Message in the Galatians (7)

The issue continued.

The salvation by grace and the obedience to the law must be discussed as separate subjects always! “I do not set aside God’s grace, because if righteousness could come through the law, then Christ died for nothing!” (Galatians 2:21, NET). Christians must never study and discuss the justification and salvation by the faithfulness of Jesus in conjunction with the obedience to the law – the ten commandments. The logical reason for it is apparent. The purpose of giving the law, the ten commandments, was not to make its adherents righteous. The law is incapable of justifying sinners and making them righteous. The law was designed for demanding perfect obedience, and for eternally condemning for disobedience of it, nothing less would suffice. The law, the ten commandments, is good in what it was designed to do. However, we must understand that the law could not justify the sinner not because the law is defective, but because it is not intended for justification. The nature of the law and its purpose is to condemn the law-breakers.

Paul further emphasizes this point. “Is the law therefore opposed to the promise of God? Absolutely not! For if a law has been given that was able to give life, then the righteousness would certainly have come by the law. But the scripture imprisoned everything and everyone under sin so that the promise could be given – because of the faithfulness of Jesus Christ – to those who believe.” (Galatians 3:21, 22, NET).

Paul reminds the Gentile Christians in Galatia that it is not logical to “begin with Spirit” and then include the works of the law as an additional requirement for justification. The Gentile Galatians who converted to Judaism carefully obeyed the same law the Jews did. Nevertheless, despite their careful obedience they did not receive the promised Holy Spirit. However, when they heard Paul, they believed and were filled with the Holy Spirit. Because the Spirit came through belief not through obedience, Paul asks the believers in Galatia; “The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard?” (Galatians 3:2, NET). So, the Holy Spirit will not come through obedience to the law but through believing in Jesus Christ.

More in the next blog.

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Dan Lazich

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