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Sons of Abraham, Part 6

March 21, 2010 Pastor: John Fonville Series: Galatians

Scripture: Galatians 3:6–3:14

Sons of Abraham

Part 6


Text: Galatians 3:6-14



Justification by faith alone is the pathway to a blessed life (vv. 6-9).


Justification by works of the law is the pathway to a cursed life (vv. 10-14).


What is the purpose of the law?


Why did God give the law to Israel? What purpose did it play in the history of redemption?


Does the law have a role to play in the believer’s life? How does the Christian relate to the law?


How is the Christian to regard the law?


A.       How important is the distinguishing of the law and gospel?


1.     Failure to distinguish between the law and gospel is the principle source of the corruption of Christianity.


“We must pay great attention to these things. For, with good reason, we can say that ignorance of this distinction between Law and Gospel is one of the principle sources of the abuses which corrupted and still corrupt Christianity,” (Theodore Beza, The Christian Faith, 4.23).


2.       Distinguishing the law and gospel is a mark of a true church.


3.       Distinguishing the law and gospel establishes comfort for one’s soul.


“that in his painful experience, bondage will be mixed with liberty of spirit, fear with hope, sorrow with joy, and death with life. If he cannot so distinguish between the gospel from the law as to expect all his salvation from the grace of the gospel, and nothing of it from the works of the law; he will easily be induced to connect his own works with the righteousness of Jesus Christ in the affair of justification. This was the great error of the Judaizing teachers in the churches of Galatia. They mingled the law with the gospel in the business of justification, and thereby they so corrupted the gospel as to alter the very nature of it and make it another gospel,” (John Colquhoun, A Treatise on the Law and Gospel, p. 141).


4.     Distinguishing the law and gospel separates Christianity from all other religions.


“This difference between the Law and the Gospel is the height of knowledge in Christendom. Every person and all persons who assume or glory in the name of Christian should know and be able to state this difference. If this ability is lacking, one cannot tell a Christian from a heathen or a Jew; of such supreme importance is this differentiation. This is why St. Paul so strongly insists on a clean-cut and proper differentiating of these two doctrines,” (Ewald M. Plass, What Luther Says, p. 732).


What is a Christian?


Religion = “I obey, therefore I am accepted.”


Christianity = “I am accepted, therefore I obey.”


“Distinguished from all religions, spiritualities, and philosophies of life, the Christian faith is, at its heart, a gospel (meaning “Good News”),” (Michael Horton, The Gospel Driven Life, p. 11).


5.       Distinguishing the law and gospel is necessary for understanding Scripture.


“The true knowledge of the distinction between the Law and the Gospel is not only a glorious light, affording the correct understanding of the entire Holy Scripture, but without this knowledge Scripture is and remains a sealed book,” (C.F.W. Walther, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, p. 60).


6.       Distinguishing the law and gospel guards the truth of the gospel.




1.       Without the Holy Spirit, it is impossible to understand this distinction (1 Cor. 2:14; Psalm 119:33).


2.       It is easy to distinguish between the law and gospel when your heart does not condemn you.


 “Like two hostile forces, Law and Gospel sometimes clash with each other in a person’s conscience. The Gospel says to him: ‘You have been received into God’s grace.’ The Law says to him: ‘Do not believe it; for look at your past life. How many and grievous are your sins! Examine the thoughts and desires that you have harbored in your mind.’ On an occasion like this it is difficult to divide Law and Gospel. When this happens to a person, he must say to the Law: ‘Away with you! Your demands have all been fully met, and you have nothing to demand of me. There is One who has paid my debt,’” (C.F.W. Walther, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, p. 47).


© John Fonville

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