Question on Galatians 5:4 and OSAS

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Snitzelhoff, Dec 5, 2005.

  1. Snitzelhoff

    Snitzelhoff
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    Let me preface this by saying this is NOT an attempt to start a fight; I'm simply trying to better understand the Scriptures.

    I was pondering the question of the once-saved-always-saved doctrine, and I came upon Galatians 5:4. It reads, in the King James and NASB, respectively:

    "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace."

    "You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace."

    My question is this: How can this verse be reconciled with the doctrine of once-saved-always-saved? Paul seems to be saying, though I could be wrong, that it is possible for a Christian to trust in something else besides Christ to justify him, and in so doing, he would effectively lose his salvation.

    Once again, I am not trying to start a fight; I'm just trying to understand. If there has already been a thread that addresses this verse, feel free to direct me to it.

    Michael
     
  2. StefanM

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    My view on the verse is that it refers to the rejection of a grace gospel (the true gospel) to a "gospel" of law, which strips Christ out of the scenario. I don't think Paul is speaking about individual salvation here.
     
  3. Snitzelhoff

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    It's possible, but it seems directed at people who, at one time, DID trust in Christ for their salvation: "You have been severed from Christ... you have fallen from grace." Can you be severed from Christ if you were never connected with Him? Can you fall from grace if you were never in grace?

    Just some thoughts.

    Michael
     
  4. StefanM

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    I don't think the passage refers to individuals who are consciously rejecting Christ. Paul is bringing out the logic of their legalism. That is, if you seek the law as a means of salvation, then you are cutting yourself off from Christ (and his grace).

    I don't think he's telling them that they have lost their salvation because I don't think the point of his statement. The point of the statement is to condemn legalism, not to comment on an individual's justification. Legalism is a dead system, cut off from Christ and his grace.
     
  5. Snitzelhoff

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    Once again, a very good possibility, especially considering the context of the passage, but it seems to me (again, I could be entirely wrong) that Paul is taking the system of legalism and denouncing it, and then making it personal: "YOU are severed from Christ... YOU have fallen from grace."

    Obviously, the point of the passage is not losing salvation, but denouncing legalism. However, my question is, in that context, is Paul not essentially saying that it's possible to abandon Christ, turn to the Law for justification, and "fall from grace"? If that's what he's saying, then it's possible for someone who was once saved to lose his salvation, by turning from grace and seeking justification by law.

    I should make it ABUNDANTLY clear that I am NOT advocating at all the view that one can sin too much or lose one's salvation by becoming spiritually lazy and slipping away--instead, I am questioning the possibility that one can consciously give up his salvation by seeking justification through another means AFTER he has once been saved.

    Just more thoughts from someone seeking God's truth.

    Michael
     
  6. Hope of Glory

    Hope of Glory
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    Hebrews 12:28 says, "Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:"

    Grace has to do with works; it has to do with serving God acceptably. Are we saved by our works?
     
  7. Snitzelhoff

    Snitzelhoff
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    On the contrary, Hope of Glory, we work because we are saved. We serve God BY grace (according to the verse you quoted), not FOR it.

    I don't see what that has to do with Galatians 5:4, though. Can you clarify?
     
  8. cojosh

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    Much of Galatians chapter five deals with the liberty that we have in Christ. The first twelve verses speak of the position: we should "stand fast". Paul encourages us in verse one "be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage". He is speaking to the churches in Galatia. It seems some were in danger of being pulled into the false teaching that they should keep the laws of the Jews to merit salvation. The early church had a real battle with this due to the fact that the body was made up of Jews and Gentiles. These ignorant Christian Jews had a lot of learning to do. It was hard for them to totally forget what they had been taught all of their lives. They went a step further by encouraging the Gentiles that they should also keep the law to merit God's acceptance. The main argument was circumcision. In verse four, Paul clearly states that if a person is justified by the law, then he(she) has made the salvation through Christ empty. When a person depends on their own works to cleanse their sin, it's like slapping Jesus in the face. It's a warning to the true Christians of Galatia and to the true Christians of today. If someone depends on their works to merit salvation they are ignorant Christians that need to learn some truth or they have never been truly saved.
     
  9. Hope of Glory

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    If you're fallen from grace, you cannot serve God acceptably. If that can cause you to lose your salvation, then you're saved by your works. I think that goes contrary to Biblical teachings.

    That's why I asked the question. We're saved because Jesus did all the work and we've been offered a free gift that we only have to accept.

    We should serve God because we have been saved and we love him. However, we can serve God grudgingly, or not at all, or he even gives us free reign to run headlong into lawlessness.

    But, if you put yourself under the law, you remove yourself from grace, and grace is what lets us serve God acceptably.

    It's like the difference between Isaac and Ishmael. Were both of the sons of Abraham? Yes. Did both get an inheritance? Yes. However, Isaac was the son of promise and Ishmael was the son under the law, and Isaacs inheritance was far, far greater.
     
  10. bmerr

    bmerr
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    How is it that one could be a Christian (even an ignorant one) and never have been saved? One needs to know the truth in order to become a Christian in the first place, don't they?

    In Christ,

    bmerr
     
  11. Snitzelhoff

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    Ok, Hope of Glory, so what you're saying is that those who put themselves under the Law are not condemning themselves, just rendering themselves unable to serve God, and losing a lot of their inheritance?
     
  12. bmerr

    bmerr
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    Snitzelhoff,

    bmerr here. I've got a view on this that isn't popular, but I've tried to base this on as much Biblical evidence as I know how. I'll try not to be too long-winded.

    The point is often made that we're saved by grace through faith, and not by works. Most often, works of any kind are excluded from the thought process, and then the confusion starts.

    One might end up believing they can be saved by simply believing in Jesus as the Son of God, which many do, or even that one can be saved without even knowing Who Jesus is, by some miraculous direct operation of the Holy Spirit on their heart.

    IMO, what many miss is the qualifying statement Paul uses to describe the works that do not save. Those words are, "lest any man should boast". I think that leaves room for works of obedient faith. We'll come back to that.

    Second, while there are several definitions of "grace", such as "unmerited favor", which are certainly true, the Bible gives a description of the grace of God one time that I am aware of.

    In Titus 2:11-13, we read,

    11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
    12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
    13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

    The way I see it, (and sin is not the transgression of my opinion), one way in which the grace of God is made known to man is through the teaching of God.

    With this in mind, I understand Eph 2:8-9 to say,

    "For by God's teaching are ye saved through your obedient faith; not in some way you come up with yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of meritorious works or Law keeping, lest any man should boast."

    One might look at Noah as an example. He found grace in the eyes of the LORD. God told Noah what to do to prepare for the Judgement coming upon the earth, and Noah prepared an ark "by faith" (Heb 11:7).

    He didn't come up with his own plan, but "...according to all that God commanded him, so did he" (Gen 6:22). In no way did he earn salvation from the flood.

    Remember Tit 2:12? Part of what God's grace teaches us to do is to live righteously. Righteousness is defined as "all thy commandments" (Ps 119:172), so to live righteously is to live according to God's commandments.

    What we all need to be careful about is our tendency to take things to extremes. Truth is often found between extremes.

    The doctrine of salvation by works, and the doctrine of salvation by "faith only" are extremes.

    I believe the Bible teaches that God's plan for man's salvation requires man to be obedient to God's commands. This is not the same as saying that man earns his salvation.

    So how does this relate to the OP? Next post. This one's getting a little long.

    In Christ,

    bmerr
     
  13. cojosh

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    *********How is it that one could be a Christian (even an ignorant one) and never have been saved? One needs to know the truth in order to become a Christian in the first place, don't they?*****************

    Yes, the truth of the saving grace of God given to us through the blood of Jesus Christ on calvary. Yet, a Christian can be ignorant of many truths found in God's Word that are not nescessary for salvation. It is possible for a Christian to be confused about the security of their salvation.
     
  14. Hope of Glory

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    "Believe (aorist; punctiliar aciont) on the Lord Jesus and you shall (not may) be saved".

    There's nothing in there about continuing in believing or being faithful or doing good works or anything else. You simply have to accept the need for a savior and accept the Lord Jesus as your savior.

    That's when you're born from above.

    But, that's not the end. Just like a baby, it's just the beginning of your life. Also, just like a baby, you cannot be unborn.
     
  15. bmerr

    bmerr
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    Snitzelhoff,

    bmerr here. Part 2.

    Getting back to Gal 5:4, the Galatians were under assault by Judaizing teachers, who were trying to convince them to bring themselves under the Mosaic Law. As has been pointed out, the main issue seems to have been circumcision.

    Paul tells them that if they seek to be justified by keeping the OT Law of Moses, then they will be turning away from the law of Christ, their Justifier under the NT.

    Under the OT, human imperfections (sins) were rolled forward through animal sacrifices. But since the death of Christ, no more animal sacrifices were accepted by God.

    For the Galatian Christians to turn back to the Mosaic system would require them to live sinlessly, for there were no more acceptable sacrifices under that Law.

    For them to return to the OT Law would necessitate their leaving the grace (teaching) of the NT, which would mean that they would no longer rely on Jesus for salvation/justification.

    I can't help but say that their falling from grace would equal their being without Christ, without salvation.

    This is where I lose folks, sometimes. Many seem to hold the position that if one could forfeit their salvation, it makes God an "Indian giver" (please pardon the expression if any reader is of Native American descent). I don't think this is true.

    Maybe that view originates with Calvinistic thinking, I don't know. It's like, "I had nothing to do with being saved, so how could I possibly lose my salvation? It's all of God, right?"

    Pardon the tangent, but if salvation were "all of God", and God desires that all men be saved (1 Tim 2:4), then why are all men not saved? For no other reason that not all men choose to do the will of the Father (Mat 7:21).

    Man has a choice in the matter. He either chooses to obey God and be saved (Heb 5:9), or to disobey and be damned (2 Thes 1:8).

    Last point. 2 John 9 reads,

    "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ hat both the Father and the Son."

    To abide is to remain, or stay. John is adressing Christians here, unless I'm mistaken. He tells them that if any one transgresseth, or goes beyond, the doctrine (teaching) of Christ, he hath not God.

    In the doctrine - Father and Son

    Out of the doctrine - without God

    For the Galatians to be circumcized would be to transgress the doctrine of Christ, for circumcision is not a part of the NT law. They would be in danger of hell if they sought to be justified by keeping the OT Law.

    However, if Paul's admonition convinced them to repent, they could regain their relationship with Christ and be back in good standing.

    I know this isn't what's taught in most Baptist circles, but that's my take on it.

    In Christ,

    bmerr
     
  16. Snitzelhoff

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    So you're saying that, after you believe, even if you completely apostacize and cease to believe, you'll still be saved?
     
  17. Charles Meadows

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    I think Stefan got it right.

    Paul often argues "ad absurdum" to prove a point. In Galatians 1 he asks the Galatians why they are anxious to return to the law after they have found grace in Christ. Paul in pointing out the fact that to see circumcision as necessary for salvation is to make Christ's sacrifice insufficient. Paul is basically saying something like, "Do you realize what you are saying here? You are making Christ's cross useless!".

    He is not addressing the issue of eternal security - to see these remarks as touching on that at all is to read the passage entirely out of context.
     
  18. Hope of Glory

    Hope of Glory
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    It doesn't say, "Continue believing and you will be saved". It doesn't say, "Believe [punctiliar] and you might be saved as long as you continue doing stuff". It simply says, "Believe [aorist] and you will [indicative] be saved."

    Now, you might be one of those who are cast into outer darkness, instead of ruling and reigning, but you'll be there. Although this would be a terrible tragedy, it certainly beats the alternative.
     
  19. Snitzelhoff

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    Cast into outer darkness? I thought outer darkness was Hell? How can one be cast into Hell and yet saved? I'm confused.
     
  20. Hope of Glory

    Hope of Glory
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    If by "hell", you're referring to the lake of fire, when was the last time you saw a big fire that was dark?
     

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