"Dead To The Law!"
Legalism is on the rise everywhere. And it comes under many names: Romanism, Liberalism, Fundamentalism, and even Reformed Theology. The legalist never says, "We are saved by works alone." The legalist says, "Salvation is by grace alone, through faith in Christ alone, but..." And then he inserts some work or condition which man must add to the grace of God to make salvation complete. Legalism is always subtle. It is always an attempt to mix works and grace. The legalist may cry out vehemently, "I am preaching grace!" But if it comes out sounding like works, looking like works,and smelling like works, it probably is works. In Galatians 2:19-21 Paul tells us three things which should prevent any who profess faith in the name of Christ from ever being led into legalism.
1. EVERY BELIEVER IS DEAD TO THE LAW!
"I through the law am dead to the law." Paul does not say we have no
regard for the law. We do. But he is saying that we who believe are dead to the
law. We are dead to the law by the law's own testimony, by its fulfilment and
satisfaction by Christ, our Substitute (
2. THE GOSPEL OF GOD'S FREE GRACE IN CHRIST PROMOTES GODLINESS. The legalists favorite weapon to use against God's gospel is to slanderously accuse free grace of promoting licentiousness among those who believe it. But their straw man has no legs. They say we must have either law or licentiousness. But that is not so. Hear the testimony of Scripture - "I through the law am dead to the law, THAT I MIGHT LIVE UNTO GOD. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
3. ANY MIXTURE OF LAW AND GRACE IS BOTH A FRUSTRATION OF THE GRACE OF GOD AND A DECLARATION THAT CHRIST DIED IN VAIN - (v. 21). To declare that righteousness comes, to any degree, by legal obedience is to deny the gospel of grace and to say that the blood of Christ was a useless waste! Such doctrine we cannot and will not tolerate. It both blasphemes God and destroys the souls of men.