If Christianity Today published Paul’s letter to the Galatians.

Episode 1370

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32 Responses to If Christianity Today published Paul’s letter to the Galatians.

  1. Truth2Freedom says:

    Reblogged this on Truth2Freedom's Blog.

  2. gene says:

    Paul never says in Galatians that a person is saved by faith “alone.” His issue with the Galatians is the fact that the Judaizers, Jewish Christians, were saying that circumcision was also required for salvation. Paul never states, in any of his letters, that a Christian is saved by faith alone. Faith yes,but not faith ‘alone.” Paul does not exclude works of grace as also being a requirement. Paul only excludes works of the law(the Mosaic Law) not the good works given to us by God. in fact Paul states in Romans 2:6-7 that God will give to everyman eternal life according to works (works of grace.). In Galatians 6:7-10 Paul says that if you sow to the Spirit you will gain eternal life. No faith alone in that verse. In 1 Corinthians 7:19 Paul says that keeping the commandments of God is what counts. This idea of faith “alone” is a tradition of men, namely Martin Luther and it is not biblical.

    • Alissa says:

      Ephesians 2:8-9.

      • gene says:

        Ephesians 2:8-9 does not help the faith alone believers. Scripture must be interpreted in context. Paul was writing to first century Jews who had become Christian. The Jews believed then, as they do today, that the 613 “works” of the Law of Moses is a requirement for salvation. They would ‘boast” to the gentiles they only they had the law. Paul is saying to these first century Jews that they are saved by grace and not by works (of the Mosaic Law). Paul isn’t addressing the good works that Christians are required to do for salvation. Paul preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ who was asked “What good works must I do to have eternal life? ” Jesus did not say just have faith alone. Jesus said if you want eternal life “keep the commandments. ” Matthew 19: 16-17

    • Ben says:

      Faith alone, certainly yes. But the faith that saves is NOT alone. We are saved by grace ALONE through faith ALONE in Christ ALONE. But the evidence of true saving faith is witnessed in a changed life (Ie: works of repentance, etc.), however, that doesn’t make works part of the requirement for salvation. Instead, works is a NECESSARY by-product of salvation. You cannot put the cart before the horse.

      • gene says:

        Faith alone, no. Scripture never says such a thing. If, as you say, the faith alone that saves is NOT alone then you cannot claim to be saved by faith” alone’. If you must add something (good works) for faith to qualify as a saving faith, then that faith is not alone.
        All good works are prompted and accomplished by God’s grace. Good works, that along with faith are necessary for salvation, are not the result of human action apart from grace. It’s all grace. God is working in the Christian. The Christian simply says yes to God’s grace.
        Scripture couldn’t be more clear. “We see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” James 2:24
        Both our faith and the good works given to us by God justify us. We are not justified by faith only.

      • Chris Bessey says:


        Now YOU’RE the one taking scripture out of context. James wasn’t talking about salvation BY works. He was saying that there is a type of faith that is a saving faith, a genuine faith, and THAT faith will bring forth works. James 2:18 is clear on this. It’s not the fact that we must do works for salvation, but rather “I will show my faith BY my works.” a.k.a My works display the faith I already have.

        A true, saving faith WILL bring forth works. The works do not save a man, but rather the works show that the man bears a SAVING faith. It’s like what Paul was saying to the Philippians when he is completely confident of the salvation of many of them. No unsaved person would risk life and limb for the gospel, and that’s the exact thing that many of the brethren were doing in Philippi. Thus Paul is confident of their salvation and is confident that he WILL see them in heaven (Philippians 1). This is an example of works validating a saving faith.

        If we saved completely and totally by the power of God ALONE (no human synergy), then we will be made more and more into the likeness of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, and being more like Christ, we will naturally be inclined to do the works OF Christ.

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  4. gene says:

    Are you claiming that James is teaching that ‘men” will see our works and we will be justified by MEN and not by God according to our good works?

    • Chris Bessey says:

      How did you pull that from what I said? I’m merely saying to interpret verse 24 in light of verse 18.

      • gene says:

        If you’re going to interpret a verse wouldn’t you agree that the whole context should be include?. Seems to me that you can’t interpret verse 24 without taking verse 19,20,21,22, 23 and verses 25 and 26 into consideration and also taking the rest of scripture, New and Ol, into the process as well. You said earlier that James isn’t talking about salvation by works but the context, of all of scripture, including James 2:24,disagrees with that for James clearly says we are justified by works and not by faith alone. The question is not that works cannot justify us but what kind of works do in fact justify us in the eyes of God?

  5. gene says:

    Scripture is very clear that we are justified by the works given to us by God through grace and by faith given to us by God through grace. We are not justified by faith alone. (James 2:24)

    • Chris Bessey says:

      How then, do we harmonize James 2:24 and Ephesians 2:8-9. How can Paul say explicitly that salvation is NOT of works at all, but James is saying [by your interpretation] that we are saved by works?

      I again return to James 2:18. James is saying that he displays his faith via his works. That the works do not save, rather that it is his TRUE faith which compels him to produce fruit, or “works”.

      This is how we can accurately take in both Ephesians 2:8-9 AND James 2:24 without removing James 2:24 from it’s context.

  6. gene says:

    Chris we harmonize that by reading scripture in full context. By that I mean in a first century context and by understanding to whom Paul was speaking. He was speaking to Jewish Christians in the first century known as Judaizers ( see the Greek of Galatians 2:14) who believed they could be saved by keeping the “works of the law” that is the “Mosaic Law” specifically circumcision which Paul mentions over and over in his writings. Go to Acts 15 and you will see that a Council had to be called to settle this issue. Look at verse 15:1 and 15:5. These are the “works” Paul is talking about in Ephesians 2:8-9, works of the Mosaic Law. James is speaking to Christians about “good ” works that can justify us because they are done totally by God’s grace. This is not my interpretation. This is what Christians have believed for 2000 years. I can say more but I will leave it at that for now. God bless.

    • Chris Bessey says:

      I think we need to take it in a greater context. Look what Ephesians 1 is about. Election.

      Paul starts off the letter to the Ephesians by telling them that they had absolutely no part in their salvation. God is the one who adopts His children. God is the one who predestines his sons and daughters. They have absolutely no part in it.

      So, we go from chapter 1 of Ephesians, Paul telling the church that God is the one who elects, to chapter 2, where he expounds that we had nothing to do with it. Yes, it has to do with Judaizers, but it was much more than JUST the mosaic law. It was everything.

      Let’s take your view out to its logical conclusion. If God passively takes in knowledge (foreknowledge) and sees that you would “choose” Him as a Savior, and send you His Spirit, what did you have that your Atheist neighbor did not have? Were you just born more “spiritual”? More in-tune to God’s call? Would that mean that you are inherently better than your neighbor and thus more “worthy” of God’s salvation?

      By no means. All men are born completely and utterly broken. Romans 1 would say that those who walk according to the flesh do not keep God’s law and they CANNOT keep it either. They have no will to do so, thus no ability to do so.

      Only by a moving of the Holy Spirit can a spiritually dead man be made alive to the realities of a holy God. Not by any works. You’re no better than your neighbors that you would respond to God’s call. Neither am I.

      Thanks for taking the time to read this, brother. Grace and peace to you!

  7. gene says:

    Chris, I want to respond to your answer. Would you tell me what kind of Calvinist are you? 5 pointer or something less? Thanks.

    • Chris Bessey says:

      I adhere to all 5 points as they are described in the Bible. If one rejects one mote of the doctrines of grace, they do not hold to them at all. Again, it’s not because a man made them up, but because it is my belief based on a careful, God-honoring look at all of scripture. Arminianism, at its core, is a man-centered doctrine.

  8. gene says:

    Chris, I’m curious. How do you infallibly know that you are one of the elect?

    • Chris Bessey says:

      Yes. I do, I once walked in opposition to God. But God, being rich in mercy, opened my eyes to my sinful disposition, and made me to love Him and cherish His sacrifice for me.

      Now there is nothing that would make me deny Him. Though man persecute me, gouge my eyes, pierce my limbs, I cannot deny Him. He is a reality that is more true than life itself, so that if I live, I live for Him, and if I die, I dwell with Him forever.

    • Chris Bessey says:

      The mark, or seal, of God’s children is His Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14), which guides His children to Christ, and conforms them more into Christ’s image. There’s a love for God I have now that I didn’t have before. I’m not perfect, but I’ve been given a Holy Discontentment that grows me in holiness. A holiness that without which no man can see God.

      God’s given us other litmus tests to show we are saved as well. 1 John is basically all about that. Love for our fellow brothers, keeping God’s laws in a way that is not burdensome, among other things, show that we belong to Him.

  9. gene says:

    Sounds like you are in the Lordship Salvation camp. Would that be correct?

  10. gene says:

    The work of the Holy Spirit is to conform us to the image of Christ for as you say without holiness no one will see the Lord.
    I just listened to a debate between Calvinist James White and a Baptist where Mr. White defended his adherence to Lordship Salvation. You sound like you would agree with Mr. White’s position. As a Catholic I agree with Lordship Salvation. How about you/

    • Chris Bessey says:

      Yes, I agree that the role of the Holy Spirit is to conform us more into the image of Christ (Romans 15:15). And this work is completely of the Spirit insomuch as keeping God’s law is no longer burdensome for the true Christian (1 John 5:3), and the Spirit will continue to sanctify us until He returns or calls us home.

  11. Ok guys we can agree that you both have faith right? Then how you live your life, how you treat people and how you are led by the HOLY SPIRIT to do all things is your works. Following what CHRIST said that you are to do is your works. It is done in faith. As long as you are following what JESUS CHRIST said and what HE has shown by example, then you all should be able to get this right.

  12. gene says:

    Tony, as a Catholic we wouldn’t phrase it as “your” works. It is God working in us so it is really God’s works. Where we would disagree with Chris is the issue of free will which Catholics believe is a free gift from God just as faith is a free gift from God but we must open those gifts and let God’s grace work in us so that we can be conformed, day by day, to the image of Christ. That is how God is glorified, by freely loving Him.

    • Chris Bessey says:

      Gene, again, if you believe that you must “open” that gift, then you imply two things:

      1) That you are not so radically broken by sin that you are unable to come to Christ on your own
      2) You affirm that salvation is a cooperative effort which is based on your merit of “opening” that gift (of which millions upon millions of people do not “open”).
      3) You imply that you are more “spiritual” than those myriad persons who do not open that gift. There was something good in you that made you open that gift as opposed to them, who did not open it.
      4) If Christ died to only make salvation “possible” and took upon Himself the sins of the whole of humanity, then those who choose not to follow Christ suffer a second time in hell, thus implying that God’s wrath is doubled for each sin of the lost, including the sin of unbelief (John 16:8-9, Hebrews 3:12)
      5) If salvation is a cooperation between God and man, then man can “uncooperate” and lose that salvation. So the “good works of the Holy Spirit” are not efficient enough to keep you saved.

      These are just a few of the many implications of Arminianism. Implications that exalt man to the level of saving himself in some capacity.

      The doctrines of grace are not meant to make me theologically superior to anyone. In fact, the doctrine itself levels the playing field. I’m not better than anyone, and am equally in need of grace. Instead, these salvific doctrines are meant to glorify God, putting the role of Savior squarely in His hands alone.

  13. gene says:

    Obviously Chris I’m not a Calvinist so I do not believe in the 5 points of Calvinism

    Yes I reject totally depravity. Our nature is wounded but not totally corrupt.
    I believe in free will which is a gift from God who gives everyone sufficient grace to be saved. Yes, not everyone accepts that free gift of grace. That doesn’t mean those that do are more “spiritual” rather it is a mystery of free will when infused with God’s grace to act.

    One of my daughters was very obedient and she would freely do whatever we asked. Another daughter would not. She was a rebel. She had to be disciplined. Was one daughter more “loving” towards her parents then the other or is this just an example of the mystery of our free will to act?

    I don’t understand what you mean when you said “ those who choose not to follow Christ suffer a second time in hell, thus implying that God’s wrath is doubled for each sin of the lost, including the sin of unbelief (John 16:8-9, Hebrews 3:12)”

    Suffer a second time in hell? Please explain

    Yes we can choose to reject God’s grace. That is part of God’s gift of free will.

    2 Cor. 6:1 “And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain”

    No we cannot save ourselves. It is all God’s grace. Every impulse, every movement of our free will is God’s grace working in us.

    I’m not here to debate Calvinism.
    You asked me to harmonize James 2:24 use of “works” and Ephesians use of the word “works” and I did that. We are not justified by faith alone but also by God working in us. God is pleased when, moved by grace, our will conforms to His will and He
    “will render to everyman according to his works……eternal life.” Romans 2:6-7

    “For God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love which you showed for his sake in serving the saints.” Hebrews 6:10

    • Chris Bessey says:

      You completely misunderstand Calvinism. As a calvinist, I can completely and totally tell people to make a choice to become a follower of Christ. Some of the greatest Calvinists did this also (Whitefield, Spurgeon, etc.). Calvinism isn’t God forcing someone to act against their will, instead, it’s a changing of the will. Their choice indicates that God has softened their heart.

      Ultimately man is responsible for their sins because they ENJOY sinning. They have no choice BUT sin. They CANNOT follow God because they do not want to (Romans 8). There’s a reason Paul uses the analogy that we are spiritually dead. Because we are. Dead men cannot make choices, let alone good ones. In the same way, spiritually dead men could not choose God because they have no desire to do so. They’re not “kinda” alive, or “sorta” in tune with God’s will. Completely spiritually dead.

      And yes, your daughter who obeys you loves you more. I think God was pretty clear on that (John 14:21, 1 John 5:3). Your disobedient daughter displays something: her desire to sin outweighs her desire to please and honor you. This is why Paul includes “Disobedient to parents” in the same category as “covetous” and “unholy” (2 Tim 3:1).

      This is the inherent problem with Catholicism. I don’t keep God’s commandments because I don’t want to lose my salvation or because I don’t want to go to hell. I keep His commandments because I love Him. It’s completely different. God has opened my eyes to how completely beautiful and worthy He is of all honor, glory and praise. The Holy Spirit shows me the beauty and majesty of Christ, and leads me into sanctification.

      Also, when talking about second suffering for sin:

      As a Catholic, you believe in Penal Substitutionary Atonement, right? That Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us when we believe in Him? And that Christ took our place and suffered the wrath of God the Father on the Cross, right?

      Well let’s use “Joe” as an example. If Joe’s sin was laid on Christ at the cross, and Joe rejects Christ, Joe will ultimately undergo God’s wrath in hell for his misdeeds. If Jesus died for ALL sin, that means Christ bore Joe’s sin on the cross, then Joe bears it a second time in hell. Two sets of punishment for one set of sins. Seems unjust to me.

      Finally, our original conversation regarding James and the conversation regarding the doctrines of grace are congruent. Sola gratia, sola fide and all that jazz.

  14. gene says:

    Chris,. Catholics also keep the commandments because they love God.
    No we do NOT believe in the imputation of Christ’s righteousness or penal substitution atonement.
    Maybe you’re right I don’t understand Calvinism but here are some folks that do. These are folks that were staunch Calvinists, most went to Calvinist seminary and over time converted to Catholicism. They would be happy to talk to you about why they came to reject Calvinism and came to believe that Catholicism is the true faith.

  15. gene says:

    Chris, here is another source. Dr. David Anders a former Calvinist. Here he writes about why the Catholic Church rejects penal substitution atonement theology. You can contact him as well.

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