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Sat, May 23, 1998

3 - Getting the Gospel Correct

Galatians 1:6 by Robert Dean
Series:Galatians (1998)
Duration:1 hr 7 mins 12 secs

Getting the Gospel Correct; Gal. 1:6

 

Galatians 1:6 NASB "I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel."

 

Paul starts this verse off with a very strong Greek word, thaumazo [qaumazw] in the present active indicative which has a basic meaning of to marvel, to be amazed, to be astonished, to express wonder. Often this word is used in the Gospels to express wonder and amazement at the miracles of Jesus. The noun form is often used to describe a miracle; it was a "wonder." But Paul used it is a manner that was more related to its root meaning in classical Greek where the verb means to be astonished, and it is often used with the nuance of a criticism, doubt, censure and rejection. In other words, this word can have a very harsh overtone as, "I'm just shocked." The tone of the apostle Paul is very strong and very harsh. This is because the issues that are at stake are the most important in life, and that is the gospel. No pastor can express his love for a congregation and for people mo0re clearly than to make sure the gospel is clearly proclaimed. If one is going to distort the gospel, then what this passage says is: you can't be saved in any other way than by believing the true gospel. If you add anything to faith you destroy it. Faith plus anything equals nothing. That is the point of this entire passage.

 

So Paul is just shocked at the Galatians' behaviour, at how quickly they have deserted the gospel. The ramifications are phenomenal. No longer can they save people because they are declaring a false gospel. The gospel they are going to communicate to their friends won't save anybody. Not only that but once we start perverting the gospel then what follows is we begin to pervert the Christian life. If salvation becomes a salvation by works and we either front load or back load the gospel with works then what happens is it bleeds over into our view of the Christian life which is known as sanctification. What always happens is a merging of sanctification with justification and confusing the two. This is exactly what has happened in "lordship salvation."

 

Lordship salvation is a very subtle form of perverting the gospel. To front load the gospel means to make the works right up front—you have to believe and be baptised in order to be saved. That is, if you are baptised then faith alone won't do it. Or, you have to do good works. If you don't do good works then you are not saved. That is front loading the gospel. Back loading the gospel is very subtle. Those who back load the gospel, with say that we are saved through faith in Jesus Christ … but (and after the "but" comes the kicker) the assurance of salvation then comes from your works. So then assurance no longer derives from the veracity of the promise of God in His Word, assurance derives from one's own works or fruit. So they go to passages like "by their fruits you shall know them." So you have to look at your life and see that there are fruits that are consistent with being a Christian, and those fruits are not there then "kind" of faith that you have is not saving faith; you don't have a true saving faith and so you never were saved. You can even go so far as to say, "I believe in Jesus as my Saviour" at this point in life and then go to church, get involved in all kinds of Christian activity—and this kind of a doctrine is always associated with some form of Reformed theology, a system of theology that was originally founded by John Calvin. Calvin would really not go along with a lot that comes under his name; he did not back load faith with works—and go through years of church involvement and Bible study, living a good life doing everything well and then reject Christ, reject the gospel, get involved in all sorts of immorality, etc. and die. The lordship salvation crowd would come along and say that if you look at the totality of their life there is no fruit because it has been cancelled out. So according to their doctrine, which they call the perseverance of the saints, a true believer they would persevere and continue in growth all the way to the point of death and there never would be a falling away and rejection of Christ. Their conclusion is that they never had saving faith.

 

According to that view of Reformed theology and lordship salvation how do we know if we are truly saved? We never do. We never have the assurance and conviction of our salvation because that derives from our fruit, not from the promise of God. So it is nothing more than blasphemy and heresy to affirm lordship salvation. Lordship is not the issue of salvation, the issue is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and we will be saved. The problem with this view is confusion between the doctrines of justification (which takes place in a moment in time) and sanctification (a process). Sanctification has to do with the entire spiritual life. It begins at the moment of salvation and extends throughout the believer's life until he is taken to be with the Lord. Sanctification is that process of spiritual growth. Growth takes place through the filling of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. If there is no doctrine for the new believer to express his faith toward and to apply then there is no basis for his growth. A believer can also grow as he takes in doctrine and applies it to his life; he may grow to a certain point and then just reject everything and become a backslider and fall away from the faith; but he is still born again, still justified because justification is a separate thing.

 

Paul is appalled that the Galatians have so quickly deserted the gospel. "I am appalled that," the Greek hoti [o(ti] which is causal and should be translated "because"; "you have so quickly deserted," present passive indicative of metatithemi [metatiqhmi] which means to change, bring back, alter, pervert, desert, turn away from. So Paul says, "I am appalled that you have so quickly deserted, turned away from the one who called you."

 

Eternal security

 

1.  Eternal security is defined as an unbreakable relationship with God that depends exclusively on the character of God and the finished work of Christ on the cross.

2.  Man's failure does not cancel the integrity of God. The integrity of God is eternal, infinite and immutable.

3.  Salvation through faith in Christ results in receiving the righteousness of God.

4.  Because of the eternal, infinite, immutable attributes of God He cannot cancel the salvation of any believer, no matter how gross or repugnant his sins might be.

5.  Jude 24 NASB "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, [25] to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, {be} glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen." The point being made here is that it is God who is able to keep us. God has the power; He is the one who is omnipotent. When we are saved we are kept, not by our own power but by the power of God.

6.  The metaphor in Scripture for sealing. Ephesians 1:13 NASB "In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise." Ephesians 4:30 NASB "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."

7.  John 10:28, 29 NASB "and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given {them} to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch {them} out of the Father's hand."

8.  Romans 8:38, 39 NASB "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

 

Galatians 1:6, "the one who called you" is from the Greek word kaleo [kalew], a technical word which theologians describe as having two references. There is the external call which is the proclamation of the gospel, the offer the accept Jesus Christ as Saviour, and then there is the internal call which is the work of God the Holy Spirit to the unbeliever in making the gospel clear at the moment of salvation; "by means of" is the phrase en [e)n] plus the dative of means chariti [xariti]; "the grace of Christ." God provides everything for us, that is what grace means. God does all the work and we just simply accept it. Faith plus anything nullifies faith; faith plus anything equals nothing. When you add anything to faith you destroy it, it is no longer of grace, no longer a free gift—that is what grace means, a free gift; "for a different gospel." The word "different" here is the Greek heteros [e(teroj] which has to do with another of a different kind. There is another word that is used in this same passage, allos [a)lloj] which usually means of the same kind. Sometimes these words are used interchangeably but when they are used in the same passage like this they have these distinct nuances to them. So what Paul is saying here is, "I am appalled because you have deserted the grace of Christ for a different kind of gospel."

 

Galatians 1:7 NASB "which is {really} not another [allos, another of the same kind]…" It is a categorically different gospel. What is the gospel? It comes from the Greek word euaggelion [e)uaggelion] which means good news. The good news is that man is not left in his trespasses and sins but that Jesus Christ has paid the penalty for them so that we can have eternal life. 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4 NASB "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for [huper: as a substitute] our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures."

Acts 13:26-35 NASB "Brethren, sons of Abraham's family, and those among you who fear God, to us the message of this salvation has been sent. For those who live in Jerusalem, and their rulers, recognizing neither Him nor the utterances of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled {these} by condemning {Him.} And though they found no ground for {putting Him to} death, they asked Pilate that He be executed. When they had carried out all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead; and for many days He appeared to those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, the very ones who are now His witnesses to the people. And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this {promise} to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, 'YOU ARE MY SON; TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU.' {As for the fact} that He raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: 'I WILL GIVE YOU THE HOLY {and} SURE {blessings} OF DAVID.' Therefore He also says in another {Psalm,} 'YOU WILL NOT ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY.'" Resurrection is a vital part of the gospel because it affirms who he was as God and that He had the ability to die on the cross for our sins.

The gospel is free, we don't do anything to earn or deserve it. Revelation 22:17  NASB "The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come.' And let the one who hears say, 'Come.' And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost."