What About the Legal Fears of Some of the Galatians? Were they Arminians?

”If you were operating out of legal fear instead of gospel motives, how then do you know you were justified all along?”

How do I know I am elect and now justified? Because I believe the gospel. Did my believing the gospel cause justification to happen? No! Did God’s imputation of Christ’s death to me result in me believing the gospel? Yes.

Even those who were born Jewish were not born converted. But many who have not yet repented of Arminianism still claim to now be converted to the Lord Jesus Christ.

So what shall we think about saying that ” I was born justified, or I was justified but did not know the gospel”, or “I believe it now but I don’t repent of what I believed then” or saying that “I know that I believed the gospel even though all that time I was operating out of legal fear”?

Just because a Peter says he was operating out of legal fear doesn’t mean that he was. Maybe he wasn’t. Well, you could say, he sure got bad results, since he ended up betraying the Lord three times. That’s why he messed up so bad, because of his legal fears.

But we all still sin. We are still all getting bad results. The justified elect are still habitual sinners. They are still not doing so well in morality, when they are measured by God’s standards for morality.

Christians are the people who are not operating out of legal fear. We can’t be saying– they are Arminians but Christians who need to be instructed. We can’t be saying: those elders are operating out of legal fear, but they are still gospel believers.

There’s an in and out. Ecclesia: called out, gathered together here from there, separated by doctrine. The question is: what is the gospel, and do you believe it?

The gospel is not that you are elect (or that I am). Not: God loves you. Not: God loves me. But: God loves as many as are believing the gospel of Christ’s death for the elect.

The gospel can’t tell you that you are elect until you are believing it already. If you confess yourselves as still being motivated by legal fear, then how has the gospel made you to submit to the Lord and His doctrine?

Either God is pleased with you or not. How do you know? Are you believing the gospel? You need to know this before you try to please God. You can’t please God if you don’t already please God. And you don’t please God yet if you haven’t believed the gospel yet.

We talk about legal fear of God to lost people who are not born justified.

Am I saying that we get lost and saved again every time that we fall into legal fear? No. Am I saying that we never are motivated by legal fear? No. But no Christian is still an Arminian. And no Christian should be addressed as though they were still Arminians. But plenty of people listening to us should be addressed as Arminians. Many who listen are still Arminians, still lost in their sins.

We do not threaten Christians with the idea that they are still Arminians. We confront Arminians with the idea that they are not Christians

When a person is operating out of legal fear, that person may have a very dutiful prayer and Bible reading life, but it’s all an abomination to God, dead works coming from a dead person.

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2 Comments on “What About the Legal Fears of Some of the Galatians? Were they Arminians?”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    1. Paul —circumcision is nothing ,but also non-circumcision is nothing

    2. we agree with you Paul, so why not be quiet when we encourage these gentiles to be circumcised

    1. if you let yourself be circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing

    2. there you go again, Paul, talking about circumcision again, why don’t you stick to the gospel

    1. in that case, uncircumcision is not nothing, i would rather those who do it castrate themselves

  2. markmcculley Says:


    the paedobaptist version of Galatians—-if you have been circumcised, you don’t need John’s water baptism or any other water baptism. If you have not been circumcised, then you need water. Infant water baptism has come in the place of circumcision, and if you missed it, too bad, because infant baptism is best at showing that grace is sovereign, but some pagans slip through the cracks in the second generation, and if that has happened to you, we can baptize you with water after you are effectually called but that’s second best and makes it looks like you believe in free will. No more physical circumcision. None of that nasty castration stuff about “let the knife slip”… God is still your God and your child’s God and promises them all salvation.

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