“Let Him be Anathema!” (Galatians 1:1-9)
The apostle Paul pronounced an “anathema” upon all who bring a “different” evangel, a different evangel which, as he puts it, is “not another.” What does he mean by these puzzling words? What is an “anathema”? And of what does the anathema consist which Paul declaims to be the portion of those who bring a “different” evangel? Yet is not the evangel itself a message of grace, of justification apart from works, even such unworthy works as bringing a different evangel?
“O Foolish Galatians!” (Galatians 3:1-9)
Of what did the Galatians’ foolishness consist, and is it possible that such foolishness exists today, even among genuine believers? The Galatians’ failure to retain the teachings of the apostle Paul, together with their proclivity for becoming enthralled with opposing teachings, ones contrary to his evangel of grace, are the primary themes of this article.
“Graciously Granted, Through Promise” (Galatians 3:10-29)
There are only two conceivable sources of blessing: (1) divine grace; and (2) human works of law. Only one of these, however, divine grace, is a viable source of blessing. The other, works of law, since it is infirm through the flesh (Rom.8:3), has been rendered ineffectual. Yet the Galatians, having repudiated grace (1:6; 2:21), were simply seeking blessing “out of” law-obedience itself. How foolish they were, ones to whom the law had not even been given, who were not obliged to keep it, for nonetheless attempting to put themselves under it, even as to anticipate blessing on the presumed basis of their own ability to keep it!
“You Fall Out of Grace” (Galatians 5:1-15)
“Falling out of grace,” is indeed just what one does who seeks a right standing before God by means of law, even if he should freely acknowledge the sacrificial death of Christ on behalf of his sins. In one’s own recognition, one falls out of grace, not by practicing sin, but by falling into law. In truth, however, simply because it is grace, it is impossible for one to remove himself from its blessing, even by the darkest of deeds.
“The Snare of the Cross”
The “snare of the cross” (Gal.5:11b), is the scandalous nature of certain vital aspects of “the word of the cross” (1 Cor.1:18). In essence, the “scandal” of the cross consists in the fact that salvation is achieved solely through the cross. The snare of the cross is that justification, even as all that it entails, is a gratuitous, gracious, saving work on behalf of helpless sinners, through the deliverance which is in Christ Jesus.
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