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WHI-985 | The Book of Galatians (Pt 5)

Posted by on in 2010 Show Archive
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What does it mean to walk by the Spirit? How does our sanctification relate to our freedom in Christ and justification? The hosts discuss these issues and more as they conclude their five part series through Paul's letter the to the Galatians.

What does it mean to walk by the Spirit? How does our sanctification relate to our freedom in Christ and justification? The hosts discuss these issues and more as they conclude their five part series through Paul's letter the to the Galatians.


Following Jesus
Michael Horton
Gospel-Driven Sanctification
Jerry Bridges
A New Creation
Michael Horton


The Law of Perfect Freedom
Michael Horton
Growing in Christ
J.I. Packer
Sanctification, Christ in Action
Harold Senkbeil


[audio:http://www.whitehorseinn.org/whiarchives/2010whi985feb21.mp3|titles=WHI 985|artists=White Horse Inn]



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  • Guest - Kimberly

    I've been struggling to understand Gal 5:21 ("I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God") for a few days now. I've listened to the corresponding sermon by Pastor Tullian twice and I downloaded the Galatians study kit with this episode and listened to Part-5 three times now.

    The commentaries say all sorts of things about this passage, some of which aren't really encouraging for the believer.

    After doing more searching I finally found your article: The Pain and the Gain of True Holiness (http://www.whitehorseinn.org/blog/2012/03/02/the-pain-and-the-gain-of-true-holiness/) and found it to be very helpful with this verse. So thank you so much for that blog post.

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  • Guest - Richard UK

    Michael hi

    You ask the question ‘Am I not then taking back with the left (with requirements) what I had given with the right (freedom)’ to which the others answer ‘No’. But I’d value it if you would pin down more this issue of neo-nomianism.

    The broadcast suggests, once the sword of Damocles (condemnation and tyranny) is removed, that we ‘find ourselves loving our neighbour’ - although elsewhere that we may need to be given ‘commands’ to do, or how to do this.*

    The evangelical church tends to approach the Galatians as if they were unbelievers who had heard the gospel but were nervously wondering if it indeed allowed them to leave their works mentality at the door, to which the answer is ‘Yes! Come on in; the water’s warm!’ Thus the epistle clarifies the gospel for unbelievers, and the need for justification sola fide.

    But surely the epistle, and the danger, is more subtle. The Galatians, like us, are believers but their mistake is to pick up the burden of works again after they have passed through the door – which I believe is called neo-nomianism. They have been taught the Third use of the Law in a way that would sit most uneasily with Luther’s Law-Gospel divide (Forde, Poulson etc).

    Evangelicals don’t seem to address this neonomian risk; how can we tell whether we are continuing in the Christian life (i) in the power of the Holy Spirit or (ii) in our own strength. They assume it is automatically the first when we pray, and that the ‘own strength’ option is only ever present in crude attempts at self-justification. But the ‘own strength’ is also pursued as part of sanctification by people with a tender conscience but yet know they are Christians. They have been told ‘you want to serve God’; ‘you ought to want to serve God’; ‘you are grateful’; ‘you ought to be’; ‘Be what you are in Christ’; ‘Become what you are’; ‘this is the family way’ etc etc.

    All these put pressure back on that poor pilgrim. There now seems to him a new condemnation and tyranny approaching. He hears ‘You are free…but not to indulge yourself’. He wonders just how very different in practice that is from the old law. We are not bold enough to use Luther’s words on sin to Melanchthon; and if a believer wants licence, let him; it will not satisfy him for long. Apply more gospel to him, not more law which always elicits rebellion. I am not advocating Antinomianism, or Romanism (that justification only follows sanctification) but only that if our sanctification is not by faith, then nor was our justification.

    Ps – surely Rom 6 v1 answers the question ‘Ought I to remain in sin?’ Then the next bit of Rom 6 makes sense. However, given its usual meaning of ‘Can I please remain in sin?’ we then get bogged down in unhappy disputes about how Paul’s extraordinary words can remotely be useful to someone intent on licence. Note too that Paul here speaks of sin (who is your master?) not of sins nor even of gratitude

    *Pps – yes, there are commands in Gal 5 etc, but these are ectypally ‘performative’ (God’s word that performs what it utters’), rather than guidelines for us as an agent of restored free will. Responsibility does not necessarily mean ability

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