Justified by Faith

Ga0216In Galatians 2 Paul recalls a confrontation with Peter-—and the crucial issue is justification by faith in Christ.

“Even in Galatians, Paul’s teaching on justification has its stark urgency, not simply because church unity is at stake. His rebuke of of Peter’s conduct is so unsparing, not just because unity between Jew and Gentile is being jeopardized, but because of what that broken unity is symptomatic, because he sees that such conduct strikes at ‘the truth of the gospel’ (2:14). Moreover, it conflicts with that gospel truth because the gospel, as he expresses it programmatically elsewhere, is not the reflex, post facto, of having been saved. Rather, it is ‘the power of God unto salvation’ (Rom. 1:16), or even more tersely, ‘the gospel of your salvation’ (Eph. 1:13).” (Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., By Faith, Not By Sight, p. 51).

“A man who tries to earn his salvation, or to do anything towards earning it, has, according to Paul, done despite to the free grace of God.” (J. Gresham Machen, Machen’s Notes on Galatians, p. 143).

From the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC

Freedom!

gal29“Law, as law, has no expiatory provision; it exercises no forgiving grace; and it has no power of enablement to the fulfillment of its own demand. It knows no clemency for the remission of guilt; it provides no righteousness to meet our iniquity; it exercises no constraining power to reclaim our waywardness; it knows no mercy to melt our hearts in penitence and new obedience…. The word ‘grace’ sums up everything that by way of contrast with law is embraced in the provisions of redemption…. Believers died with Christ and lived again with him in his resurrection (cf. Romans 6:8). They have, therefore, come under all the resources of redeeming and renewing grace which find their epitome in the death and resurrection of Christ and find their permanent embodiment in him who was dead and is alive again.” (John Murray, Principles of Conduct, pp. 185–186).

“Now as always true liberty is to be obtained only when a man depends for his salvation unreservedly upon the grace of God.” (J. Gresham Machen, Machen’s Notes on Galatians, p. 107).

From the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC

The Descent Isaiah 14

ruins_17345ac“Pride, however, is not found among Israel alone. It made to Isaiah no difference whether the boasters were the petty grandees of Ju­daea, or the mighty mon­archs of the East…. Its high­est embodiment this sin of pride had found, to the far-reaching vision of Isaiah, in that King of Babel, who said in his heart: ‘I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will sit upon the mount of congregation (the mythical mountain, where the gods assembled), in the uttermost parts of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.’ (14:13,14). Pride is in its essence a form of self-deifi­cation. Satanic sin, a type of Satan, has been found in the King of Babel thus de­scribed….” (Geerhardus Vos, Biblical Theology, p. 302).

“To ride upon the clouds [Isaiah 14:14] is God’s pre­rogative, and the king thus shows that he wishes to be equal with and rival God. In­tentions such as this are the prelude to downfall. ‘Ye shall be like God,’ serpent had said in the garden. Whenev­er men have designed to raise themselves to an equality with God, a descent follows.” (E. J. Young, The Book of Isaiah, Vol. 1, pp. 442–443).

The 101 Bible Study meets on Friday, October 5, near Astoria. Call 971/238-6101 for details.

The God Who Called You

“The emphasis falls on the sovereignty of the divine grace manifested to Paul. At the same time, however, the apostle stresses the fact that God had much earlier — from his mother’s womb, as a matter of fact — appointed him for apostleship.” (Herman Ridderbos, The Epistle of Paul to the Churches of Galatia, pp. 62–63).

lily_16673ac“There is no preaching that is worthy of the name unless Christ is set forth in all the glory of his Person and all the fullness of his saving power.” (Geoffrey B. Wilson, Galatians: A Digest of Reformed Comment, p. 27).

 

Westminster Shorter Catechism Q. 31. What is effectual calling?
A. Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit, whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel.

From the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC

No Other Gospel!

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“[T]hat which the Apostles teach is. . . the inspired Word of God before all other things. No theologian would dare say of his work what Paul said to the Galatians; ‘But though we or an angel from heaven preach any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema’ (1:8).” (Geerhardus Vos, Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation, p. 21).

“As God is the author of the gospel, so gospel authority is never inherent but always derived. It is only as the messenger remains faithful to the divine message that he speaks with divine authority.” (Geoffrey B. Wilson, Galatians: A Digest of Reformed Comment, p. 21).

“And not only is the truth more than the highest ranking minister of God, but as the gospel — which constitutes the norm of the divine redemption in the world — it is so holy that anyone who independently modifies it brings the curse of God down upon his head.” (Herman Ridderbos, The Epistle of Paul to the Churches of Galatia, p. 50).

“We must trust Christ for nothing or for all; to trust Him only for part is the essence of unbelief. There are two ways of being saved, according to the Apostle Paul. One way is to keep the law of God perfectly. That way is closed because of sin. The other way is to accept the gift of salvation which Christ offers us freely by His cross.” (J. Gresham Machen, Machen’s Notes on Galatians, p. 53).

From the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC

The Root as a Banner

branch_16454cNot underground, but raised as a military signal–that’s a strange place for a root. But Isaiah is writing about a very special root. The 101 Bible Study this Friday focuses on Isaiah 11. Call 971/238-6101 for location and details.

“The incarnation is the cen­tral fact of history and of the church’s confession: ‘Great in­deed, we confess, is the mys­tery of godli­ness. He was mani­fested in the flesh’ (1 Tim. 3:16). Even be­fore the the Fall, God eternally decided that the Son should as­sume a human nature, consisting of a body and soul. As the eternal Son who has no beginning and no end, he has always known that he would become the incar­nate one (i.e. ‘the en­fleshed one’).” (Mark Jones, Knowing Christ, p. 26).

“God is the author, the cause, the agent, the ac­complisher of that salvation. Salvation apart from God is unthinkable. . . . What more can we have – what more do we need than God Himself? He is our salvation.” (E. J. Young, The Book of Isaiah, Vol. 1, p. 405).