Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace (Part 35) - Gal 2:16; Gal 3:2,6,8,14,22Submitted by Pastor Chad Wagner on Wednesday, December 24, 2014.
For a paperback book in outline form which addresses over 150 difficult verses that Arminians use against Sovereign Grace, check out: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace: Rooting Arminianism Out of Every Verse. For a master copy of the outline, click here: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace 85. Gal 2:16 A. "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." (Gal 2:16) B. Is our belief in Jesus a condition for us to become eternally (effectually) justified by the faith of Christ? C. It is the faith of Jesus Christ (Christ's faith) which justifies (effectually) a man (Gal 2:16a; Rom 3:22; Phi 3:9). D. True believers believe that they are justified (effectually) by the faith of Christ (Gal 2:16b), not by their faith which is a work of the law (Gal 2:16c c/w Joh 6:28-29 c/w Mat 23:23 c/w 1Th 1:3). E. They believe that their faith is the evidence, not the cause, of eternal life (See Joh 5:24 - Section III). F. For more information on the two-fold nature of justification (effectual and evidential), see Section II,9 on Two Justifications. 86. Gal 3:2 A. "This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" (Gal 3:2) B. Is Paul implying with his question that the Galatians received the Spirit by their faith? i. Yes, the underlying theme in the book of Galatians is that we are not justified, made righteous, or given life by the works of the law (ex: Gal 2:16, 21; 3:21). ii. Therefore the answer to Paul's question is that the Galatians received the Spirit by the hearing of faith, and not the works of the law. iii. But in what way did they receive the Spirit by faith? C. A man can receive the Spirit in two ways: eternally and temporally. D. He can receive the Spirit in an eternal manner through regeneration. i. The Holy Spirit regenerates and renews the heart and spirit of God's elect (Tit 3:5; Joh 6:63; Eze 36:26). ii. When God gives His elect a new heart and puts a new spirit within them, He puts His Spirit within them (Eze 36:27). iii. God sends the Spirit into the hearts of His elect because they are His sons by adoption (Gal 4:5-6 c/w Eph 1:4-5). iv. This indwelling of the Holy Ghost isn't received by the works of the law (Tit 3:5). v. Neither is it received by a man's faith since a man has to first have the Spirit of God before he can know and receive spiritual things by faith (1Co 2:12,14). vi. Therefore, Paul is not referring to regeneration when he asked how the Galatians received the Spirit. E. He can also receive the Spirit in a temporal manner through faith. i. Christ dwells in our hearts by faith (Eph 3:17). ii. Those who believe on Christ receive a special ministration of the Holy Ghost when they are baptized into the church in which He dwells (Joh 7:37-39 c/w Act 2:1-4 c/w Act 2:38 c/w 1Co 12:13 c/w Gal 3:5). iii. It was in this way that the Galatians had received the Spirit when they had by faith been baptized into Christ (Gal 3:27). 87. Gal 3:6 A. "Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." (Gal 3:6) B. Does this verse say that Abraham became righteous when he believed God? C. No, it doesn't. D. Accounted adj. - Counted, reckoned, considered. E. Rather than showing that Abraham was made righteous by his faith, this verse shows that he was counted or considered (shown to be) righteous by his faith (See Section II,9,C on Justification and Rom 4:3 - Section III). 88. Gal 3:8 A. "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." (Gal 3:8) B. Does this verse teach that God made the Gentiles righteous (effectually justified them) through their faith. C. God justified the heathen (Gentiles) in two ways. i. They are justified in the sense of being made righteous by Christ's faith (the faith of Christ) (effectual justification) (Gal 2:16; Rom 3:22). ii. They are justified in the sense of being counted or considered righteous (shown to be righteous) by their faith (evidential justification) (Rom 4:3). iii. See Section II,9,B&C on Justification and Rom 3:30 - Section III. 89. Gal 3:14 A. "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." (Gal 3:14) B. What is the promise of the Spirit, and by whose faith is it received? C. "The promise of the Spirit." i. This phrase can be understood in either the objective genitive or the subjective genitive. a. If used in the objective genitive, the Spirit is promised. b. If used in the subjective genitive, the Spirit promises. ii. The promise made to Abraham and his seed was a promise of an eternal inheritance of the land of Canaan (Gen 17:7-8). a. The promise was not for the earthly land of Canaan, as it would not last for an eternity. b. In fact, Abraham never inherited a square inch of the earthly land of Canaan (Act 7:5). c. Abraham knew that the land and city that were promised to him and his seed for an everlasting possession were heavenly, not earthly (Heb 11:8-10, 13-16). iii. The promise under consideration in Gal 3:14 is the inheritance which God gave to Abraham by promise (Gal 3:18). a. Therefore "the promise of the Spirit" is used in the subjective genitive: the Spirit made the promise to Abraham. b. The Holy Ghost/Spirit, who is God (1Jo 5:7), made the promise to Abraham. D. The promise of eternal inheritance is to they which are called (Heb 9:15). i. This is the effectual call from spiritual death unto life, and all who are called in this way are justified (Rom 8:30). ii. Those who are justified by God's grace are made heirs of eternal life (Tit 3:7). iii. The promise to Abraham that "in thee shall all nations be blessed" was accomplished by God justifying the heathen (Gentiles) by Christ's faith (Gal 3:8 c/w Gal 2:16). iv. Therefore, "the promise of the Spirit through faith" (Gal 3:14) was by the "faith of Jesus Christ" (Gal 3:22). v. "Them that believe" (Gal 3:22) are those who manifest themselves to be the children of Abraham (Gal 3:7), which is the evidence that they are the seed of Abraham and therefore heirs of the promise which was made to him and his seed (Gal 3:16 c/w Gal 3:29). vi. Their belief is the evidence (not the cause - Joh 5:24) which identifies them as those whom "Christ hath redeemed" (Gal 3:13) and justified by His grace (Rom 3:24) and His faith (Rom 3:22 c/w Gal 2:16), making them heirs of the promise of eternal life (Tit 3:7). 90. Gal 3:22 A. "But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe." (Gal 3:22) B. Is the promise by Christ's faith conditioned on a person's faith? C. See Gal 3:14 - Section III. For a master copy of the outline, click here: Problem Texts for Sovereign Grace