Firstborn Sonship of Christ
The New Birth
APPLICATION OF THE ALLEGORY
"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage" (slavery), Gal 5:1.
Do not be entangled again with the yoke of slavery. "Tell me, you that desire to be under the Law" Covenant, do you not hear what the Law Covenant is saying? It is a yoke of slavery. It will make eternal slaves out of you.
13 "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law (Covenant), having become a curse for us (for it is written, Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree')," Gal 3:13.
3 "Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage (slavery) under the elements of the world.
4 "But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law (Covenant),
5 "To redeem those who were under the Law (Covenant), that we might receive the adoption as sons (adult firstborn sons).
6 "And because you are sons (firstborn divine sons, metaphorically), God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, Abba, Father!'
7 "Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son (a free firstborn son), and if a (firstborn covenant) son, then an heir of God through Christ," Gal 4:3-7.
The covenant people (generically) have been redeemed from the Law Covenant. But what does that mean? Please observe what being redeemed from the Law Covenant really means:
1. Redeemed from the Curse.
All who were under the Law Covenant were of the works of the Law Covenant, and were therefore under the curse, without exception whether saved or unsaved:
10 "For as many as are of the works of the Law (Covenant) are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in ALL things which are written in the book of the Law, to do them," Gal 3:10.
There was no exception, whether prophet, priest, king, slave, free, saved, lost, faithful, or unfaithful all under the Law Covenant were under the curse. It is a Protestant doctrine that says that the "curse" meant going to hell. The "curse" of the Law Covenant did not mean going to hell. It did mean separation from the covenant firstborn sonship of Christ.
Only the covenant people were redeemed from the curse, condemnation, wrath, etc., of the Law Covenant. The saved person who has been scripturally baptized into Christ, has thereby been metaphorically joined to the body of Christ he has put on Christ, and is therefore "IN Christ;" that is, he is IN the body of Christ, which is, of course, a metaphor, but an extremely important metaphor, Rom 6:5; 1Co 6:15-17; Gal 3:27.
Being in the body of Christ, the scripturally baptized person's body is metaphorically credited as being crucified together with Christ, dead together with Christ, buried together with Christ, raised (quickened, made alive) together with Christ, and thereby deified together with Christ, Rom 6:3-6.
The bodies of those who are in the body of Christ are counted as being deified members of the deified body of Christ, 1Co 6:15-16. Metaphorically, their bodies are counted as being raised out of the waters of baptism "in newness of life" into a new kind of life, that is, the same kind of divine life that the now deified flesh body of Christ has, Eph 2:10-16 (1-22).
The saved person who has not been scripturally baptized has rejected the counsel of God against himself (Lk 7:29-30), has refused the circumcision of Christ (Col 2:11-13), and has thereby rejected the crucifixion cycle which only those in the body of Christ are credited as having, Rom 4:17; 6:2-23; Col 2:10-21; 3:1-10; Eph 4:22-24; et al.
2. Redeemed from Death.
All who were under the Law Covenant were under the sentence of "death" of the Law Covenant without exception, whether prophet, priest, king, saved, unsaved, faithful, or unfaithful. The Law Covenant was a ministry of "death" to everyone who was under the Law Covenant:
7 "But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away," 2Co 3:7.
12 "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned," Rom 5:12.
Being saved from hell or even being under the Law Covenant did not free one from the sentence of death. Under the Law Covenant, Paul said he was "held," "shut up,""sold under sin" under the Law Covenant of "sin and death," Rom 7:4-25; Gal 3:22-23.
This "death" has at least three major applications that we must acknowledge:
a) Adam died the day (the instant) he ate the forbidden fruit. This death means "separation" from God though Adam was still alive in his flesh body. Adam obviously became a sinner, but was already a believer in God. God killed animals (no doubt clean animals) and clothed Adam and Eve to teach them how to worship and walk before God in a revised covenant relationship. In a much later article we will deal with this specific killing of animals and what clothing Adam and Eve in their skins fully means.
This death that Adam and Eve died the day they ate of the forbidden fruit is still our current and actual condition before God. We are still in sinful, earthen vessels (bodies 2Co 4:7), and are only metaphorically reckoned to be quickened back to life in a deified body. In our sinful flesh bodies we are not permitted to enter into the presence of God, and the nations on the new earth who will not receive deified bodies will not be allowed into the presence of God in the New Jerusalem, Rev 22:14. The kings over the nations will be those who were faithful in this life, Rev 1:6; 2:26-27; 5:10; 20:4-6.
b) Nine hundred thirty years later, Adam died a physical death. At this death man's spirit leaves his body and the body is buried, cremated, or whatever is done with it.
c) Being cast into the lake of fire is called the second death, Rev 20:14; 21:8. We are saved from this death at first faith, but the death of 1) above still holds with every unbaptized saved person.
The death referenced in many verses (Rom 7:5-25; 8:6,13; Jn 15:6; Ja 5:20; Jude 12) is the same as that of 1) above. When one is scripturally baptized, he is metaphorically joined to Christ (puts on Christ, made alive in the body of Christ, Rom 6:5 (2-13); Gal 3:27; 1Co 6:15-17) God is speaking of things which be not, as though they really were, Rom 4:17.
However, when a New Covenant person is cut off from Christ, his body is no longer reckoned to be (credited as being) alive to God in the deified body of Christ; rather, his body passes from that deified life status of the body of Christ back to the death status in which our sinful bodies still actually are. The saved church member passes from life back to death:
13 "For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live," Rom 8:13.
6 "For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace," Rom 8:6.
3. Redeemed from Condemnation.
All who were under the Law Covenant were under the condemnation of the Law Covenant, without exception, whether prophet, priest, king, saved, or unsaved. This condemnation is precisely the same as the death status in which all mankind exists (Rom 5:12-21; 7:5-25), that is, separation from Christ (separation from that divine state of being). The Law Covenant was a "ministry of condemnation:"
9 "For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more does the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory," 2Co 3:9.
Here the Law Covenant is called a ministry of condemnation, and there were myriads of saved people under the Law Covenant, and therefore under the ministry of condemnation. It would obviously disturb the apostle Paul to hear Landmark Baptists trying to argue against that fact.
IF being under condemnation meant condemned to hell, then no one under the Law Covenant could ever be saved at all, because everyone under the Law Covenant was under condemnation because the Law Covenant was a ministry of condemnation, 2Co 3:9. The church
in Jerusalem spent all its history under the Law Covenant, and the churches of Galatia were being persuaded to obey the Law Covenant. Again, IF being under condemnation meant condemned to hell, that would mean being delivered from the Law Covenant, the covenant people could finally be saved, but going back under the Law Covenant they would be lost again, because everyone under the Law Covenant are cursed and condemned. However, although believers under the Law Covenant were condemned, they were nevertheless saved from hell.
The answer to this misconception is that the condemnation of the Law Covenant did not condemn anyone to hell except those who had never repented and believed in the first place. We repeat, the Law Covenant condemned those who sought to obey it, and that condemnation was not to hell but to separation from the firstborn sonship and would leave them saved from hell. They would still be sons, but would be slave sons who will inhabit the new earth in mere flesh bodies. Proof of this has been given and will continue to be given.
We must understand that there are TWO salvations in the Bible: a) one is salvation from hell, and b) the other is covenant salvation of one's daily "life," which (by grace through faith) qualifies the faithful covenant people for the firstborn sonship in the resurrection birth into the divine nature of God, 2Pe 1:4; Mt 59,44-45; Lk 6:35; Rom 8:17-26; 2Co 6:17-18; Gal 4:4-7; Rev 21:7.
One can be saved from going to hell and still not save his life into the firstborn sonship of Christ, Mt 16:24-27; Mk 8:34-38; Lk 9:23-26; Mt 10:22; 24:1:12-13; et al. Paul was warning the Galatians that they were falling back under the condemnation of the Law Covenant which would make them slave sons (mere flesh sons) rather than divine sons in the resurrection.
Our bodies are credited as having divine life by virtue of metaphorically being the members of the divine body of Christ; however, by persistent unfaithful living (walking according to the flesh) the saved church member will pass from life back to that same death and condemnation in which the Law Covenant held its subjects, Jn 15:1-6; Rom 8:6,13; Ja 5:19-20. It is necessary for us to understand that we have divine life now only on the basis of being metaphorically called members of the divine body of Christ. God "is calling things which be not as thought they were," Rom 4:17. That is a metaphor.
We have run the doctrine of the security of the believer in the ground by a gross misuse of Scriptures that apply primarily to the "believing" ones. There will indeed be many nations of saved people eternally on the new earth who are not and will never be firstborn sons, Rev 21:23-26; 22:1-2. Even the saved person whose works are all burned is still saved, 1Co 3:15. Salvation from hell is the major part of the "crumbs" which fall from the children's table, Mt 15:27; Mk 7:28. Furthermore, it is quite obvious that there will be many saved people saved according to the witnessing of the Holy Spirit, Ps 19:1-6; Mt 2:1-12; 12:41-42; 15:22-28; Mk 7:28; Jn 1:9; 12:32; 16:7-10; Act 14:16-17; 17:26-28; Rom 1:18-20; 1Co 3:15; Gal 4:21-31; Heb 12:8; Rev 21:23-26; 22:1-2.
The unfaithful saved person who is excluded from the church becomes one of the nations, Mt 18:17. Yet "in Christ" (in the body of Christ) there are no nations (no national distinctions), Gal 3:27-29; Col 3:9-10. Be assured, God created the nations with the slave son status in mind for them, and God will complete the good work He has begun. A study of God's purpose in the nations is a wholesome study.
4. Redeemed from Slavery.
"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage" (slavery), Gal 5:1; 4:3,9,19-31; Col 2:8,20.
The Law Covenant was a "yoke of bondage," or "ministry of slavery." It was a ministry of slavery to sin, a ministry of slavery to the flesh, a ministry of slavery to flesh works, therefore a ministry of slavery to the sinful flesh nature, and we have already demonstrated that it was a ministry of slavery to the laws of the physical universe, Gal 4:3,9; Col 2:8,20.
We will yet abundantly demonstrate from the Scriptures, that God's eternal purpose includes the continued and permanent enslavement of the nations on the new earth to the laws of the physical universe. The nations on the new earth will exist in perfect utopian societies, and in perfect but mere flesh bodies. This allegory (Gal 4:21-31), explicitly teaches that God's purpose includes a sonship other than the firstborn sonship with its divine birthright.
We must be constantly being transformed by the renewing of our minds from the earthy things below to the heavenly things that are above, Col 3:1-10; Rom 12:1-2; 2Co 3:18. Otherwise we will not "win Christ," and share in His firstborn sonship, Phi 3:7-14,21.
CHRIST WILL PROFIT YOU NOTHING
"Behold, I Paul say to you, that if you be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing," Gal 5:2.
The Jerusalem church was a Law-keeping church, and powerful emissaries out of the Jerusalem church were leading the Galatian churches away from the true Gospel of Christ into a perverted gospel of Christ, Act 10; 11:1-18; 15; 21:17-26; Gal 1; 2:1-14; and all of Galatians.
It is sad to read Protestant books on Gal 5:1-4, the authors of who boldly yet vainly try to prove that Paul was writing concerning lost people within the churches of Galatia. There is nothing in this passage (Gal 4:19--5:5) or in the entire book of Galatians that indicates any sort of problem pertaining to unsaved people. The unfaithful saved do not practice true righteousness, and 1Jn 3:8-10 groups them as "children of Satan." They are not literally children of Satan, but are children of Satan in practice, in their manner of life. Look at 2Pe 1:9 and the manner of life of the person (class of people) who is living like unsaved people and has forgotten (oblivious to the fact) that he was once "cleansed from his (or their) old sins."
Does 2Pe 1:9 describe an unsaved person? Or, does it describe a very unfaithful saved person? Is this unfaithful saved person making his calling and election sure? The next verse states that one must be faithful to make his calling and election sure.
It is more disappointing, however, to find that we as Landmark Baptists also cannot discern the true impact of this very striking allegory, Gal 4:21-31; 5:1-5. We therefore grossly misapply the very obvious meaning of these passages, and then we must misinterpret the entire Bible as far as the true destiny of the unfaithful saved is concerned.
Paul said, "if you be circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing," Gal 5:2. In the beginning of the Galatian allegory, Paul said to the Galatian churches, "Tell me, you who desire to be under the Law, do you not hear the Law?" Gal 4:21. The Galatians were beginning to be circumcised as a requirement of the Law Covenant. The emissaries out of the Jerusalem church were convincing them that they had to keep the Law Covenant in order to be true covenant people and receive the covenant promises, Act 15:1-29; Gal 2:1-14. In this allegory and its application (Gal 4:195:5), Paul is discussing the covenant salvation of the firstborn sonship not salvation from hell.
CHRIST WOULD PROFIT THEM NOTHING in His intercessory ministry as High Priest of the New Covenant. Christ would profit them nothing as far as the covenant promises are concerned. Christ would profit them nothing as far as His firstborn sonship is concerned. Christ would profit them nothing as far as the current adoption into the first-born sonship is concerned. Christ would profit them nothing as far as the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit is concerned. Christ would profit them nothing as far as the covenant inheritance is concerned. However, they would become slave sons, represented by the Law Covenant, Gal 4:19-31; 5:1-5.
The Holy Spirit could not be given to the covenant people until Christ's body was glorified (deified, born into a deified state of being), Jn 7:39. The covenant people could not receive the current adoption into the firstborn sonship and be metaphorically joined to the deified body of Christ until they were redeemed from the curse, death, condemnation, and slavery of the Law Covenant, Gal 3:13; 4:4-6; Rom 8:14-23.
For the church in Jerusalem and the churches of Galatia or any other churches to go back under the Law Covenant, would cut them off from the New Covenant benefits and promises (one of which was the firstborn sonship) and put them back into the slave son status of the Law Covenant, which represented slavery to the physical universe.
This passage (Gal 4:195:5) unequivocally states that there are two distinct sonships: a) a firstborn covenant sonship, and b) a slave sonship. And to undertake to keep the Law Covenant along with the New Covenant would and will relegate such persons from the New Covenant with its firstborn sonship, which Isaac represents, down into the slave sonship which Ishmael and the Law Covenant represent.
MUST KEEP THE WHOLE LAW COVENANT
"And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole Law (Covenant)," Gal 5:3.
10 "For as many as are of the works of the Law (Covenant) are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the Law (Covenant), to do them," Gal 3:10.
10 "For whosoever shall keep the whole Law (Covenant), and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all," Ja 2:10.
The first thing we must observe about these two verses (and Gal 3:10) is that the Law Covenant is still very much alive to everyone who puts himself under it. He is obligated to keep ALL the Law Covenant, and if he breaks one commandment he is guilty of all the commandments. Circumcision was one's vow to keep ALL (everything) the Law Covenant required, as water baptism is one's vow to keep all the New Covenant.
Those in the New Covenant died to the Law Covenant by believing and being in the body of Christ (Rom 7:4), and were thereby credited as having been (metaphorically and generically) crucified together with and in the body of Christ, having died together with and in the body of Christ, buried together with and in the body of Christ, raised together with and in the body of Christ, and deified together with and in the body of Christ. The covenant people were and are thereby redeemed from the Law Covenant by being in the body of Christ, Gal 4:4-5.
Observe carefully that those who died to the Law Covenant by the body of Christ are engaged to be married to Him, Rom 7:4. Therefore only those in the body of Christ are dead to the Law Covenant and its curse, death, condemnation, and slavery. Those outside the body of Christ can lay no true scriptural claim whatever to any of the covenant benefits and promises.
The Law Covenant demonstrated the perfect righteousness of God (Ps 19:7; Rom 3:21; Ja 1:25), therefore no sinful person could ever keep the Law Covenant. But that is one of the first things God intended for all the world to learn from the Law Covenant, Rom 3:19; 7:7-25. Yet everyone under the Law Covenant was "held," "kept," "shut up" under the Law Covenant with the absolute requirement to obey the Law Covenant perfectly in every aspect, and do it in a sinful flesh body, which, of course, no one could do. If any one part of the Law Covenant was broken, then all if it was broken, Ja 2:10. The Law Covenant, of course, was and still is impossible to be perfectly obeyed by sinful men.
This left everyone under the Law Covenant (and all the world, Rom 3:19) under the curse, death sentence, condemnation, and slavery in sinful flesh bodies which the Law Covenant demonstrated. This curse, condemnation, death, and slavery actually existed before the Law Covenant was given and still exists today. Under the New Covenant we are still in that condition in the flesh; however, God in the New Covenant, is speaking of things which be not, as though they were (Rom 4:17), and thereby metaphorically addresses us (our bodies) as being divine members of the now resurrected, born again, divine body of Christ, 2Co 5:16-17; 1Co 6:15-17; Rom 6:2-21.
This New Covenant reckoning is efficacious to the extent the Holy Spirit was given to the church (the New Covenant people) as the Administrator of the New Covenant in this current qualifying phase of the New Covenant. Also, on the basis of this covenant reckoning, the Holy Spirit was given as the earnest (guarantee) that we will inherit all the covenant promises as long as we remain within the qualifying parameters stipulated in the New Covenant for this age.
Our bodies are metaphorically said to have been crucified together as members of the body of Christ, have died together as members of the body of Christ, buried together as members of the body of Christ, raised together as members of the body of Christ, and deified together as members of the body of Christ, Rom 6:2-13; 7:4-6; Col 2:11-21; 3:1-11; Eph 2:1-22; et al.
The Jerusalem church and the churches of Galatia were on the brink of passing from this metaphoric state of life back to the state of death under which the whole of the human race is enslaved. These saved and scripturally baptized church members would still be saved from going to hell, but would be in the nations on the new earth as other than firstborn sons. We will explain in even greater detail the things presented in this chapter as we continue this study of the firstborn sonship of Christ.
CHRIST IS BECOME OF NO EFFECT TO YOU
"Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the Law; you are fallen from grace," Gal 5:4.
You are severed (cut off) from Christ, you who would be justified in the sphere of the Law Covenant, because everyone who is of the works of the Law Covenant is under the curse of that covenant (Gal 3:10), and Christ can never again be cursed. The bodies of those in the body of Christ (a metaphor) are counted as though they are what Christ is; that is, since His body is now a divine body, the bodies of those joined into His body are counted as being joined into "one spirit" body. Their bodies spoken of as being the members of Christ's body, and therefore having divine bodies as His body is divine, 1Co 6:15-17; Eph 4:11-16,22-24; Col 2:93:11.
If we endure God's rigorous covenant training (His covenant discipline or chastening), we will receive the same divine birth in the resurrection when Christ returns. The covenant training requires a lot more separation from the world (TV), dedication to God, sacrifice, and Bible reading, believing and practicing than is observable in our lukewarm religious devotion.
Those under the Law Covenant were under the curse, death, condemnation, and slavery of the Law Covenant. There was no way the Galatian churches could remain joined to Christ in His body if they persisted in trying to keep the Law Covenant. And there is no other way to be "joined" to Christ than through John's baptism into a true church. It is through scriptural water baptism that the saved person is metaphorically joined into the body of Christ, Rom 6:3-5; 1Co 12:13; Gal 3:27. Those who do not have John's baptism have rejected the counsel of God against themselves (Lk 7:29-30), have rejected the circumcision of Christ (Col 2:11-13), have refused to walk in the light as God is in the light (1Jn 1:5-7), and have refused the doctrine of Christ, 2Jn 9-11.
Saved people who do not have John's baptism do not have the doctrine of Christ and therefore do not have the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, 2Jn 9-11. When one refuses to accept this inspired truth, he is transgressing the doctrine of Christ, and thereby adding to and diminishing from God's Word, which will bring the wrath of God upon himself, Rev 22:18-19. Many Landmark Baptists are leaving the doctrine of Christ by joining with the Protestants, and will thereby reap that very bitter judgment. Things are extremely bad as they are already.
FALLING FROM GRACE
"Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the Law (Covenant); you are fallen from grace," Gal 4:4.
In the first application of the Law Covenant, it was and is a flesh works covenant, because it required sinful man in his sinful condition to obey that covenant perfectly. To break one commandment was to break every commandment in the Law Covenant, Ja 2:10; Gal 5:3; 3:10.
The Law Covenant led to faith by providing an animal sacrifice for the Law-breaker, but the Law Covenant still held the man firmly under its curse, condemnation, wrath, etc., because the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin, Heb 10:4. The Law Covenant required the Law-breaker to continue trying to keep the Law Covenant in all its commandments. Though they could keep the Law Covenant outwardly, they could not keep it in their hearts. Hence, it was necessary to see the animal sacrifices representing Christ as the Lamb of God. In this way they could walk "by grace through faith," although at the same time they unavoidably continued breaking the Law in their hearts, and walk in the flesh. They could not avoid walking in the flesh, as far as the flesh is concerned; however, at the same time they could walk by grace through faith, Rom 7:25; Lk 1:6; Rom 7:4-6; 6:15-23; 7:25 (14-25).
Even under the Law Covenant the covenant people fell from grace when they ceased to walk by grace through faith, and they did such many times. We must understand that we are not only saved from hell by grace through faith, but we can and must walk (live) by grace through faith throughout each day of our lives, Heb 11; Rom 6:1-23.
However, this passage in Gal 5:1-4 makes it clear that there was no longer any grace for living under the Law Covenant because, for one thing, the New Covenant people are pronounced dead to the Law Covenant (Rom 7:4), and "dead to sin," Rom 6:1-13; 7:4-6. For another reason, trying to obey the Law Covenant along with the New Covenant would cut them off from Christ as the High Priest of the New Covenant, and therefore from all the covenants because Christ is the Redeemer (the prophetic Lamb of God) under all the covenants. Hence, to be cut off from Christ is fatal, without remedy, as far as the firstborn sonship is concerned.
10 "But by the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me," 1Co 15:10.
Paul said he labored more abundantly than all the apostles, yet he quickly said it was not him but the grace of God that was with him. Paul worked more than all the apostles, but these works were the works of grace the works of the Holy Spirit in and through Paul. Therefore these were not man's works, or flesh works, or Law works through sinful men. They were not works of righteousness which Paul had done, but works that God had done through Paul. There are two kinds of works. a) Our works in and through the flesh, b) God's works in and through us by the Holy Spirit. These latter works are by grace through faith. See this editor's writings on "Amazing Grace."
12 "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;
13 "For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure," Phi 2:12-13.
We must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, but it is God who is working in us to do of His good pleasure. So it is God's works in us and not our works, flesh works, man's works, or Law works according to the flesh. These works are God's works, therefore they are the works of the Holy Spirit in us, the works of grace, the works of faith. Again, there are two kinds of works: one of man, and the other of God. God will accept only His works in and through us. He will not accept our works.
19 "But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to YOU in that hour what YOU should speak;
20 "For it is NOT YOU who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you," Mt 10:19-20.
Observe that it will be given YOU what YOU will speak, but then it is not you who is speaking, but the Holy Spirit is speaking in and through you. We will be speaking, but it will be the Holy Spirit speaking in and through us. Again, these are God's works through the Holy Spirit through us. They are therefore "grace through faith" works which God counts as His works in and through us.
16 "Let us therefore be coming boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need," Heb 4:16.
We go to the throne of grace in prayer and find grace to help for whatever need we have, for whatever we need to do. We find grace to pray, grace to preach, grace to witness, grace to give, grace to love, grace to forgive, grace to perform all God commands us to do. Grace and God's works go together, but grace and our works, flesh works, Law works, etc., do not go together. There are two distinct kinds of works: God will accept His works in and through us, but not our flesh works.
28 "Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have GRACE, whereby we may SERVE God acceptably with reverence and godly fear," Heb 12:1-28.
Grace is provided for us to serve God acceptably. Grace to serve means God is working through us, using our mind, our mouth, our hands, our feet, etc., to do His will.
9 "And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me," 2Co 12:9.
Paul stood firm and persevered through many bitter trials and severe hardships, endured terrible persecutions, performed many, many good works, and overcame by grace through faith. God's grace is sufficient for every need and for every work we do (2Co 15:10), for it is God who is working in us to will and do of His good pleasure, Phi 2:12-13.
8 "This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain GOOD WORKS. These things are good and profitable to men," Titus 3:8.
All the works that we perform that God will accept are "good works," because they are God's works in and through us by grace through faith.
THE HOPE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
"For we through the Spirit are waiting for the hope of righteousness by faith," Gal 5:5.
No one can be justified by the works of the Law Covenant, Rom 3:19-20; Gal 2:16; 3:11. God's first major purpose in the Law Covenant was to condemn sinners rather than justify them, and to shut them up under the curse of that covenant until Christ was made a curse for the covenant people, Gal 3:11-13,22-23. The whole world needs first to become aware that they are sinners and are accursed from God, Rom 3:19; 5:12. God's second major purpose in the Law Covenant was to reveal His redemption plan through the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world, 1Pe 1:18-20; Rev 5:6,12; 13:8. We must recognize that the Law Covenant firmly held the covenant people under the curse, condemnation, death, wrath, and slavery of that covenant. The Law Covenant first represented slavery to sin (Rom 7:7-24), and secondly, slavery to the rudimentary laws of the universe, Gal 4:3,9; Col 2:8,20-21; Rom 9:4.
To try to keep the Law Covenant along with the New Covenant, as the church in Jerusalem was trying to do, and as the churches of Galatia were being persuaded to do and persist in doing so, would inevitably bring destruction from Christ, from the freedom of the firstborn sonship of Christ, and from all the promises of all the covenants, Gal 4:19-31; 5:1-4.
The words "are waiting" (Gal 5:5 above) do not mean sitting down daydreaming. Conversely, waiting on the Lord means being very busy doing by grace through faith what He has commanded us to do.
The only "righteousness" God will accept is HIS righteousness. By grace through faith, God performs righteous works in and through us, and these righteous works are credited to the covenant people as God's divine attribute of righteousness. In this passage, Paul is speaking of God's righteousness: one of the attributes of His own divine nature, which will be inherent (inborn) in the bodies of the faithful covenant people in the resurrection into the firstborn sonship of Christ.
"The hope of righteousness" means we do not really have God's righteousness now. We do not "hope" for what we already have:
23 "Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
24 "For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?
25 "But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance," Rom 8:23-25.
We are hoping for the redemption of our bodies into the divine firstborn sonship of Christ, for which resurrection Paul said he had not yet qualified, but was striving earnestly each day in order to qualify for that resurrection birth we must "hold fast" by grace through faith each day of our life, Phi 3:7-14; 1Co 15:1-2,44-49; Col 1:1,21-23,27.
3 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 "To an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
5 "Who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time," 1Pe 1:3-5.
The "hope" in this passage again is the hope of the resurrection into a body that is "incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven" "laid up for you in heaven," Col 1:5. But we are "kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." 1Pe 1:5.
But we can make shipwreck of faith, as the Israelites did, 1Ti 1:18-20; 1Co 10:1-12; Heb 3:7-18. We can fail to make our calling and election sure, 2Pe 1:9. We can leave the doctrine of Christ and lose the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, 2Jn 8-11; 1Jn 2:23-25; 5:2Pe 3:16-17.
This righteousness is the "fine linen, clean and white," which is the righteous acts of the saints, Rev 19:7-8. This "fine linen" is God's righteousness the saints have no righteousness other than God's righteousness. All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, Isa 64:6.
Here "righteousness" is generic of all the attributes of the divine nature, as "life" and "glory" are often also generic for the whole of the divine nature. God credits His righteousness to the covenant people (to them only) through justification to be received in the resurrection birth, Rom 4:24-25.
9 "And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the Law (Covenant), but that which is through the faith OF Christ, the righteousness which is from God by the faith," Phi 3:9.
Paul earnestly longed to be found in Christ (in the body of Christ) in the resurrection (Phi 3:9-11), having God's righteousness (God's divine nature). We can obtain God's righteousness only in the body of Christ, which has Christ as its Head the body of Christ provides the Holy Spirit who indwells the body to give us the personal faith and mind OF Christ, which, of course, includes the doctrine of Christ.
Again, we do not really have God's righteousness in this life, but that righteousness is promised to those covenant people who are conscientiously and diligently waiting for it by meticulously setting their affections on heavenly things, while putting earthy things aside to be pursued only as necessary to sustain physical life, Col 3:1-10; Eph 4:22-24; Mt 5:6; 6:33; 25:34-40; 2Co 9:10; 1Ti 6:11; 2Ti 2:22; Heb 11:7.
The unfaithful saved who reject John's baptism (Lk 7:29), who reject the circumcision of Christ (Col 2:11-13), or who are cut off from Christ (Jn 15:1-6; Rom 11:11-22; Gal 5:1-4), can not qualify for the righteousness of God in the firstborn sonship of Christ, but will be slave sons in perfect flesh bodies on the new earth, Rev 21:23-26; 22:1-2; et al.
QUESTIONS AND WORK TASKS FOR CHAPTER TWO
1. The Law Covenant is called a yoke of bondage or yoke of slavery, Gal 5:1. Explain why.
2. The Law Covenant is called a ministry of death, 2Co 3:7. Explain why.
3. The Law Covenant is called a ministry of condemnation, 2Co 3:9. Explain why.
4.The Law Covenant is a ministry of the curse, Gal 3:10. Explain why.
5. Define the freedom of Christ's glorified (deified) human body in view of the elementary laws of the universe, Rev 15:44-50; Gal 4:3,9; Col 2:8,20-21.
6. Delineate (analyze and itemize) the metaphor of the church as the body of Christ and the members of the church as the members of the body of Christ in view of the crucifixion cycle, Gal 2:20; 5:24; Rom 6:2-13; 1Co 6:15-17. The crucifixion cycle is the crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection birth of the body of Christ.
7. Delineate (analyze and itemize) the results of being cut off from Christ, Gal 5:2,4 (1-5).
8. Describe what it means to fall from grace, Gal 5:4.
9. What is the hope of righteousness? Analyze and describe.
10. Explain how Gal 5:1-5 applies to the allegory in Gal 4:19-31. That is, what are the results of churches and church members trying to keep the Law Covenant, or trying to keep both the Law Covenant and the New Covenant?