Threats to Christian Freedom: Legalism, Part 2
Scripture: Galatians 5:2–5:12
Threats To Christian Freedom: Legalism
Text: Galatians 5:2-12
I. Paul warns against the destructive consequences of Legalistic doctrine (vv. 2-6).
A. Christ will be of no benefit in the final judgment, v. 2
“Whoever wishes to have the half of Christ, loses the whole” (John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries, vol. 21, p. 148).
“…He must be a perfect Savior, or no Savior: he admits neither partner nor deputy in the work of our redemption. And the grace of God admits no mixture or composition with anything that is of us. Grace is no grace, unless it be freely given every way” (William Perkins, Galatians, p. 329).
“In Christ we have boldness and access with confidence through…faith in him [Eph. 3:12 p.] This surely does not take place through the gift of regeneration (i.e., sanctification- J.F.), which, as it is always imperfect in this flesh, so contains in itself manifold grounds for doubt. Therefore, we must come to this remedy: that believers should be convinced that their only ground of hope for the inheritance of a Heavenly Kingdom lies in the fact that, being engrafted in the body of Christ, they are freely accounted righteous. For, as regards justification, faith is something merely passive, bringing nothing of ours to the recovering of God’s favor but receiving from Christ that which we lack” (John Calvin, Institutes, 3.13.5).
“All religions are not the same. All religions do not point to God. All religions do not say that all religions are the same. At the heart of every religion is an uncompromising commitment to a particular way of defining who God is or is not and accordingly, of defining life’s purpose. Anyone who claims that all religions are the same betrays not only an ignorance of all religions but also a caricatured view of even the best-known ones. Every religion at its core is exclusive” (Ravi Zacharias, Jesus Among Other Gods p. 7).
“…here we see that it is false that every man shall be saved by his religion: for he that is abolished from Christ, is quite of the favor of God. And therefore no religion, but that which is truly Christian, saves” (William Perkins, Galatians, p. 334).
“…we profit nothing in discussing righteousness unless we establish a righteousness so steadfast that it can support our soul in the judgment of God. When our souls possess that by which they may present themselves fearless before God’s face and receive his judgment undismayed, then only may we know that we have found no counterfeit righteousness” (John Calvin, Institutes, 3.13.3).
“…none of our sins shall condemn us or bring wrath upon us, Christ interposes Himself between us and wrath, so that no one shall be able to condemn us” (The True Bounds of Christian Freedom, p. 23).
“God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:9
© John Fonville
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