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GALATIANS V.4.

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

The churches of Galatia had been assailed by Judaizing teachers, preaching to them that they could not be saved unless they were circumcised and kept the law; and some of those converts who had began in the Spirit, were so far bewitched as to entertain the idea that they were to be made perfect by the works of the law, and thus they became involved and entangled with the yoke of bondage; a yoke which neither they nor the fathers, not even the patriarchs of Israel, were able to bear. The apostle proved very conclusively in this epistle, that no man could be justified in the sight of God, by the works of the law, and because they could not, therefore Christ had redeemed them from under the law, was delivered for their offenses, and raised from the dead for their justification, that he had set them free from the law, as a yoke of bondage, by himself becoming the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth, and hence they were saved by grace, and not by works of their own. Having fully, clearly and irrefutably, established his position of justification alone, and freely, or graciously, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, he admonishes them in the beginning of this chapter, to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made them free, and be not again entangled with the yoke of bondage, and in urging this admonition he testified that if they resorted to the law for life, that was a rejection of Christ. If they were circumcised, after the manner of Moses, they thereby pledged themselves to perform the whole law themselves, and thus leaving Christ entirely out of their justification, he shall profit them nothing. Of what avail that he died for them, if their justification was established on their own works, and not in his redemption? Again, in the text under consideration, by inspiration of the Holy Ghost he testifies that whosoever of them were justified by the law, to them Christ had become of no effect they were not saved by grace, but by works, as he had elsewhere testified, that if it were by works, then it was no more of grace. Salvation could not possibly be jointly of grace and of works, for if it were of the one then it was not of the other. We, if saved at all, must be saved either wholly of grace, or wholly of our own works, and if it were of the latter, Christ was made of no effect, and they were fallen from grace. That is, as grace is infinitely higher than legal works, so salvation by grace transcends salvation by works. Not that Paul either allowed that any could in reality be justified by the works of the law, which he plainly declared was impossible, nor that those who were saved by grace, could ever possibly lose their interest in that grace, which is equally impossible, but on the supposition that any were saved and justified by the law, then they were not subjects of grace, nor were they interested in Christ. Descending from grace to the theory of legal works, is truly a fall, and the depth of the fall is as great as is the distance of grace above works. The great design of the inspired writer is to show that we cannot consistently hold that salvation is conditional, and by the works of the law, without rejecting Christ as the Savior, and grace as the principle on which that salvation is extended to any of the fallen sons of men.

Middletown, N. Y.
May 1, 1859.

Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 4
Pages 222 - 224