Is Salvation Now Conditioned on the Sinner’s Faith?
1. O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
2. This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
3. Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
4. Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.
5. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
( Gal 3:1-5)
“Before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth as crucified…” (3:1b)
Christ has not been preached unless the cross has been preached. And the cross has not been preached unless particular redemption and imputation have been preached. You can say “blood, blood, blood”, but still not know Christ.
Most of those who did the many bloody animal sacrifices did not receive Christ as crucified. The Arminians who say that Christ died for those who will perish do not believe in Christ and His precious blood.
To know Christ, you must know that God requires a righteousness that sinners cannot produce and that God in Christ established for the elect a righteousness that demands salvation for the elect. The law demands death, even the death of One who was never a sinner, but who was imputed with the sins of the elect.
There are only two kinds of people in the world -those whose work will be accepted because they were not working to get God’s blessing, and then those whose works (and persons) will be condemned because their “good deeds” were wicked attempts to establish their own righteousness.
Those who killed Christ thought they could do God some service. John 16:1-3. If you think you can begin, help or complete your righteousness by your good deeds, then you are as guilty and corrupt as those who killed Christ.
“Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law?” (3:2)
We receive the Spirit by the “hearing of faith”. We do not receive the Spirit by believing a lie. When Arminians lie about God and about sin and about righteousness, the Spirit does not use those lies to bring people to life. The Spirit uses the word of truth.
Eph 1:12: “in Him, you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation…” (see also Romans 6:17, I Thess 2;12-13, II Thess 2;12-13; I Peter 1:22-23; James 1:18).
To judge by the flesh is to judge by some other standard. To judge by the gospel is to examine if we and others confess and agree with God’s testimony.
It is the Spirit who convicts us that God requires a righteousness that we cannot produce. John 16:8-13. It is the Spirit who takes away our confidence in the flesh so that we have NO confidence that we ever did or ever will do anything (even with God’s help) to make ourselves better than anybody else. Phil 3:3. The only reason we are different from others before God is that Christ died for us and not for others.
It is the Spirit who causes us to confess the true Christ and the true gospel. I Cor 1:23-24 Unless we are called by the Spirit we will consider this Christ crucified before us to be foolishness.
I Cor 2:11-13: “No one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.”
Not the spirit that says Christ died for everybody and now it depends on us but the Spirit who is from God, so that we know the things that have freely been given to us by God.
The righteousness is a free gift. If we say that the accepting of the free gift is something different from the free gift, and that this accepting is “MINE” and what I did (with God’s grace) to be saved, then we may call that “salvation by faith” but what we call “faith” is really still self-righteousness.
“I am a good chooser. And the reason for that is I am a good wanter. AndI want what’s right ( “of course sometimes I sin but I don’t want to and don’t really choose to and God is gracious and will overlook it…”) because I have a heart that is better than that of others…”
NO! We were not saved by being in the right place at the right time and reading the right book or tract. If we are saved, it was a SUPERNATURAL WORK OF GOD. So no excuses like ” don’t blame me for not knowing the gospel when I got saved”.
What the Spirit produces is repentance to see that our “mistakes about the gospel” were motivated by our wicked hearts that wanted to condition salvation on ourselves instead of TOTALLY on the righteousness established by Christ for the elect.
“Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (3:3)
The typical Calvinist thinks that people can begin as Christian in error and then (maybe as an option) MOVE TO THE TRUTH. But here we have a different case: people who begin with the truth (Paul’s’ preaching of the gospel, Romans 1:16-17-faith is no part of the righteousness, circumcision is no part of the righteousness), but who are now in danger of being bewitched by error.
Let me make two exhortations here:
1. Let us examine our calling. Is it really true that you can be saved by believing a lie? Is it really true that God the Spirit teaches the sheep that Jesus died for everybody but that they are themselves the condition of salvation? Is it really the Spirit that teaches people that Jesus waits for their decision?
2. For those of us who are convinced that we do believe the true gospel, why do we fellowship with and hear the preaching of those who do not know the gospel? Why do we think we will grow by listening to a false gospel? Why do we think that we can learn something from a false gospel about how to raise our children and love our wives?
Is it because we have confidence in ourselves that WE would never be bewitched, that now we are too smart for the devil to trick? do we worry about the influence on our children, but have no concern for the influence of Arminian evangelicalism (salvation by faith, not by righteousness) on ourselves?
“Have ye suffered so many things in vain?” (3:4)
Why do we cry peace to the Arminians and to others who lie about God and sin? Because we want them to be partial to us! if we want their respect, we will have to respect them. But Christ had no respect for their opinion, but total and absolute respect for the honor of God. If we had that same kind of respect for God, we would not sit still for Arminian lies, and we would be hated the way Christ was.
Christ suffered because he was a “light” who exposed “good deeds” as being “evil deeds”. John 3:18-20. People hated Christ because Christ told them that God required a righteousness they could not produce: He had no respect for what they produced. They would have respected Him as Messiah if only He had been partial to their good deeds. But He was not.
Used to be a drug addict? So what: if you don’t believe the gospel, you will die in your sins. But I believe the Bible and in a literal second coming. So what? if you don’t believe the gospel, you will die in your sins.
John 7: 7: “The world” HATES me,
John 7:7 “they hate me because I testify of the world that its works are evil.” Its good works are evil. John 7:24 “Do not judge by outward appearances, but judge with righteous judgment.” Judge yourself and others by knowing that God requires a perfect righteousness and that only those who submit to the gospel have that perfect righteousness.
Why are the Galatians tempted by the legalists? Because if they go along with their lies, they will be respected, and THEY WILL NOT SUFFER PERSECUTION FROM THEM. See Gal 6:12.
To say that cross is the only difference is to suffer; to add on to the cross will cause the suffering to go away.
To say that those who add on are under the curse (as Paul says) is to make lots of enemies: it will not flatter the people who pay your salary if you tell them that paying your salary does not make them any better before God …
II Tim 1:8: “Do not be ashamed…”,
Romans 1:16: “I am not ashamed…”
Any time people can preach grace as that which changes you to enable you to produce some of the righteousness that God requires then they continue hating the gospel of imputation in which the CROSS IS THE ONLY DIFFERENCE.
Instead of glorying in the cross (gal 6:14), they are ashamed to say that Christ died only for the elect. Instead, they talk in code language (died for those who would believe) so they can stay at peace with Arminians who buy books and pay salaries.
This not only encourages self-righteousness but is self-righteous, because it fails to come against our own flesh and temptations to be some of the sufficiency and to contribute something and to do something.
Gal 3:4: You “suffered so many things”, but now you don’t want to keep suffering…
II Tim 1:8: “do not be ashamed of the TESTIMONY OF OUR LORD…but share with me in the AFFLICTIONS OF THE GOSPEL“