Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | August 20, 2020

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

Today’s devotion comes from Galatians 5:1-5.

“It was for freedom that Christ set us free;  therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you.  And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law.  You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law;  you have fallen from grace.  For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.”   Galatians 5:1-5.


In today’s Scripture, Paul uses this strong language:  “You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law;  you have fallen from grace.”  Verse 4.

But, we see similar strong language elsewhere in Scripture.

“For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse;  for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.”  Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident;  for, “THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”  However, the Law is not of faith;  on the contrary, “HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM.”  Galatians 3:10-12.

“For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.”  Romans 7:5.

“For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor.”  Galatians 2:18.

“Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision;  for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh, although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh.  …

More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,”  Philippians 3:2-3 and 8-9.

“Are you so foolish?  Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?  Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?  So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?”  Galatians 3:3-5.

Even tolerance and submission to a little false teaching can severely affect the whole individual and the whole church. 

“A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.”  Galatians 5:9.

“And Jesus said to them, “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”  …  Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”  Matthew 16:6 and 12.

“Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you.  And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law.”  Verses 3-4.

In summary, there are those who do not quite trust Christ’s work on the cross to save them.  They do not believe Christ’s blood was sufficient to save them, and they feel it is necessary for their salvation to add their own righteousness derived from the Law.  They try to perfect themselves through the flesh.  

Q. 30.  Do such then believe in Jesus the only Savior, who seek their salvation and welfare of saints, of themselves, or anywhere else?

A.  They do not;  for though they boast of Him in words, yet in deeds they deny Jesus the only deliverer and Savior;  for one of these two things must be true, either that Jesus is not a complete Savior, or that they who by a true faith receive this Savior must find all things in Him necessary to their salvation.  Heidelberg Catechism.

Article 22:  Of Faith in Jesus Christ.

We believe that, to attain the true knowledge of this great mystery, the Holy Ghost kindleth in our hearts an upright faith, which embraces Jesus Christ, with all his merits, appropriates him, and seeks nothing more besides him.  For it must needs follow, either that all things, which are requisite to our salvation, are not in Jesus Christ, or if all things are in him, that then those who possess Jesus Christ through faith, have complete salvation in him.  Therefore, for any to assert, that Christ is not sufficient, but that something more is required besides him, would be too gross a blasphemy:  for hence it would follow, that Christ was but half a Savior.  …  Belgic Confession.

“For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES.  Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?  For we know Him who said:   “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.”  And again, THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.”  It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”  Hebrews 10:26-31.

This Hebrews 10:26-31 Scripture does not apply to the person who steadfastly rejects Christ.  That person did not receive the knowledge of truth as stated in Hebrews 10:26.  That person is not sanctified, so to speak, as is stated in Hebrews 10:29.  That person does not talk about the blood of Christ.  Rather, this Hebrews 10:26-31 Scripture speaks about those received or were exposed to knowledge of the truth and were sanctified so to speak but nevertheless denied the power of the blood and insulted the Spirit of grace.

This Scripture applies to those who love to talk about Christ’s blood all the time, but who really treat Christ’s blood as ineffective by itself , that it does not actually “save”, “purchase”, nor “redeem” anyone, because they teach that it is up to man to generate his own righteousness derived from the Law.  Because they talk about the blood all the time, it is true that in a sense they are trampling it, not in the sense of being hateful to it, but in the sense of treating it as ineffective by itself, like the description in Matthew 5:13:  “… if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again?  It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”

Likewise, they can be compared to the one who insults the Spirit of Grace as is mentioned above in Hebrews 10:29.  Think of a situation in which your father took you out to a very expensive dinner and even left the tip in addition.  However, you did not think that the tip was sufficient so you add your $5 to the tip.  Wouldn’t your father be insulted that you thought that what he did was not enough?  Likewise, they insult God by their doctrine that believes that the blood of Christ is not enough, they feel that they must add their own righteousness derived from the Law.

But, there is hope!

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”— in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”  Galatians 3:13-14.

“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.  Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba!  Father!”  Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son;  and if a son, then an heir through God.”  Galatians 4:4-7.

“For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba!  Father!”  Romans 8:15.

“The slave does not remain in the house forever;  the son does remain forever.  So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”  John 8:35-36.


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