Because We are Adopted, We are Given the Holy Spirit

Instead of seeing the difference between sinner and sinner as Christ’s justification of some sinners, many see the difference as the new birth causing Christians to not sin (too much) anymore. Their hope is their dying to self and Christ living in them, so much so that they are willing to ignore the context of Galatians 2 which is talking not about Spirit renewal but about Christ’s atonement and Christ’s righteousness. One writer argues: “Galatians 2:20 sure seems to be hard to defeat. It is dying to self and Christ living in you that proves that you are a Christian.”

Galatians 2:16— “yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

17 But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a sinner.

19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I would live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in regard to me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”

The “experimental” writers use Galatians 2:20 to prove a present ontological renewal by the indwelling Christ. But the context is about legal identification with Christ’s death. Verse 17 speaks of justification in Christ.

Verse 21–Paul does not say that if justification were partly another way, that Christ’s death should still not be denied. Rather, Paul says justification is all or nothing. It’s by Christ’s death or it’s not.

To be “dead with Christ” is not to be dying with Christ because of an inner new brith. To be dead with Christ is to to escape our dead “legal state” by means of Christ’s own legal death. There are only two legal states. Some sinners are not crucified with Christ, and still under the wrath of God. Other sinners, however, Christ loved. And the work of this love is Christ’s death—”gave Himself for me”.

These are not two different blessings here, Christ’s death for the elect, and then the elect’s “died with Christ”. No, the two ways of saying it are about the same good news. The justified elect’s “I have been crucified with Christ” is the Galatians 2 way of saying that Christ’s death was because of Christ’s legal identification with our dead state..“ Crucified with Christ” is Paul’s way to teach that Christ’s representation is substitution.

Galatians 2 is about  justification and the atonement. “I died to the law” in verse 19 is my justification by means of Christ’s death to the law because of my imputed sins.

Look at verse 20 in Galatians 2. In What’s At Stake in the Doctrine of Justification (IVP), DA Carson argues that the “Christ lives in me” should be read as “Christ lives in regard to me” in parallel to texts like Romans 4:25 and 5:10.
He is not denying the important mystery of Colossians 1:27 (Christ in you, the hope of glory). Neither am I.

But let the “Christ who lives in me” stand in 2:20. The “experimental” puritans still need to account for the rest of the verse which says–I am crucified, Christ lives. I am dead. If that death is not by legal justification (being placed legally into Christ’s death), what does it mean?

“I have been crucified” does not mean “I am dying” or “I am being born again”. “I have been crucified” is about Christ’s death in history—he loved me and gave himself for me. The “I died to the law” of verse 19 is NOT by means of the new birth or the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 4 teaches us that we are given the Holy Spirit because we are legally adopted. We are not adopted because we have been given the Holy Spirit. 4:5, “to redeem those who were under the law, so that we would receive ADOPTION as sons. 6 And BECAUSE YOU ARE SONS, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” The Holy Spirit of Adoption does not cause the children to be adopted. Christ’s adoption of children results in Christ giving them the Holy Spirit.

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10 Comments on “Because We are Adopted, We are Given the Holy Spirit”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    “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 now in “hell” do not believe in Christ and His precious blood.

    To know Christ, you must know that God requires a righteousness that you 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.Remember that those who think they can do God some service also thought that killing Christ is a “good deed”. 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.

  2. markmcculley Says:

    “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. Now we have received (antithesis) not the spirit of the world”
    Not the spirit that says Christ died for everybody and now it depends on us but the Spirit who is from God, that we would 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” and “grace” is really still self-righteousness. “I am a good chooser. And the reason for that is I am a good wanter. And the reason I want what’s right ( “of course sometimes i get a cold like everybody else and of course I sin but I don’t want to and don’t really choose to and God is gracious and will overlook it…”) the reason I want what is right is 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 on the righteousness established by Christ for the elect.

  3. markmcculley Says:

    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?

    • markmcculley Says:

      John 10 The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.

      Righteousness is obtained (finished) before it is imputed (applied)

      How could the work of Christ be”finished” if it was not only for those who are saved?

      If Christ’s death needs to be finished by our accepting it, then it’s not finished.

      The only way it’s a “finished work” is if Christ’s death actually will save all for whom Christ died, ie if Christ died for everybody then everybody would be saved, or if Christ died only for the elect then all the elect would be saved

      but you could say: maybe the new believer has not thought this all out

      none of us has thought anything “all out”

      But my guess is that most who profess to be Christians do have an opinion already, and that opinion is that Christ’s work was “finished” for everybody but that “finished” does not really mean “finished” until you accept it.

    • markmcculley Says:

      Election is in the gospel because election describes the nature of Christ’s death

      As for the one thief on the cross, how do you know that he didn’t hear gospel before? what about the jailer and those in his house? Do you think that all that they heard is what the command to believe the gospel, but not the gospel itself?

      The command to believe is not the gospel

      The promise that all who believe the gospel (as many as) will be saved is part of the gospel

      how could you be sure that Peter was a Christian before he knew that Christ needed to die? Are you saying that some Christians don’t even know about the cross?

      https://markmcculley.wordpress.com/2009/06/25/what-did-you-learn-when-you-claim-to-have-been-converted/

  4. markmcculley Says:

    “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 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 religious world hates the true God who tells us that we must hate ourselves or hate God .There is no “balance” here: no place for moderation, no “in between”. To not hate God, we have to take sides with God against ourselves, not respect ourselves, not expect to ever produce any of the righteousness that God requires.

    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 Judaizer? 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 the righteousness that God requires then they are ashamed of 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. Not reckoning ourselves to be dead yet, we produce fruit, but it’s dead fruit, unpleasing to God. If we work to make ourselves holy or sanctified or to get any other blessing, we do not look to Christ’s work as the source of all our blessings.

    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“

  5. markmcculley Says:

    they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.” (3:7)

    So we must learn to ask “faith in what”. If you have faith in the flesh, you may “be the answer to your own prayers” and have sex with Hagar, but this is not justifying faith. It does not honor God’s promise about the seed and about the righteousness established by the seed. No imputation: no gospel.

    “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.” (3:8)
    “Then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.” (3:9)

    On account of what Christ did at the cross. But through which faith? many will cry Lord, Lord, to whom the Lord will say: I never knew you.

    The Judaizers called upon the Lord and sincerely believed in the resurrection, and yet they were still “fallen from grace” and under God’s curse. Their “good deeds” like circumcision brought forth fruit, and that fruit was death: Romans 7:5-6.

    How do I know that Abraham knew the gospel? Because Galatians 3 says that the gospel was preached to Abraham. John 8: Abraham saw my day

  6. markmcculley Says:

    Galatians 3:13-14: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham would come…, so that we would receive the promised Spirit through faith.”

    Romans 8:10–but if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life BECAUSE OF righteousness.”

    Because the work (righteousness) is imputed, the next result will be life, not only legal forensic life (justification) but also not apart from justification the life the Holy Spirit gives by means of the gospel, so that the elect understand and believe, and are converted.

    As II Peter 1:1 starts, “To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours BY THE RIGHTEOUSNESS of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

  7. markmcculley Says:

    John Fesko—Even though we can talk about a distinction between the visible and the invisible, or between the external and internal, why should we have to choose between water and the Spirit (Word, Water and Spirit, p 241, baptism as covenant judgment)
    mark—They don’t say “water baptism”, because the Bible does not say “water baptism”, but then they add that “baptism” in the Bible is always water and that there is a “sacramental union” between water as the sign and the “efficacy” as the thing signified.
    And then almost all of them say that the water baptism of John was about the Holy Spirit, and therefore baptism by Jesus and by the church is about both the water and about the Spirit, but NOT about legal identity with Christ’s death or about justification.
    And then they explain there is one gospel only, there is only one church, and therefore the baptism by John is not water only and the baptism by Jesus is not with the Spirit only
    And in this way they know that it’s not Jesus who baptized with the Holy Spirit, but rather that the Holy Spirit “baptizes us into Christ” and so we know that water baptism is not about Christ’s death or righteousness but about the Spirit uniting us to Christ’s righteousness .
    John Fesko, 322— “It is unnecessary to choose between water baptism and Spirit baptism”
    And then Fesko on the same page ( 322) finds it necessary to say that Spirit baptism is not God’s imputation, and also Fesko explains that baptism (both water nd by the Spirit) is NOT Christ’s giving the Spirit, because the Confession teaches us that Spirit baptism is the Spirit giving us Christ by uniting us to Christ by faith.

  8. markmcculley Says:

    Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord…” – This should never be interpreted as a growth in holiness! So many teachers and preachers, from both Calvinistic and Arminian camps teach this nonsense. An individual is either holy or unholy. By definition, anyone who is spotted or blemished in any way spiritual, well, is unholy!

    Holiness is a legal reality in God’s economy. We are declared righteous by imputation only! We do not become perfectly righteous in our daily conduct. Rather, we fight against the flesh and long for the day when the Lord will destroy sin with the brightness of His coming!

    The notion that Christians somehow become practically holy or sinless in this life comes from the mistaken notion that Christ died merely in order to send the Holy Spirit into the hearts of the elect to work on them and make them better and better in conduct each and every day. This equating of the Gospel with the Holy Spirit’s work on a man’s heart instead of the cross work of Christ for His people is nothing short of heresy!

    The Gospel is not what the Spirit does to a man’s heart or individual life. The Gospel is what Christ did on behalf of God’s elect by imputing their sin to Him and imputing His righteousness to them through Christ’s obedience unto death. The Gospel is, in e https://jasonboothe.wordpress.com/2016/07/15/the-patience-of-christ-is-salvation/very way, shape, and form, the finished, completed, work of Christ!


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