Tag Archives: Galatians

Abraham, the Man of Faith

gA0308“Christ, accordingly, is the turning point of the times, the cross the focal point of world history. First, everything led in the direction of the cross; subsequently, everything was inferred from the cross. . . . Believers in Israel indeed knew that the Siniatic dispensation was merely temporary and therefore anticipated the the day of the new covenant with longing.” (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 3, p. 223).

“The righteousness of God as virtue or mode of conduct has manifested itself most gloriously when in Christ he granted another righteousness apart from the law, on the basis of which he can justify—that is, absolutely and completely acquit—those who believe in Jesus.” (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 4, p. 185).

Quotes used in the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC

Bewitched!

Ayear0815o“In the one context in which he reflects on the psychology involved in this reception, Paul indicates that it takes place ‘by believing what you heard’ by contrast with ‘observing the law’ (Gal. 3:2, 5). The Spirit is received in the context of coming to faith in Christ the Lord.” (Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Holy Spirit, p. 92).

“[T]he French-born second generation Reformer of Geneva in Switzerland, John Calvin, has been described, as we have noted, as ‘the theologian of the Holy Spirit.’ Of course the new understanding of the nature of justification (imputed, not infused, alien, not self-attained, righteousness) was a central feature of the new teaching. But this was accompanied by a desacramentalizing of the application of redemption, and a corresponding restoration of the role of the Spirit. Not that the sacraments were denuded of their power, so much as subordinated to the joint action of the word and the Spirit. . . . [I]n the Reformation teaching it was emphasized that the Holy Spirit brought the individual directly into fellowship fellowship with Christ, of which fellowship the sacraments were seen as signs and seals. . . . This is in fact a more ancient question than medieval discussions of it, and surfaces already in Scripture, for example, in the controversies over the relationship between grace and law. Paul explicitly indicates that this soteriological issue is also a penumatological one when he writes: ‘Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?’ (Gal. 3:2).” (Ferguson, pp. 96–97).

From the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC

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