Sermons on Galatians - From Physical Circumcision to the Doctrine of Repentance (II)

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For this reason we pray that finally, when our last hour has come, God would grant us a blessed end and graciously take us from this vale of tears to Himself in heaven. On the day of the final judgment, the redeemed souls in heaven will be reunited with their own now glorified bodies and will begin to enjoy the bliss of heaven in both body and soul John ; Phil. The Lutheran church has always rejected as unscriptural the idea that the soul "sleeps" between death and Judgment Day in such a way that it is not conscious of heavenly bliss.

For this reason we pray that finally, when our last hour has come, God would grant us a blessed end, and graciously take us from this vale of tears to Himself in heaven. On the day of the final judgment, the redeemed souls in heaven will be reunited with their own now glorified bodies, and will begin to enjoy the bliss of heaven in both body and soul John ; Phil. I know the Word and the promises of the Gospel are our rock, but how do we distinguish between real faith and mere intellectual assent? I ask this because many evangelicals make me nervous when they say that if one has doubts about one's salvation, one is probably not saved because the Holy Spirit is supposed to provide inner assurance.

I guess this ties in to the whole Pietist problem. But in the face of emotional ups and downs, moral failings, intellectual doubts, and confusion over doctrine, how can one know if one truly has faith in Christ? Therefore, assurance of salvation is to be sought by looking to God's Word and promises in Christ which create and strengthen the faith through which one is saved , not by looking inward at the strength or weakness of one's own faith which creates either pride and false assurance or doubt and lack of assurance.

Anxiety regarding doubts, strength of faith and certainty of salvation are signs of faith however weak it may be , not signs of unbelief, since the unbeliever has no concern or anxiety about doubts, faith or salvation. If you would like to study this issue further, I would recommend Martin Chemnitz's book on Justification, available from Concordia Publishing House , stock no. If God already predetermined who was saved, what is the point of witnessing? ANSWER: Let me first of all refer you to a couple of resources that set forth the position of the Synod on Election and objective or "universal" justification.

From the standpoint of human reason, the scriptural teachings that God has objectively justified objective justification the whole world through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ and wants all people to be saved through faith in Him subjective justification , and that He elected by grace from eternity those who are saved, cannot be resolved. We must say with Paul when he contemplates the mystery of our election, "Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!

How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! And yet, we can say this on the basis of God's Word. By faith we hold that it is precisely because we Christians are God's elect that we proclaim the good news of salvation. We see this in Ephesians, where Paul begins by praising God for His election the purest of Gospel and only meant for our comfort; Eph.

To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ This same Apostle, who regarded himself as among God's elect, wrote to the Corinthians, "For necessity is laid upon me.

Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel! We witness, therefore, because God commands us to make known His saving will to others and because we are in fact part of God's elective plan being carried out in history Eph. How does this relate to being saved by grace?

Introduction to the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians

ANSWER: The statements of the Creed read as follows: "At whose coming all men will rise again with their bodies and will give an account of their own works. And they that have done good will go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire. It is important to note that the Athanasian Creed does not here say that certain people will "enter eternal life" because they "have done good. On Judgment Day, God will point to our good works not as the cause of our salvation but as the evidence of the faith through which we have been saved and which enabled us to do that which was well-pleasing in his sight.

There are numerous Bible passages that make the same point and use the same language e. The confession of these sentences in the Athanasian Creed in our churches is, in fact, a helpful reminder of the relation of faith and good works as taught in the Bible. In this connection you may wish to review the following comments on Rom. Rather, he is discussing the principle of judgment according to deeds. Judgment will be rendered according to one's deeds in the sense that the good works of the believer give evidence that he has faith.

Good works, which are seen, give evidence of faith, which is unseen. However, in your Theses on Justification on this website it says plainly that believers have eternal assurance paragraph Which is it? ANSWER: Lutherans believe both are true and Scriptural: It is possible for a believer to fall from faith and lose salvation, and it is possible for a believer to have complete assurance of eternal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. If this seems paradoxical to human reason, then Lutherans say this is only because the teaching of Scripture itself on this issue as on many other issues appears paradoxical to human reason.

For Lutherans, this is essentially a matter of properly distinguishing between Law and Gospel: Warnings against falling from faith are the strongest form of God's Law, intended to warn against "carnal security" based on "good works" or against the attitude that "since I'm saved, I can do anything I want to do. Assurances of God's constant and eternal love in Christ are the sweetest and purest form of Gospel, intended to comfort those who are plagued by their sins and by their failures to keep God's Law perfectly.

QUESTION: I am having some trouble coming to understanding of faith alone based off of the Scripture that was cited on your website, and I was hoping for further explanation regarding the seemingly conflicting messages. I think for me what is most problematic is actually Romans 2 — not listed as a reference but essential in understanding fully Romans 3 and 4. Romans 2 is based on the idea that to be truly Jewish is to be inwardly circumcised and not outwardly circumcised and inwardly something else.

Then given Romans 3 and 4, is this necessarily an attack on good works as being a means for salvation or is this an attack on professing to be one thing and actually being another? I was just wondering because of the obvious stark contrast to James As you no doubt are aware, the central and consistent teaching of Paul that we are justified by grace alone through faith alone on account of Christ is nowhere more beautifully summarized than in Eph.

By its very definition "grace" means that human works do not contribute in any way to a person's salvation or justification, as St. Paul says in Rom. Or as the apostle had already said in , " Paul said this, of course, in the context of Jewish opinions regarding what was required for salvation. By making circumcision a necessary requirement for one to be saved See Acts ff.

The faith of which Paul speaks, of course, is a living faith in Jesus Christ that produces, by God's Spirit, the good works that God wills be done in the Christian's life. That is why, immediately after his beautiful summary of the Gospel in Eph. Of this living faith, Luther so eloquently said: "Oh faith is a living, busy, active, mighty thing, so that it is impossible for it not to be constantly doing what is good.

Likewise, faith does not ask if good works are to be done, but before one can ask, faith has already done them and is constantly active" Formula of Concord, SD, IV, This is precisely what the entire book of James is all about. Genuine faith is a faith that shows itself in good works. Or as Luther again put it once, as an apple tree makes fruit and the fruit does not make an apple tree, so works do not make a Christian, but a Christian does good works.

Lueker, editor; Concordia Publishing House, contains the following helpful summary of the Lutheran understanding of what Scripture teaches regarding the freedom of the will:. The scriptural doctrine of the freedom of the human will is closely connected with the doctrine of original sin see Sin, Original.

The doctrine of the freedom of the human will after the fall of man must be studied from the viewpoint of original sin. Scripture emphatically declares that man, also after the fall, continues to be a responsible moral agent, who in earthly matters, to some extent, may exercise freedom of will; but it asserts that "natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, Accordingly, Scripture denies to man after the fall and before conversion freedom of will in spiritual matters, and Scripture asserts that conversion is accomplished entirely through the Holy Ghost by the Gospel.

God "hath saved us It is also taught among us that man possesses some measure of freedom of the will which enables him to live an outwardly honorable life and to make choices among the things that reason comprehends. But without the grace, help, and activity of the Holy Spirit man is not capable of making himself acceptable to God, of fearing God and believing in God with his whole heart, or of expelling inborn evil lusts from his heart.

Additional Scripture passages which may be helpful as you study and discuss this issue are: John ; ; Rom. The Bible does not say that there are those who are chosen and that there are those who are not. So, does that mean God chose everyone to be saved before the foundation of the world and therefore it is man's choice whether he will accept God's saving grace? However, one cannot come into God's grace by himself, but by the Holy Spirit "leading" him unto salvation.

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Is that the correct interpretation? I am confused by the fact that we were chosen by God before the foundation of the world, yet the very action of choosing can mean there were those who were not chosen. Theologians throughout history have referred to this question as the "crux theologorum" "the cross of the theologians" because of the difficulty and from the Lutheran perspective, the impossibility of giving an answer to this question which is satisfactory to our human reason.

Lutherans reject this answer as unscriptural because according to the Bible even man's will is "dead" and powerless to "choose" God and his grace in Christ. We are saved not because we "choose" to be saved but because the Holy Spirit works faith in our heart through the Gospel even faith is a gift! Others answer this question by pointing to God's sovereign will: God himself predestines from eternity some to be saved and others to be damned.

Lutherans reject this answer as unscriptural because, according to the Bible, God sincerely desires all to be saved and has predestined no one to damnation. So how do Lutherans answer this question? The answer is that Lutherans do not try to answer it because we believe the Bible itself does not provide an answer to this question that is comprehensible to human reason. Lutherans affirm, with Scripture, that whoever is saved is saved by God's grace alone, a grace so sure that it excludes all human "action" and "choice" but rather rests on the foundation of God's action in Christ and his "choice" predestination from before the beginning of time.

Lutherans also affirm, with Scripture, that those who are damned are damned not by God's "choice" but on account of their own human sin and rebellion and unbelief. From a human perspective, there is no "rational" or "logical" way to put these two truths together. Lutherans believe and confess them not because they are "rational" and "logical," but because this is what we find taught in Scripture.

Given that he is saved by faith, does God see to it that he will do good works, and, if so, does God fix the number and character of these works? Can a person with faith feel assured he is doing enough good works and that God is indifferent to further ones? Can a person who is not saved do good works? Is God indifferent to them? Or is He glad when an agnostic performs an act of Christ-like mercy? If a Christian knows he is saved by knowing that he has faith, should he bother with the question whether he is practicing Christ's teachings, given that faith alone is sufficient for salvation?

Or should he bother with it only because a large enough absence of good works would suggest his faith might be too weak for salvation? We need to be merciful and forgiving to one another. Also encourage one another to do good works Heb. Consider this Word to be the answer to your next two questions: "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" Eph. The answer to the second part of this question is no, we cannot feel assured that we have done or are doing enough good works, since we do not know how many God has set for us to do.

We don't know what God's plans are. If God has prepared in advance the works we are to do, He cannot be indifferent to any of our good works. Again, we need to encourage one another to do good works. All our good works are tainted with sin. Therefore, they cannot be counted for our salvation. Only the perfect, all-sufficient righteousness Jesus accomplished for us with His perfect life will be enough for our salvation. This comes to us by grace, imputed to us through faith, faith being a gift of God Eph. God recognizes the Christ-like good works of the unbeliever as good in the sense that they are done according to the divine Law written in their hearts Rom.

However, since they come from a wicked heart that is dead in trespasses and sins Eph. In the Kingdom of God's power, the civil righteousness — the good works of unbelievers — are good only outwardly. These are necessary for the welfare of human society, and God even rewards them with temporal blessings.

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But these good works of the unbelievers get them nowhere with God in His Kingdom of grace. Even works of civil righteousness will ultimately receive the condemnation of Jesus and will not prevent eternal punishment Matt. By grace, God has given him faith in Jesus, and it is through that faith he is saved. For example, Abraham believed God had faith, not just knew he had faith , and it was credited to him as righteousness Rom.

Yes, the Christian should bother whether he is doing Christ's good works, even though he is saved by faith alone. It is God's will and express command that a Christian should do good works, which the Holy Spirit works in him. Christ's good works are indicators that a Christian has Christ's faith and not something else. Christ's good works will be the products of that faith, and those good works will be the public signs on which Christ will pronounce His public final judgment Matthew Saving faith is not contingent upon the amount of works one does, but is a gift of the Holy Spirit through the Gospel.

Trust in Jesus above all for forgiveness and life eternal. Work while it is day before night comes when we cannot work, knowing God has given us a purpose and things to do for Him in this short life. But we do know God is all forgiving and that he died for all of our sins. To me, this sounds like double talk. On one hand we are not to sin, but on the other hand, we don't have to worry as long as we believe in our Lord Jesus Christ everything will be okay.

I don't think our Lord came down and taught for three years on how to be holy and lead good lives and then die on the cross so that we can do what we want. Don't we have to ask for forgiveness, be truly sorry and really try to amend our life in order to be saved? So go to him and ask him to explain further. Scripture teaches us to repent of our sins — to be truly sorry for them and trust in Christ for forgiveness, every time we sin. At the same time, we sincerely and earnestly resolve, by the assistance of God the Holy Spirit, to henceforth amend our sinful lives.

We do not play around with this. But repenting thus does not mean we will never sin again. When we sin again, we go again in repentance and faith and resolve, and God forgives again. As we trust in Jesus' merits, God forgives and saves us. In the end, it is unbelief — failure to trust in Jesus — that will condemn us to hell. Being saved does not depend on how hard we try to amend our sinful life, but as Paul said to the jailer in Philippi when he asked what he should do to be saved: "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.

Then, being forgiven in Christ, we will be compelled by God's love to leave our sins and live as God wants us to live. Such warnings are intended for Christians who appear to be lacking a right understanding of the seriousness of their sin and of God's judgment against sin, and who, therefore, are in danger of developing a false and proud "security" based not on God's grace, but on their own works, self-righteousness, or freedom to "do as they please.


By the same token, the LCMS affirms and treasures all of the wonderful passages in Scripture in which God promises He will never forsake those who trust in Christ Jesus alone for salvation John ; Rom. To those who are truly repentant and recognize their need for God's grace and forgiveness, such passages are powerful reminders of the true security that is ours through sincere and humble faith in Christ alone for our salvation. A person may be restored to faith in the same way he or she came to faith in the first place — by repenting of his or her sin and unbelief and trusting completely in the life, death and resurrection of Christ alone for forgiveness and salvation.

Whenever a person does repent and believe, this always takes place by the grace of God alone and by the power of the Holy Spirit working through God's Word in a person's heart. If one is predestined to be adopted as a redeemed child of God, then does it follow that another is predestined to not be adopted and therefore damned? Like so many teachings of Scripture e. We believe it not because it "makes sense" to human reason, but because this is what we find taught in the pages of God's holy Word. This is doubtless the best-known meal prayer among American Lutherans London, Komm, Herr Jesu!

And bless what you have bestowed. It is likely that the text has an earlier, possibly Lutheran, origin. Louis, , 15th ed. Louis in This volume of Evangelical-Lutheran Prayer Treasures underwent numerous reprintings even as late as You may wish to read an article by David W. Martin H. Scharlemann of our St. Louis seminary wrote an excellent article on the Descent into Hell , and in particular on 1 Peter , the key text for the teaching.

I mention this article because in the introductory section of it, Dr. Scharlemann reviews history of its inclusion in the creeds of the church. He points out, first of all, that the article on the Descent was added to the Apostles' Creed at a rather late date and that it did not come into general use until the sixth century much after the Nicene Creed, adopted in A. The earliest reference to the Descent is found in a document dating A. The remainder of the article then shows on the basis of 1 Peter 3 that the confession of Christ's descent is firmly rooted in this text of the Scriptures.

He descended into hell. The third day he rose again While this passage does not provide a great deal of detailed information about this event, it is clear that after Christ died he was "made alive in the spirit" and that in this state of exaltation he descended into hell—not to suffer, but to proclaim his victory over hell and the devil.

The events of Easter Christ's physical resurrection then followed, and eventually 40 days later his physical, visible ascension into heaven. Could you explain this more fully to me? Did Jesus have to be tormented in hell as part of the payment for our sins, or was the finished work of Christ completed on the cross through his death and shed blood for the full payment for our sins? ANSWER: Lutherans believe Jesus descended into hell not to suffer for our sins but to proclaim his victory over sin, death, hell, and the devil see 1 Peter Thus, Lutheran theologians have always considered Jesus' descent into hell to be the first of Christ's works of "exaltation" mentioned in the Creed rather than part of his work of "humiliation.

Christ's suffering for our sins ended with his death on the cross, and the final stage of his "humiliation" was his burial, not his descent into hell. Do these phrases diminish the Holiness of the Three in One? ANSWER: Significantly, the Athanasian Creed, which summarizes the doctrine of the Trinity as confessed by the church through the ages, begins by stating: "And the catholic faith is this, that we worship one God in three persons and three persons in one God, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the substance.

It is clear from the Creed that to make statements such as "the Father is Jesus" or "the Holy Spirit is Jesus" is to confuse the persons of the Holy Trinity. At the same time, according to the Creed the three distinct persons of the Trinity are of one substance or essence. When the Scriptures speak of the three persons of the Trinity as God the Father is God; the Son is God; the Spirit is God they mean that each of the persons, though distinct, are of one divine essence: they are God.

As I know you agree, the Holy Trinity in Whom we believe is a profound mystery that is beyond human comprehension. This implies a twofold caution. On the one hand, we are bound only to what God has revealed about Himself in the Word, and thus we can say no more and no less than what the Scriptures teach. The Lord made a covenant with Abraham, the great patriarch, that all nations would be blessed through him [see Genesis ].

Any man or woman can claim the blessings of Abraham. They become his seed and heirs to the promised blessings by accepting the gospel, being baptized, entering into temple marriage, being faithful in keeping their covenants, and helping to carry the gospel to all the nations of the earth. The Prophet Joseph Smith —44 taught that the fulness of the gospel was indeed taught to Abraham, as it was to all the righteous Saints who lived before the time of the Savior:.

Adam and Eve are another example of ancient Saints who offered up animal sacrifices to the Lord while also being taught the gospel of Jesus Christ see Moses —8 ; — According to this way of thinking, Jesus had to be regarded as cursed by God. These blessings can be summarized as receiving a land of inheritance see Genesis —15 ; Abraham , having posterity as numerous as the dust of the earth see Genesis ; , receiving the priesthood and the gospel see Abraham , and ultimately receiving eternal life see Abraham The fulness of these blessings can be received only in the eternities to come as we receive an eternal inheritance in the celestial kingdom.

After teaching that the performances of the law of Moses do not justify us before God, Paul explained why God gave the law of Moses to Israel see Galatians — One way the law of Moses would have prepared Israel to receive Christ was to cause people to realize that they could not keep the law perfectly and therefore needed a Savior see Romans , 23—24 ; Galatians The Book of Mormon prophet Abinadi gave a very clear explanation of the purpose of the law of Moses, found in Mosiah — Johnson of the Seventy taught that the problem Paul addressed in Galatians teaches us about the importance of accepting changes the Lord makes in His kingdom:.

Other verses dealing with salvation

Resistance to inspired change hinders progress of the kingdom. For example, in the last half of the New Testament a major challenge the Church faced was the issue of gentile converts being assimilated as Christians. The problem stemmed from the fact that many Jewish Christians felt that gentile converts should be required to adhere to the ceremonial law of Moses. This was a major change for the Church, and many members struggled with it. One reason for this was the unauthorized addition of requirements and traditions around the law that helped obscure its real intent.

Paul taught that the cultural separations that existed between Jews and Gentiles, slaves and masters, or men and women should no longer divide people in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Depicts the Savior surrounded by people of various races and nationalities. Oaks explained how the Church today, like the New Testament Church, extends the invitation to all to come unto Christ:.

They taught Gentiles and Jews, attempting to make each of them into followers of Christ. Faust explained how there can be both diversity and unity in the Church:. Each group brings special gifts and talents to the table of the Lord. We can all learn much of value from each other. But each of us should also voluntarily seek to enjoy all of the unifying and saving covenants, ordinances, and doctrines of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. We become heirs to the kingdom of God, having joined the body of Christ and spiritually set aside some of our personal differences to unite in a greater spiritual cause.

We say to all who have joined the Church, keep all that is noble, good, and uplifting in your culture and personal identity. There are some ways in which our covenant relationship with God is like the relationship of a servant to his master see Luke —10 ; Mosiah , 21 ; But Paul taught the Galatians that our relationship with God is better understood as that of a child to a father see Galatians —9. In the parable of the prodigal son, the Savior taught that our Father in Heaven wants us to be His children in the gospel covenant. Paul reminded the Galatian Saints of how well they had received him earlier see Galatians — The Jewish-Christian teachers who had led the Galatian Saints astray had opposed Paul and imposed the burdens of the Mosaic law upon the people, leading to a loss of happiness.

The gospel of Jesus Christ, on the other hand, is meant to bring lasting joy see John ; Galatians Paul asked the Galatian Saints to follow his example of someone who had lived the gospel and been greatly blessed. McConkie explained this comparison:. Ishmael was born after the flesh, while Isaac, as a child of promise, came forth after the Spirit.

Hagar is thus made to represent the old covenant, the law of Moses, the covenant under which men were subject to the bondage of sin; while Sarah symbolizes the new covenant, the gospel, the covenant under which men are made free, free from bondage and sin through Christ. Sinai, from whence the law came, and Jerusalem, from whence it is now administered, symbolize the law, and their children are in bondage. But the spiritual Jerusalem, the heavenly city of which the saints shall be citizens, is symbolized by Sarah, and she is the mother of freemen.

Sarah, who was so long barren, as our spiritual mother, has now made us all, like Isaac, heirs of promise. Paul used Hagar and Ishmael as symbols for the law of Moses, which was received on Mount Sinai, and for the earthly city of Jerusalem. The law of Moses led to bondage, and Jerusalem was in bondage to the Romans see Galatians — Paul used Sarah and Isaac as symbols for the freedom of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the heavenly city of Jerusalem, which is free from bondage see Galatians — He had apparently been there for some time, 44 long enough for it to be observed that his custom at least while he was with these Gentile Christians was to live like them, rather than to live as a Jew.

Such customs were not new to Peter, for that was the way he had been instructed to associate with Cornelius and the other Gentiles who had gathered at his house cf. Acts In time, a party of Jews from Jerusalem arrived. He may have only meant to refer to the fact that James was recognized as the dominant leader in Jerusalem and that to come from Jerusalem was, in effect, to come from James.

On the other hand, James must at least have been informed of this visit and might even have been the initiator of it. Peter gradually 46 began to withdraw from the Gentiles and to avoid them. This behavior was most evident at meal time. Joseph Bayly describes some of the changes which occur in the behavior of the loved ones of those who are dying:.

Nurses have mentioned a pattern of behavior to me: first a wife will kiss her husband on the mouth, then on the cheek, then the forehead, and finally she will blow him a kiss from the door. The change is not lost on him. A similar change occurred at the dinner table at Antioch. Then these Jewish guests were joined by Peter and eventually by all the other Jewish Christians except Paul.

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  6. Finally, there were two groups at meal time, the Jewish party and the Gentile party. If the church at Antioch observed communion with a common meal as we would expect cf. When Paul recognized the seriousness of the situation 48 he confronted Peter personally and publicly vv.

    Peter was corrected before all because the Jews had been wrong to follow him, and the Gentiles had been injured by their actions. Peter was singled out because even in his wrong-doing he was a leader. The actions of Peter and those who followed him were clearly identified as sin. There were several reasons why their relationship to the Gentiles in Antioch or should I say their response to the Jews from Jerusalem could not be taken lightly. It is safe to say that the others were also motivated out of a desire not to offend, either the Judaizers or Peter.

    What Peter did, others did after him, following his lead. They had not deliberately departed from right doctrine: they had simply deviated from it in practice. What Peter did compelled the Gentiles to live like Jews v. The major argument of this section is concerned with this deviation. May it never be! The principle reason, however, is that the truth of the gospel had been forsaken. The gospel in practice had violated the gospel in principle. Verses contain three arguments 50 which show that such actions deserved rebuke.

    The first argument verse 14 is directed against Peter.

    Galatians Bible Study Part 2

    Paul stands toe to toe, eyeball to eyeball with Peter, charging him with acting hypocritically. Though Peter was a Jew, he lived as a Gentile, at least during his stay in Antioch. When Peter arrived in Antioch, he lived there according to the customs of the Gentile, and not as a Jew.

    Peter began to live as a Jew, compelling the Gentile believers to live like him as a Jew in order to have fellowship with him and the other Jewish believers. What inconsistency! What hypocrisy! If Peter, a Jew, did not need to live like a Jew, why did he demand by his actions that Gentile Christians live like the Jews? Let me attempt to illustrate the inconsistency of Peter in a way that may be more relevant to us. The men who work there are required to have short hair and to dress in a dark suit and tie.

    Perot suddenly has a change of mind and that he liberalizes the rules so that employees are now permitted either to dress as formerly in shirt, suit, and tie, or, they may now come to work in jeans and T-shirts. It quickly becomes evident that there are two different categories of employee, both of which have the approval of Ross Perot. They continue to wear dark suits and ties, which is, of course, completely in compliance with the new policy.

    The other group consists of those wearing T-shirts, jeans, and sneakers. Soon, problems begin to develop between the two groups. The old guard like the Pharisees continues to dress as formerly in suits and ties and begins to pressure the other employees to do likewise. To make them feel more at ease, he keeps a change of clothes in his locker so each week he can change into jeans and sneakers before attending the study.

    In fact, they refuse to even sit near him when he is wearing a T-shirt and sneakers. In order to remain on good terms with his old friends, Peter not only reverts to the former dress code but slowly withdraws from the other Christians who still dress casually. Peter is wrong and is worthy of rebuke because he has acted hypocritically. He not only has given up the freedom he once enjoyed in his manner of dress, but he also functionally has forced others to surrender as well.

    Behind this rhyme there is a note of smug superiority. There is likewise a strong sense of superiority behind the words of verse Paul cited these words to reveal the attitude underlying the Jewish withdrawal from fellowship with the Gentile Christians. The Judaizers felt they could not eat with the Gentiles because they were sinners and would continue to be until they were converted to Judaism. At the root of the Judaizers sense of superiority was a deep-seated racial prejudice. Jews felt that by nature, by birth, they were somehow endowed with a spiritual superiority.

    This mentality is evident in the Gospels as well cf.

    6. Peter’s Capitulation and Paul’s Correction (Galatians ) |

    John ; The carnal Jew concluded that by virtue of being Jewish he was pious, while the Gentile, by virtue of his birth, was sinful. The only way that such pride could be maintained within Christianity was for the Jewish Christians to insist that the Gentile converts adopt Judaism in addition to trusting in Christ. Thus the smug superiority of some of the Jewish Christians, which caused them to look down their spiritual noses at the Gentiles as sinners, was founded on a misconception.

    In verse 17a Paul drives the point of verse 16 home, which leads to a further question v. Those who seek to be saved justified by faith in Christ, whether Jew or Gentile, acknowledge their sinful state. Acceptance of the gospel is admission of sin and human inability for both Jews and Gentiles. By nature, both Jews and Gentiles are sinners, so that neither group has any grounds for feeling superior to the other. This argument is also found in the epistle to the Ephesians:.

    And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest Eph. The fact that the gospel views Jews, as well as Gentiles, as sinners, caused the Judaizers much grief. If this were true, they reasoned, then their standing before God was really better under the old covenant than under the new.

    It seemed to them that the gospel promoted sin, for in the previous dispensation, under the law, the Jews were righteous, and the Gentiles were sinners. However under the new covenant the gospel , both Jews and Gentiles are each sinners. Such a conclusion is in error. As Paul will demonstrate in Galatians 3 and 4, the law never did save, nor sanctify.