By Robert Wurtz II
SALVATION THAT LASTS
The book of Galatians is the most unique of all of Paul the Apostles epistles for this one reason- it was written totally by his own hand. Normally Paul would write a salutation at the beginning and end of each book and dictate the contents to one of his close associates (an amanuensis). When he had completed his work, Paul the apostle took up the pen o - reed, and added, in his own large characters (Galatians 6:11), the authenticating autograph, sometimes with special stress on the fact that this was his writing (1 Corinthians 16:21; Colossians 4:18; II Thessalonians 3:17), and always with one of the closing salutations, "grace be with thee" or "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit." Paul wrote in large characters because it is likely he had a terrible eye condition. When Galatians was written- the large characters covered the entire body of the text- as it was written suddenly and urgently under great distress and concern. This no doubt would have caused great alarm to the one opening it.
One of the first things Paul does in Galatians is pronounce a curse upon anyone who would preach a different Gospel (Galatians 1:6). In this case some had come to bring the people under the bondage of the law rather than instructing them to live the life of a Christian by faith. We read in Galatians 3:2-3... This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? This is to ask them whether they were now living the Christian life in their own power or by the power of the Spirit of God. He continues and then adds in Galatians 3:26-27... For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Born Again and Now the Children of God
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father (Galatians 4:4-6). This is not a pie in the sky idea- it is a real transformation in which the Spirit of God confirms to us that we are God's children. We CRY OUT to God as a newborn baby would for its parents. He continues in Galatians 4:19-20... My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you. DOUBT? Doubt of what? Doubt that they were ever really born again. He continues on... Galatians 4:27-29... For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Ishmael persecuted Isaac and was thrust out of the home with his mother- so to, those who live after the flesh- either under the law for salvation or by the works of the flesh for sin- will likewise be thrust into outer darkness in the end (Galatians 5:19-21). Any life we live that is not by the power of the Spirit of God is in this category.
Ye Did Run Well-Who Did Hinder You?
The passage that asks this question in Galatians 5:7 is the crux of what was going on. Here was a people that was running the race with patience and all the sudden because they listened to a false teacher returned back to trying to live the Christian life in the flesh. They built again the things they destroyed and made themselves transgressors (Galatians 2:18). They became carnal and had no other power but to 'walk as men' and live like everyone else (I Corinthians 3:3). When a baby is hungry they will crawl around on the floor and literally pick up anything that will fit in their mouth to eat. These young Christians had been seduced by someone feeding them a deadly poison. They had returned to try to live the Christian life by the beggarly works of the law and by the works of the law will no flesh be justified. Christianity is not a pipe dream; neither legalism nor license- it is a life we live by the Spirit of God.
Romans 8 Parallels Galatians 4
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God (Romans 8:13-16). Here again is that doctrine 'the Spirit bears witness with our Spirit that we are children of God.' This is the key to everything. Ephesians 1:13, 14... In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. And again... Romans 8:9-11... Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. The internal evidence that we are Children of God is that we long to CRY OUT to God and we HUNGER and THIRST after righteousness. The external evidence is by the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5)- to which Jesus said it is by their fruits that you will know them and John the Baptist said that if the fruit is not there the tree will be chopped down and thrown into the fire (Matthew 3:10; 7:16-20).
In any given church there are three type of people: sheep, goats, and wolves. Concerning the sheep in John 10:3-5... To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. The goats are those according to Matthew 25 that were in the pasture with the sheep and were divided based upon whether or not the exhibited the love of Christ in their life (Matthew 25:31:46). This is at the end of time we must remember. The division will not be based upon confession- but on fruits. This is why John said we ought not love in word or in tongue- but in deed and in truth (I John 3:18). The goats heard what the sheep heard- but they were not DOERS of the work (James 1:25). Why? Because they were goats and not sheep. Wolves are there to devour the flock with all manor of false doctrine or sin and desire to draw disciples after themselves (Acts 20:29-31). Paul warned the Church in Acts for 3 years in crying and tears about these sinful deceivers. But the sheep hear the voice of Christ and another they will NOT follow. Jesus said that 'if it were possible' they would deceive even the very elect (Matthew 24:24). These deceivers may even produce signs and wonders (Mark 13:22). It is to those sheep that know His voice and do His will that He gives eternal life and they will never perish (John 10:28). God calls the wolves and goats to REPENTANCE. Clearly the difference between the sheep and the goat is their nature: one follows Christ- the other follows whoever.
Partakers of the Divine Nature
God does not save people in their sins, He saves them from their sins. When you are genuinely born again the Spirit of God takes up residence in you to begin a process of transforming you into the personality of Jesus Christ. Everyone right now either has the nature of the children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3) or you are a partaker of the divine nature (II Peter 1:4). Ephesians 2:2-3 reads...Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. We were 'of our father the devil' doing the deeds of his depraved nature before we were saved (John 8:44). We loved the world and the things of this world before the love of the Father came in and overthrew by a new nature that former love. As it is written... Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever (I John 2:15-17). In other words; how can you cry out in your great love for Him- ABBA Father when your love is for this world? To a sober minded person that could never be possible; but sin has a way of intoxicating us until it actually seems to make sense.
His Seed Remaineth in Them
John the Revelator spoke plainly; but the crafty weavers of doctrinal tapestry can paint a different portrait. It has been said that the Pharisee's were required to be able to prove a false doctrine from scripture to get their credentials- we are not far from that in many ways today. How much clearer can God's word be when a statement like this is made... I John 3:9-10 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. It doesn't get any clearer than that. Oh- the doctrines that have been contrived over the last 2000 years to overthrow this plain fact. The nature of God is to live holy and righteous. The evidence of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the fruits of the Spirit and fruit unto holiness. As it is written... But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:22-23).
Salvation the Lasts
Salvation that lasts is a salvation that God began and will personally perform until the day of the Lord Jesus (Philippians 1:6). It is a sovereign act of God that begins when we RIGHTLY respond to the drawing of the Father by the Spirit (John 6:65). Remember, five out of every seven Pharisee's were hypocrites, stiffnecked, and always resisted the Holy Ghost (Acts 7:51), and they were the fundamentalists of their day. They knew the word, but not the God of the word. They used their traditions to make of none effect the passages required to bring a person genuinely to Christ (Matthew 15; Mark 7). That 'VAIL' is still upon the hearts of many of the Jews today (II Corinthians 3:13-16). The people could not look to the end of those things of the law that they might be schooled unto Christ (Galatians 3:24, 25). The laws 'impact' was lessened until it had not the power to convert the soul (Psalm 19:7). It then served to draw proselytes after them that they might make them twice more the children of the devil than the pharisees themselves (Matthew 23). The Gospel told through the traditions of men has brought us where we are today in the Church. Fallen heads in lukewarm seminaries have sent out their desciples with 'their gospel' and that 'gospel' is responsible for where we are. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is was it is. Ye MUST be born again (John 3:3) and if you are their WILL be verifiable evidence that you have passed from death to life (I John 3:14). True salvation is a salvation that lasts.