private to ensure that the leaders and elders had not been corrupted by the false teaching. Since the elders have the oversight and teaching responsibilities in the church, if their doctrine and teaching are corrupted, then the people's understanding of Scripture will be corrupted by their teaching. Paul wanted to make sure that their teaching was correct first.
Notice that Paul opposed man's wisdom & false teaching with the truth of God's revelation. Man's teaching always seeks to exalt and glorify himself. The truth of the Word of God only seeks to exalt and glorify God.
But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. (Galatians 2:3 ESV)
Notice that as a result of the Jerusalem council, Titus was not required to be circumcised because it would have been contrary to the true gospel.
Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in - who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery. (Galatians 2:4 ESV)
The reason for the council and Paul's efforts was because of false brethren (sham Christians) fueled by Satan who came in with the express purpose of attempting to bring Christians back into legalistic bondage.
Paul warned about these false brethren in Acts 20. He tells elders to be on guard for savage (oppressive, violent) wolves who will not spare the flock. There will be men who come in and claim to have fellowship and claim to be brethren who will show themselves to not be brethren when they speak perverse things and draw away disciples for themselves.
HOW DO WE KNOW? WHAT IS THE DIVIDING LINE?
THE WORD OF GOD!
The way you know error is by knowing the truth. If you do not know the Word of God you will be drawn away by error.
To them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.
Notice that Paul says that he did not yield at all to them because what they taught was in contradiction to the gospel and the Word of God. That is the test. Scripture is always the final authority. If something is in contradiction to Scripture you never submit to it not even for a moment. God's true people are marked by obedience to and a love for His Word and His commandments.
We saw this in John 14:15, 21, 23.
"If you loved me, you will keep my commandments."
And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality) - those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. (Galatians 2:6-9 ESV)
The leaders and elders there added nothing to what Paul presented because it was in complete harmony with what Christ taught and thus in complete harmony with the word of God. What they saw was the Holy Spirit's mark on his life and that the Spirit was producing results in his ministry because he was submitted to the Word of God.
Paul and Barnabas were given the right hand of fellowship and recognized to be true and faithful brethren because they were teaching the truth and living the truth and defending the truth.
In a day and age where there are so many false teachings and so many false religions and so many arrows coming in our direction from Satan in an attempt to destroy the church and ruin our witness, we need to recommit ourselves to God and His holy, inspired, and inerrant Word and to the only true gospel that is found in the Word of God.
We need to be committed to and studying the Word of God before the battles come because that is the only way we will be ready when they do come and they will come.
If you are not prepared then you will find yourself submitted to man's wisdom and defending something that did not come from God. Only God's Word and Christ's gospel comes from God and trust me when I say that it is worth defending because man will fail you but God's Word never will.