GALATIANS CHAPTER 5, cont.

I) PAUL DEFENDS THE DOCTRINE OF CHRISTIAN LIBERTY (5:1-6:10)

B) THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS TO BE APART FROM THE LICENSE TO SIN

1) [Gal 5:13-21]:

(v. 13) "For you [believers] were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh.... [ = another term for the sin nature, (ref. Eph 2:3; Ro 8:1-8)]...but through love serve one another.

(v. 14) The entire law is summed up in a single command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

(v. 15) If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

(v. 16) But I say [to believers], walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

(v. 17) For the flesh sets its desire against the spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.

(v. 18) But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

(v. 19) The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;

(v. 20) idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions

(v. 21) and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

a) TRUE BELIEVERS CAN & DO COMMIT SINS

i) INTRODUCTION

Verses 13 through 21 of Galatians chapter 5 indicate that believers have a propensity to and do sin. This is brought about by the intrinsic sin nature in that believer which still has the potential to produce sin, (vv. 16-17).

At this point, one might ask those who claim that there is no intrinsic sin nature in the believer, 'What is it in him then that has the potential to sin which this passage is pointing to - certainly not the new nature?

i_a) [New nature: cp. Eph 4:22-24]:

(v. 22) "You, [believers, (v. 4:1)] were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, [ton palaion anthropon = the old man, i.e., the old sin nature which still exists in the believer, (cp. Ro 7:21-25)], which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;

(v. 23) to be made new in the attitude of your minds;

(v. 24) and to put on the new self [the regenerate self which is indwelt by God the Holy Spirit], created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."

For this passage in Galatians chapter 5 and many other passages in Scripture warn believers not to sin, which indicates that believers do have such a potential. The truth of the matter is that, although God has broken the enslavement of the believer to the sin nature by crucifying it with Christ...

i_b) [Ro 6:6-7]:

(v. 6) "For we [believers, (v. 1)] know that our old self [i.e., the sin nature, cp. Col. 3:9; Eph 4:22] was crucified [made dead] with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin -

(v. 7) because anyone who has died has been freed from sin [i.e., the controlling influence of the sin nature, (v. 12)]"

...the believer still has that sin nature as part of his intrinsic being and he can indeed succomb to its desires at any time:

i_c) [Ro 6:12-14]:

(v. 12) "Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.

["sin" = sin, singular = sin nature in this context. Notice that there is a choice to return control of ones life to the sin nature]

(v. 13) Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness."

ii) CLEAR EXAMPLES IN SCRIPTURE OF GENUINE BELIEVERS WHO DID NOT PERSEVERE IN GOOD WORKS

ii_a) INTRODUCTION

[Robert N. Wilkin states, (Journal of the GRACE EVANGELICAL SOCIETY, "Christians Who Lose Their Legacy: Galatians 5:21", p. 26)]:

"...There are clear examples in Scripture of genuine believers who did not persevere in good works, but who instead walked in the flesh.

ii_b) Solomon ended his life as an idolator (1 Kings 11).

ii_c) Many of the believers in Corinth, although five years old as Christians, were carnal and fleshly - yet they are called babes in Christ (1 Cor 3:1-3).

ii_d) One believer at Corinth was actually living in immorality with his stepmother and was brazenly unrepentant (1 Cor 5:5).

ii_e) A number of believers in Corinth were sick, and some had already died, as a result of their selfish and drunken disregard for the sacredness of the Lord's Supper (1 Cor 11:30).

ii_f) Demas, whom Paul at least twice referred to as his co-laborer in Christ's service (Col 4:14; Phlm 24), later is said by Paul to have 'forsaken me, having loved this present world' (2 Tim 4:10).

ii_g) Likewise James refers to the need to turn back fellow believers who have wandered from the truth (Jas 5:19-20)."

....Paul is saying that it is possible for genuine believers to walk in the flesh and practice the sins mentioned in the vice list (cf. vv 16, 17, 21, 25, 26)"

ii_h) Conclusion

Bob Wilkin, cont:

"...The immediate context [of Gal 5:19-21] explicitly rejects the... [false]...doctrine [of the required] perseverance of the saints [in order to demonstrate that one is saved]. Rather than affirming that all true believers will walk in the Spirit, Paul commands the believers at the churches of Galatia to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. Such an admonition would be misplaced if addressed to an unbeliever since it is impossible for those devoid of the Holy Spirit to walk in the Spirit...."

ii_h_Compare Ro 8:6-8]:

(v. 6) "The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;

(v. 7) the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so.

(v. 8) Those controlled by the sinful nature [= all unbelievers] cannot please God [and do any good works]."

2) [Gal 5:21b]:

"I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."

a) THOSE [BELIEVERS] WHO LIVE LIKE THIS WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD =

i) BELIEVERS ARE BEING WARNED NOT UNBELIEVERS

[Bob Wilkin, cont.]:

"...The Book of Galatians is addressed to genuine believers (Gal 1:8-9) and there is no indication in the context of chapter five that unbelievers are being warned. In fact, exactly the opposite is true. In 5:13 Paul refers to those addressed in 5:13-26 as brethren. Furthermore, in 6:1 Paul again refers to those being warned as brethren, and he gives instructions for the spiritual among them to restore those who become ensnared by the deeds of the flesh."

ii) THIS IS A WARNING TO BELIEVERS WITH CONSEQUENCES IF THEY DO NOT HEED IT, NOT AN EXHORTATION TO BE FAITHFUL BECAUSE BELIEVERS WILL AUTOMATICALLY INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD THUS FALSELY EQUATING INHERITING THE KINGDOM WITH INHERITING ETERNAL LIFE

i_a) INTRODUCTION

[Wilkin, op. cit., p. 24]:

"According to [some], Paul was calling genuine believers to live in a manner worthy of their high calling as children of God [which is done elsewhere in Scripture]: (cf. Eph 4:1, 16; 5:5-7)...

[In other words, it is maintained by some that in Galatians chapter 5, Paul is making an appeal to the Christian conscience to live a faithful life but consequences if they do not are not in view]:

[Some say that Paul is saying to believers that]...it doesn't make sense for believers, those who [some falsely maintain] will all inherit the kingdom to live like the unrighteous, i.e., unbelievers who will not inherit the kingdom"

[So there is a false point being made here that the phrase 'inherit the kingdom' is synonymous with 'inheriting eternal life']

iii) "THOSE WHO DO SUCH THINGS" = REFERS TO GENUINE BELIEVERS NOT UNBELIEVERS

[Wilkin, op. cit., p. 28]:

"The major weakness of this view [that 'inherit the kingdom' is synonymous with 'inheriting eternal life'] is that there is nothing in the context to suggest that 'those who do such things' refers to unbelievers [instead of believers]. Indeed, as mentioned above, just the opposite is true. The context suggests that it is the Galatian believers (and by application all believers) who are in danger of losing their legacy.

iv) GALATIANS 5:21B IS A WARNING WITH A CONSEQUENCE NOT A SIMPLE EXHORTATION

"[The view of merely an exhortation to believers without consequences] eliminates any explicit warning. Why would Paul fail to say in context what the believer who walked in the flesh will lose?"

iv_a) [Compare Gal 6:8]:

[Wilkins, op. cit., p. 33]:

"In a parallel section in the next chapter (Gal 6:6-10). Paul states that those who sow to the flesh will reap corruption."

"Galatians 5:19-23 and 6:7-9 are talking about the same subject: walking in the Spirit versus walking in the flesh. It would thus be very helpful to consider... [Gal 6:8], since it is [in] a parallel passage within the same book and even the same subsection of the book...

Galatians 6:8 says...

"The one [believer, (v. 6)] who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap corruption[phthoran = corruption, destruction]; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life."

...The expression will reap corruption in 6:8 is parallel to not inheriting the kingdom in 5:21....

[So whatever corruption means in Gal 6:6-10 must parallel what 'will not inherit the kingdom' means in Gal chapter 5]

...Corruption (phthora) refers to 'ruin, destruction, dissolution, deterioration, [or] corruption.'

[Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich, and Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2nd ed., 1979), 858]

It could refer to many types of ruin, corruption, etc...

...These verses are dealing with something which believers reap for work done. Eternal salvation is not a reward for work done. Rather, it is a free gift...

iv_b) [Ro 3:22b-24]:

(v. 22b) "There is no difference,

(v. 23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

(v. 24) and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."]

...Since the expression will reap corruption in Gal 6:8 refers to loss of eternal treasure (and possibly as well to loss of present joy [even premature death, (1 Jn 5:16-17)] the parallel expression will not inherit the kingdom in 5:21 conveys the same sense."

v) SINCE CLEAR PASSAGES ELSEWHERE IN SCRIPTURE TEACH THAT ETERNAL LIFE IS SECURE IN THE BELIEVER, LOSS OF SALVATION CANNOT BE IN VIEW

v_a) THE BIBLE TEACHES ETERNAL SECURITY

Individuals who have trusted alone in Christ alone unto eternal life immediately have their eternal destiny sealed and secured in heaven by God Himself, (Eph 1:13-14), and have eternal life immediately as a possession, (Jn 3:16).

REF: ETERNAL SECURITY, DETAILED STUDY

v_b) BUT INHERITANCE AND CO-RULERSHIP IS NOT A GUARANTEE

But what they do not have guaranteed to them is their inheritance and co-rulership of the kingdom of God with Jesus Christ when they do get there.

vi) INHERITING THE KINGDOM OF GOD CANNOT BE REFERRING TO INHERITING ETERNAL LIFE BECAUSE FLESH AND BLOOD CANNOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD:

Detailed study

vi_a) [1 Cor 15:50]:

"I [Paul] declare to you, brothers [i.e., believers], that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable."

"flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God" =

[Wilkin, op. cit., p. 31]:

"Paul is defending the doctrine of the bodily resurrection of the dead in the fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians. In v. 50 he is reminding believers that only those with resurrected bodies can inherit the kingdom of God....

[Since Scripture indicates that people with unresurrected bodies will take part in the kingdom, (Mt 24:34), Paul must be talking about something other than kingdom entrance (i.e., inheriting eternal life)].

...In the Millennial Kingdom there will be children born (Isa 65:20-23). And since people with resurrected bodies cannot have children according to our Lord's teachings (Matt 22:30), that demands that people with natural bodies must be in the kingdom.

Likewise, we know that no one with a resurrected body will sin (1 John 3:2). Yet at the end of the Millennium there will be many people who take part in a rebellion against Christ led by Satan (Rev 20:7-10). Only people with natural bodies could possibly rebel against the King of kings.

Paul's point in 1 Cor 15:50 is that if there is no resurrection of the dead, then the Corinthians could not hope to rule with Christ in His coming kingdom - something which they clearly desired (cf. 1 Cor 4:8; 6:3).

First Corinthians 15:50 refutes any view which understands inheriting the kingdom as merely getting in [i.e., inheriting eternal life]. On the other hand, it supports well the Future Rewards View [for those believers who are faithful]."

vii) SO THERE ARE TWO KINDS OF INHERITANCES FOR THE INDIVIDUAL ONE OF ETERNAL LIFE AND ONE OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

vii_a) INTRODUCTION

There are two kinds of inheritances that Scripture speaks of relative to the matter of the kingdom of heaven, but only one of these apply here:

Inheriting eternal life and inheriting the kingdom of God, i.e., the dominion of the earth, beginning at our Lord's millennial rule. Notice that the two sets of expressions can and do indeed describe two similar yet different inheritances. One is an inheritance of a quality of life with God in the kingdom and the other, (which necessitates having the first), is an inheritance of the kingdom of God itself: co-ownership and co-rulership of it with the Lord Jesus Christ.

[Zane Hodges states, 'The Epistle of James', Grace Evangelical Society, Irving, Tx, 1994, p. 51]:

"Just as Christ inherits the kingdom (Ps 2:8-9) due to His loyalty to God the Father (Heb 1:8-9, quoting Ps 45:6-7), so will the co-heirs of His kingdom (2 Tim 2:12; Rev 2:26-28). Thus the kingdom has been promised to those who love God. Although salvation is freely bestowed at the moment we exercise simple trust in Christ for eternal life, the kingdom is not inherited that way. Heirship in the kingdom requires us to love God, which we can express only through obedience to Him (John 14:21-24), while obedience itself is the product of living by faith (see Gal 2:20)."

vii_b) THE INHERITANCE OF BEING LET INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD, OF INHERITING ETERNAL LIFE AS A FREE GIFT FROM GOD THROUGH FAITH ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE

Notice that the following references speak of inheriting salvation oreternal life as a free gift through an individual's moment of faith alone in Christ alone.

vii_b Heb 1:14]:

"Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?"

vii_b Lk 18:18]:

"A certain ruler asked Him [Jesus, (v. 15)], 'Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?' "

vii_b Mk 10:17]:

"As Jesus started on His way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before Him. 'Good Teacher,' he asked, 'what must I do to inherit eternal life?' "

vii_b Lk 10:25]:

"On one occasion an expert in the Law stood up to test Jesus. 'Teacher,' he asked, 'what must I do to inherit eternal life?' "

vii_b Eph 2:8-9]:

(v. 8) "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this [salvation is] not from yourselves, it is the [free] gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast."

vii_b Ro 3:22b-24]:

(v. 22) "This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference

(v. 23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

(v. 24) and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."

[Notice that all are justified freely by grace through faith alone, cf Eph 2:8-9]

vii_b Titus 3:5-7]:

(v. 5) "He [God our Savior, (v. 4)] saved us, not because of righteous things we had done [notice that perseverance of good works is not a factor], but because of His mercy [but God's mercy is]. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

(v. 6) Whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior [i.e., Jesus Christ, His sacrifice is the reason that this is possible]

(v. 7) so that, having been justified by His grace [= free gift, (cp. Ro 3:24)], we might become heirs [i.e., receivers of an inheritance] having the hope ["elpida" = sure hope] of eternal life."

vii_c) THE INHERITANCE OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD, I.E. OF CO-OWNERSHIP AND CO-RULERSHIP OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD WITH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AS A RESULT OF A FAITHFUL LIFE

vii_c_Eph 5:1-14]:

[= NO IMMORAL OR IMPURE PERSON OR COVETOUS MAN, OR ONE WHO IS AN IDOLATOR BE HE BELIEVER OR UNBELIEVER HAS AN INHERITANCE IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD]

i_c_1 Cor 6:1-20]:

[= BELIEVERS WHO LIVE UNFAITHFUL LIVES WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD ]

vii_c_Col 1:10-12]:

[= LIVE A WORTHY LIFE AND THE BELIEVER WILL SHARE IN THE INHERITANCE OF THE KINGDOM OF LIGHT]

(v. 10) "And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,

(v. 11) being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully

(v. 12) giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light."

vii_c_[Col 3:23-24]:

[= WORK FOR THE LORD SO THAT YOU WILL RECEIVE AN INHERITANCE WHEN YOU GET TO HEAVEN AS A REWARD]

(v. 23) "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,

(v. 24) since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."

vii_c_2 Timothy 2:11-13]:

vii_c_Mt 10:32-33, 37-39]:

TAKE UP YOUR CROSS AND BE WORTHY: CONFESS AND BE CONFESSED BEFORE THE FATHER OR DENY AND BE DENIED YOUR INHERITANCE

vii_c Mt 5:1-3, 5, 10-12]:

THE BEATITUDES: THE MEEK, THOSE WHO ARE FAITHFULSHALL INHERIT THE EARTH

[Mt 5:1-2, 10-12]:

(v. 1) "Now when He [Jesus Christ, (v. 4:23)] saw the crowds, He went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to Him,

(v. 2) and He began to teach them, saying..."

["and He began to teach them [disciples, v. 1)], saying..." = Nine beatitudes are hereafter presented by our Lord to the disciples and the crowd on the mountainside; but His message this time is specifically directed to believers, especially His disciples and especially about believers being rewarded in heaven for being faithful. This is especially evident in verses 10-12 which cap off the passage and bring home this context:

(v. 10) Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

(v. 11) Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.

[Notice that faithful believers only are in view here, as confirmed by the next verse]:

(v. 12) Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

Robert N. Wilkin states, (Journal of the GRACE EVANGELICAL SOCIETY, "Christians Who Lose Their Legacy: Galatians 5:21", p. 32-33):

"Receiving the kingdom of heaven in this context is a rewards concept. This is easily seen by comparing vv. 10 and 12. Verse 10 says that those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake will receive the kingdom of heaven. Verse 12 says that those who are persecuted for Christ's sake should 'rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven.' Receiving the kingdom of heaven is parallel to receiving great reward in heaven just as persevering under persecution for Christ's sake.

Of course, eternal salvation cannot be in view here since it is not a reward for holding up under persecution. It is a free gift (John 4:10ff; Rom 3:24; Eph 2:9; Rev 22:17).

Receiving the kingdom in this passage thus refers to some reward. In light of other passages, rulership and its attendant privileges and responsibilities must be in view. All believers will be in the kingdom; however, only faithful believers will rule and possess it (Luke 19:11-27; Rom 8:17; 2 Tim 2:12).

Since inheriting the earth is a synonymous expression to receiving the kingdom, it too refers here to ruling and possessing the kingdom. After all, the kingdom will take place on earth (cf. Rev 20-22). To receive the kingdom is to inherit the earth. Those who are meek [i.e., obedient] will be co-heirs with Christ and will share in kingdom rule and glory."

[Mt 5:3]:

(v. 3) "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

["Blessed are.." = The term beatitude or blessed comes from the Latin 'beatus' which means blessings, and in this context temporal plus especially eternal blessings or rewards.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit" = Our Lord is not describing poverty types. The word poor means aware of one's own spiritual poverty, i.e., spiritual bankruptcy, relative to the righteousness of God. Thus through recognition of one's true poverty in spirit one can rely on the grace of God instead of one's own 'righteousness' for eternal life. One is thereby blessed by God's grace with eternal life so that one may inherit eternal life. But this verse goes further than that for those believers who are "poor in spirit" for it rewards those who continue to be poor in spirit with an inheritance of the kingdom of heaven:

"for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" = implies ownership as well as occupancy of the kingdom. Believers who recognize their own spiritual poverty and thereby rely on God's gracious working through them via the leading of the Holy Spirit in them, (v. 16) rather than doing what they perceive as righteous acts, will be following the path of a faithful lifestyle leading to the reward of their actual inheritance of the kingdom of heaven.

[Mt 5:5]:

(v. 5) Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.

["meek" = gentleness, obedience, self-control - under the control of the Spirit.

Since an obedient lifestyle is excluded from what is required for an individual to be saved...

[Ro 4:1-2]:

(v. 1) "What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter?

(v. 2) If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about - but not before God."

[Eph 2:8-9]:

(v. 8) "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this [salvation is] not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -

(v. 9) not by works, so that no one can boast."


...then salvation is not in view but the reward for the obedient believer of inheriting the earth certainly is.

No believer inherits the earth unless he is faithful. When a believer is faithful he is under the control, i.e., filled with or in submission to the Spirit, (Gal 5:16; Eph 5:18-21). He is obedient to the will of God. That's what produces the true meekness and the gentleness in a believer: submission and obedience.

[Wilkin, op. cit., p. 33]:

"The Lord Himself is a perfect illustration of the truth of the beatitudes. He was meek and poor in spirit, and He willingly accepted persecution for righteousness' sake. As a result He Himself will inherit the earth and receive the kingdom. In Ps 2:8 God the Father says....."

[Ps 2:6-8]:

(v. 6) "I [God the Father, (v. 4)] have installed My King on Zion, My holy hill.

(v. 7) I [author David] will proclaim the decree of the LORD:

'He [God the Father] said to Me [the Son of God], 'You are My Son; today I have become your Father [in the sense of now granting His Son all the privileges of royalty: rulership and ownership of the Kingdom of God due to His Son's absolute obedience in going to the cross for the sins of the whole world]:

(v. 8) Ask of Me, and I will make the nations our inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.' "

[Compare Heb 12:2 which reaffirms this point]:

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our faith, Who for the joy set before Him [of reigning] endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

(Ref. Heb 1:8-9).

B) CONCLUSION:

1) INTRODUCTION

Since salvation cannot be lost:

a) ETERNAL SECURITY, DETAILED STUDY

We are left with a number of possibilities for the interpretation of Gal 5:19-21:

[Wilkin, op. cit., pp. 23-37]:

"Four options have been proposed: the Reformed Perseverance View, the Worthy Walk View, the Present Rewards View and the Future Rewards View....

2) THE REFORMED PERSEVERANCE VIEW

a) EXPLANATION

[Wilkin, op. cit., pp. 23-24]:

"Paul was warning..... both true and false professors [of being a believer], that if they live characteristically sinful lives they will prove to be false professors and hence will not enter God's kingdom.

According to this view true believers will certainly persevere in the faith. [This view maintains that] God guarantees this since those who fail to persevere never had genuine faith and thus were never saved in the first place..."

b) EVALUATION

[Wilkin, op. cit., pp. 26-28]:

"A number of major difficulties attend this view.

i) ETERNAL SALVATION IS NOT CONDITIONED ELSEWHERE IN SCRIPTURE UPON PERSEVERING IN GOOD WORKS

"Eternal salvation is not conditioned elsewhere in Scripture upon persevering in good works"

[Rather it is by faith alone in Christ alone: Jn 3:16; 4:10ff; 5:24; Eph 2:8-9; Titus 3:5

no works even permitted: Rom 4:1-5; Eph 2:9; Titus 3:5]

ii) SCRIPTURE PROVIDES CLEAR EXAMPLES OF GENUINE BELIEVERS WHO WERE NOT FAITHFUL

"There are clear examples in Scripture of genuine believers who did not persevere in good works, but who instead walked in the flesh:"

Solomon 1 Kg 11
Corinth believers 1 Cor 3:1-3; 5:5; 11:30
Demas Col 4:14; Phlm 24; 2 Tim 4:10
Believers who have wandered from the truth Jas 5:19-20

iii) GALATIANS CHAPTER 5 IS ADDRESSED TO GENUINE BELIEVERS NOT UNBELIEVERS

"The Book of Galatians is addressed to genuine believers (Gal 1:8-9) and there is no indication in the context of chapter 5 that unbelievers are being warned."

[Gal 5:13-26, 6:1 are addressed specifically to believers by the use of brethren and context]

iv) PAUL SAYS THAT GENUINE BELIEVERS CAN WALK IN THE FLESH

"The immediate context explicitly rejects the [false] doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. Rather than affirming that all true believers will walk in the Spirit, Paul commands the believers at the churches in Galatia to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. Such an admonition would be misplaced if addressed to an unbeliever since it is impossible for those devoid of the Holy Spirit to walk in the Spirit. Clearly in this passage Paul is saying that it is possible for genuine believers to walk in the flesh and practice the sins mentioned in the vice list (cf. vv. 16, 17, 21, 25, 26).

v) FUTURE JUDGMENT OF THE BELIEVER'S WORKS FOR REWARDS IN HEAVEN IS IN VIEW, NOT SALVATION

"These verses are clearly ethical in nature [i.e., based on living a moral & not an immoral life] and look to a future judgment according to one's works....

[The exponent of the Reformed Perseverance View] ...does not distinguish between eternal salvation and eternal rewards [and] is forced to see all of the Judgment Seat of Christ passages as referring to some sort of final judgment for believers to determine who gets into the kingdom.... He views good works as a condition of kingdom entrance.

There is, of course, no final judgment to determine who gets into the kingdom and who does not. The Judgment Seat of Christ is for believers only and it concerns rewards, not kingdom entrance (Rom 14:10; 2 Cor 5:10). The Great White Throne Judgment is for unbelievers only - people already condemned according to John 3:18 [ on the basis of their unbelief only and not on anything they might have done or not done]:

[Jn 3:18]:

"Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son."

- and it [the Great White Throne Judgment] concerns degrees of punishment in hell, not kingdom entrance (cf. Matt 10:15; 11:21-24; Rev 20:13).

vi) THE BIBLICAL DOCTRINE OF ASSURANCE OF SALVATION IS IGNORED

"This interpretation eliminates something which the Scriptures clearly affirm, namely, assurance of salvation....

[1 Jn 5:12-13]:

"I [John] write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life."

...If the Reformed Perseverance View were correct, one would never know for sure until he died if he was saved because it would always be possible that tomorrow his works might cross the line and become sinful enough to disqualify him from kingdom entrance. Indeed, under such a system one couldn't even be sure today that his works were good enough to qualify him to enter the kingdom."

vii) THE FALSE DOCTRINE OF WORKS SALVATION IS PROMOTED

"This view produces a works - salvation mentality. Once a person begins to think that he must persevere in the faith in order to enter the kingdom, he then believes that eternal salvation is conditioned upon his works, not on his faith only [which is counter to what Scripture teaches, ref. Ro 4:1-4; Eph 2:8-9; Titus 3:5]."

3) THE WORTHY WALK VIEW

a) EXPLANATION

[Wilkin, op. cit., p. 24]:

"Inheriting the kingdom actually refers to entering the kingdom and... those who fail to inherit the kingdom are unbelievers....

[The view also maintains that] ...only true believers are in view. In addition, Paul is seen to be exhorting true believers not to indulge in the vices listed. Genuine Christians are viewed as capable of practicing as a habit of life the various sins listed (cf. 1 Cor 3:3) [but somehow not choosing to, otherwise they would not be true Christians. So the 'those' in v. 21b, ('those who live like this'), is falsely determined to refer not to believers but to unbelievers only]

According to this view Paul was calling genuine believers to live in a manner worthy of their high calling as children of God (cf. Eph 4:1, 16; 5:5-7). Paul's point is that it doesn't make sense for believers, those who will inherit the kingdom, to live like the unrighteous (i.e., unbelievers) who will not inherit the kingdom.

This view sees no explicit warning in these texts [that a believer will suffer eternal consequences of some sort if he lives an immoral, unfaithful life]. Rather, it sees an appeal to holiness based on reason and responsibility."

b) EVALUATION

[Wilkin, op. cit., p. 28]:

i) BELIEVERS ARE IN VIEW, NOT UNBELIEVERS

"The major weakness of this view is that there is nothing in the context to suggest that 'those who live like this' (v. 21b) refers to unbelievers. Indeed... just the opposite is true. The context suggests that it is the Galatian believers (and by application all believers who are in danger of losing their legacy."

ii) THE CONTEXT OF A WARNING WITH CONSEQUENCES IS NOT ADDRESSED

"Secondly, this view eliminates any explicit warning. Why would Paul fail to say in context what the believer who walked in the flesh will lose? In a parallel section in the next chapter (Gal 6:6-10), Paul states that those who sow to the flesh will reap corruption.' "

4) THE PRESENT REWARDS VIEW

a) EXPLANATION

[Wilkin, op. cit., p. 25]:

"According to this view inheriting the kingdom refers in Paul's vice lists to inheriting present blessings associated with the present aspect of the kingdom of God. The warning is thus seen as temporal in nature: unfaithful believers will be miserable.

[So inheriting the kingdom is not viewed as the same as entering the kingdom]

b) EVALUATION

i) One must be resurrected from the dead in order to inherit the kingdom

[Wilkin, op. cit., pp. 28-29]:

"According to Paul in 1 Cor 15:50, in order to inherit the kingdom one must first be resurrected from the dead."

ii) PRESENT BLESSINGS IN THIS AGE CANNOT BE EQUATED WITH FUTURE INHERITANCE OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Inheriting the kingdom is in view, not experiencing present blessings of God on earth at a time in which God's kingdom is not fully, and dominantly operational - to which Galatians chapter 5 refers and to which the rest of Scripture refers when the term inheriting the kingdom is used. Right now, in this age, it is the rule of Satan, the world and the sin nature, (ref. Eph 2:1-3), so present blessings in this age cannot be equated with future inheritance of the Kingdom of God]

5) THE FUTURE REWARDS VIEW

a) EXPLANATION

[Wilkin, op. cit., p. 25]:

"Inheriting the kingdom refers to obtaining rewards, not to entering the kingdom. However, it differs in that it sees inheriting the kingdom as referring to future, not present, rewards.

According to this view inheriting the kingdom in Paul's writings refers to future possession of and rulership in the kingdom. Believers whose Christian lives prove to have been characterized by the fruit of the Spirit will possess the kingdom and reign in it as members of the King of kings' world government. However, believers whose Christian lives prove to have been characterized by the deeds of the flesh will neither have possession of nor rulership in the coming kingdom, although they will be citizens in it."

b) EVALUATION:

THE FUTURE REWARDS VIEW ANSWERS ALL OF THE SHORTCOMINGS OF THE PRECEDING VIEWS

[Wilkin, op. cit., p. 29]:

"All of these points are compelling evidence that this view is the one intended by Paul....

i) It does not suggest that persevering in good works is a condition of eternal salvation in addition to believing in Christ.

ii) It has no difficulty with the many examples in Scripture of genuine believers who walked in the flesh.

iii) It sees those being addressed as genuine believers, as the context clearly shows.

iv) It has no argument with the fact that the context acknowledges the possibility that genuine believers might walk in the flesh.

v) It is completely compatible with the ethical nature of the passage and the fact that judgment according to one's works is in view.

vi) It does not eliminate assurance of salvation.

vii) It does not produce a works - salvation mentality.

viii) It is in harmony with the eschatological aspect of the expression found in 1 Cor 15:50.

ix) And, it does find in the passage a clear warning to believers."

6) FINAL NOTE ON GAL 5:19-21

[Wilkin, op. cit., p. 37]:

"Paul told the believers in Galatia that if their manner of life was characterized by walking in the flesh then they would not inherit the kingdom of God.

This article has suggested that inheriting the kingdom in Gal 5:21 (and in the parallels in 1 Corinthians 6 and Ephesians 5) refers to obtaining eternal rewards. Particularly, the Lord's approval and ruling with Him were found to be in view.....

This motivates me daily to deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Him. It motives me to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.

Walking in the flesh, though appealing to our old nature (Gal 5:17; Heb 11:25), is very unappealing for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is that to do so results in losing our legacy [of inheriting the kingdom of God].

Christians can't lose their salvation. However, they can lose their reward. The ultimate inheritance is the kingdom itself. Oh, that we might be numbered among those who are found worthy to inherit it! That is a legacy worth living - even dying - for."

II) [Gal 5:22-23]:

(v. 22) "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

(v. 23) gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

A) THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IN THE FAITHFUL BELIEVER'S LIFE

C.I. Scofield states, (The New Scofield Study Bible, NIV, New York, Oxford Univ. Press., 1967, p. 1233, footnote #3):

"Christian character is not mere moral or legal correctness, but the possession and manifestation of the graces of vv. 22-23. Taken together they present a moral portrait of Christ, and may be understood as the apostle's explanation of 2:20, 'I no longer... but Christ,' and as a definition of 'fruit' in Jn 15:1-8. This character is possible because of the believer's vital union with Christ (Jn 15:5; 1 Cor 12:12-13), and is wholly the fruit of the Spirit. 'Fruit' (singular), in contrast with 'acts' (plural, v. 19), suggests that the Christian's life in the Spirit is unified in purpose and direction in contrast with the life in the flesh, with its inner conflicts and frustrations."

Donald K. Campbell states, (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, NT, Walvoord & Zuck Editors, Victor Books, USA, 1988, p. 608-609):

"There is a pointed contrast here. As verse 16 indicated, there is no need for a believer to display the works of the flesh. Rather, by the Spirit's power he can manifest the nine graces that are now listed. It is important to observe that the fruit here described is not produced by a believer, but by the Holy Spirit working through a Christian who is in vital union with Christ (cf. John 15:1-8). The word 'fruit' is singular, indicating that these qualities constitute a unity, all of which should be found in a believer who lives under the control of the Spirit. In an ultimate sense this 'fruit' is simply the life of Christ lived out in a Christian. It also points to the method whereby Christ is formed in a believer (cf. 2 Cor. 3:18; Phil. 1:21).

The first three virtues are habits of mind which find their source in God. Love (agape) is listed first because it is the foundation of the other graces. God is love and loves the world (cf. 1 John 4:8; John 3:16). Such self-sacrificing love that sent Christ to die for sinners is the kind of love that believers who are Spirit-controlled manifest. Joy (chara) is a deep and abiding inner rejoicing which was promised to those who abide in Christ (cf. John 15:11). It does not depend on circumstances because it rests in God's sovereign control of all things (cf. Rom. 8:28). Peace (eirene) is again a gift of Christ (cf. John 14:27). It is an inner repose and quietness, even in the face of adverse circumstances; it defies human understanding (cf. Phil. 4:7).

The second triad reaches out to others, fortified by love, joy, and peace. Patience (makrothymia) is the quality of forbearance under provocation (cf. 2 Cor. 6:6; Col. 1:11; 3:12). It entertains no thoughts of retaliation even when wrongfully treated. Kindness (chrestotes) is benevolence in action such as God demonstrated toward men. Since God is kind toward sinners (cf. Rom. 2:4; Eph. 2:7) a Christian should display the same virtue (cf. 2 Cor 6:6; Col. 3:12). Goodness (agathosyne) may be thought of both as an uprightness of soul and as an action reaching out to others to do good even when it is not deserved.

The final three graces guide the general conduct of a believer who is led by the Spirit. Faithfulness (pistis) is the quality which renders a person trustworthy or reliable, like the faithful servant in Luke 16:10-12. Gentleness (prautes) marks a person who is submissive to God's Word (cf. James 1:21) and who is considerate of others when discipline is needed (cf. 'gently' in Gal. 6:1; 2 Tim. 2:25; 'gentle' in 1 Cor. 4:21; Eph. 4:2; 'gentleness' in Col. 3:12; 1 Peter 3:16).

Self-control (enkrateia; this noun is used in the NT only here and in Acts 24:25; 2 Peter 1:6) denotes self-mastery and no doubt primarily relates to curbing the fleshly impulses just described. Such a quality is impossible to attain apart from the power of God's Spirit (cf. Gal. 5:16). As a final summary statement Paul affirmed that there are no prohibitions (lit., there is not a law) against such virtues. In a litotes (understatement) he asserted that obviously no one would make laws against people who practice such things."

IV) [Gal 5:24]:

(v. 24) "Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires."

A) BELIEVERS ARE UNDER THE CONTROLLING INFLUENCE OF THE INDWELLING HOLY SPIRIT WHICH HAS BROKEN THE CONTROL OF THE SIN NATURE

["Now those who belong to Christ Jesus [i.e., believers] have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" = i.e., have destroyed the flesh's total control over them. This could not be teaching that the sin nature itself has been totally eradicated because the very next verse urges believers to "keep in step with the Spirit" and not the flesh]

Campbell, ibid:

"Paul next explained that believers (lit., 'those who are of Christ Jesus') need not be responsive to the sinful nature because they have crucified it. This does not refer to self-crucifixion or self-mortification. Rather, it refers to the fact that by means of the baptism of the Holy spirit, Christians were identified with Christ in His death and resurrection...

1) [Compare Ro 6:3]:

(v. 3) "Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized [by the Holy Spirit] into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?]

[Campbell, cont.]

...Paul declared that this had been his experience (cf. 2:20) and that of all believers (cf. Rom. 6:1-6; Col. 2:11; 3:9). While co-crucifixion took, place potentially at the cross, it becomes effective for believers when they are converted. This does not mean that their sin nature is then eradicated or even rendered inactive but that it has been judged, a fact believers should reckon to be true (cf. Rom. 6:11-12). So victory over the sinful nature's passions and desires has been provided by Christ in His death. Faith must continually lay hold of this truth or a believer will be tempted to try to secure victory by self-effort."

V) [Gal 5:25]:

(v. 25) "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit."

A) EVEN THOUGH BELIEVERS HAVE THE INDWELLING HOLY SPIRIT WHO HAS CONTROL OF THE BELIEVER'S LIFE, THE BELIEVER STILL HAS A CHOICE TO RESIST OR KEEP IN STEP WITH GOD'S LEADING STEPS

"If we live by [the] Spirit" = "Ei zomen Pneumati" =

"If" = Since =

"Since we live" = pres. tense, indicative mood: statement of fact = since all believers live by the indwelling Holy Spirit. This is so since we have the indwelling Spirit in us Who now provides the believer with direction that he is to choose to live by, (cp. Ro 8:9)]

"let us keep step with the Spirit" =

let us follow the leading of that Spirit - indicating that there is a choice to be made: the Spirit or the flesh which one can permit once more to take control.

1) [Compare Ro 6:11-13]:

(v. 11) "Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

(v. 12) Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you should obey its lusts,

[Notice that the believer has a choice]

(v. 13) and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of righteousness to God."

And then in the next verse, Paul goes on to exhort fellow Galatian believers NOT to sin, mentioning certain specific sins as appropriate examples which the Galatians were, (and you and are I are), prone to commit - thus indicating that the sin nature is still part of the believer's makeup with potential to do evil at any time]:

VI) [Gal 5:26]:

"Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another."

Donald K. Campbell, states, (THE BIBLE KNOWLEDGE COMMENTARY, NEW TESTAMENT EDITION, Victor Books, USA, Walvoord & Zuck, Editors, p. 587):

"Again Paul reminded the Galatians that in addition to a divine judgment of the sinful nature there is a divine enablement in the person of the Holy Spirit. He made the believer alive by regeneration (cf. John 3:5-6), so each believer is exhorted to keep in step (stoichmen, trans. 'follow' in Gal. 6:16) with the Spirit. Step by step one's Christian walk should conform to the Spirit's direction and enablement, lest believers become conceited, provoking and envying each other."

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