Galatians Bible Study, Part 18: Distinguishing Justification and Sanctification

Class #18:  There is a distinction between justification(Christ for me) and the fruits of justification, called sanctification(Christ in me).  A person is saved when he is justified by faith in Christ, “who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal 2:20).  It always follows that the person who is justified, is sanctified.  That is, God creates a new heart so that the Christian desires to please God and love the neighbor.  Nevertheless, due to the sinful nature, that sanctification is imperfect.   We are not saved by our sanctification, nor do we trust in our sanctification.  We trust in Christ for our justification, which is always perfect.

At the end of Galatians, chapter 2, St. Paul begins to speak about the results or fruits of the Galatians having been crucified with Christ(justification).  “Christ lives in(ἐν) me” and “I live in(ἐν) faith to the Son of God” (Gal 2:20).  Beginning with Galatians, chapter 3, he asks them to look at how their Christian life began, if they were now continuing to live by faith, and the suffering they had endured as a Christian.

With this lesson, we examine the Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article III. Righteousness, 24-29, 37-54, in order to clearly speak about justification and sanctification.  We take note Of the 7+ ways to fail at distinguishing between justification and sanctification.

Overhead: Galatians Class 18 Overhead
Handout: Formula of Concord Solid Declaration III Righteousness Jan 15 2017

#12-Luther’s Catechisms: All that a Christian Needs to Know for His Salvation

“3. But so far as it pertains to the divisions in matters of faith, which have arisen in our day, we regard as the unanimous expression and declaration of our Christian faith and confession,—particularly in opposition to the Papacy and its false methods of worship, its idolatry, and its superstition, as well as to other sects,—the symbol of our time, the original, unaltered Augsburg Confession, delivered to the Emperor Charles V. at Augsburg, in the year 1530, at the great Diet; together with the Apology of the same, and the Articles drawn up at Smalcald, in the year 1537, and subscribed by the most eminent theologians at that time.

And inasmuch as these matters also concern all laymen, and the salvation of their souls, we also acknowledge the Smaller and Larger Catechisms of Dr. Luther, in the form in which both these Catechisms occur in the writings of Luther, as a species of bible of the laity, comprising all that is treated of copiously in the holy Scriptures, and all that it is necessary for a Christian to know for his salvation” (Formula of Concord, Epitome, Rule and Standard, Henkel p. 554)

Galatians Bible Study, Pt. 17: The Law has No Place in Justification

Class #17:  St. Paul continues to emphasize the contrast between righteousness by(διά) faith in Christ and righteousness by (διά) law.   The Scriptural teaching of justification by faith cannot allow the introduction of even a drop of works-righteousness otherwise grace is frustrated and Christ died for nothing.

The law has no place in the doctrine of justification.  Of course, the law is to be used to show me my sin, so that I die to the law.  The law is no longer my master and I am no longer his servant.  Through faith in Christ, I live a new life of thankfulness toward God.

Overhead: Galatians Class 17 Overhead

Galatians Bible Study, Pt. 16: Christ isn’t a Minister of Sin, is He?

Class #16:  St. Paul declares that Jews know—because of the teaching of the Old Testament—that no flesh is justified by keeping the law(Ps 143:2).  Therefore, in order to be justified according to the promise of the Gospel(Mk 16:16), Christians have believed in Jesus Christ.

With Galatians 2:17-18, St. Paul shows the logical result of what happens when a Christian (who is seeking to be justified by faith) adds the requirement of keeping the law for his justification.  With verse 17, we learn that if faith in Christ alone is insufficient to save, then Christ has become a servant who lead us into sin.  Similarly in verse 18, we see that if believers in Christ need the law in order to be justified, then the church’s teaching of faith alone makes us lawbreakers.  We cannot rebuild the law as a requirement for justification, without turning Christ into a sin-causer and us back into a transgressor.  The truth of the Gospel is that important!

Overhead:  Galatians Class 16 Overhead

#11-The Only Rule and Standard is The Word of God

“1. We believe, teach and confess, that the only rule and standard, according to which all doctrines and teachers alike ought to be tried and judged, are the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments alone, as it is written, Psalm 119:105: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” And St. Paul, Gal. 1:8, says: “Though an angel from heaven preach any other Gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Other writings, however, of ancient and modern teachers, whatever their reputation may be, shall not be held to be of equal authority with the holy Scripture, but to be subordinate to it, and shall not be received otherwise or further than as witnesses respecting the manner in which such doctrine of the Prophets and Apostles, was held in certain places, after the age of the Apostles.

  1. And as, immediately after the time of the Apostles, and even while they were yet living, false teachers and heretics arose, against whom Symbols, that is, short, plain confessions, were drawn up in the first churches, which were unanimously held as the universal Christian faith and confession of the orthodox and true churches, namely, the Apostolic Symbol, the Nicene Symbol, and the Athanasian Symbol; we publicly acknowledge these, and hereby reject all heresies and doctrines, which, in opposition to these, have been introduced into the church of God” (Formula of Concord, Epitome, Rule and Standard, Henkel p. 553-554).

#10 –Controversies need to be explained from the Word of God

“…just as our Papist adversaries at present exult on account of the dissensions which have arisen among us, cherishing a hope by no means pious, indeed a false hope, that the utter ruin and extinction of our sound doctrine must follow from our internal controversies. In the meantime, weak persons are exceedingly offended and disturbed; some doubt whether, in the midst of these serious dissensions, the true doctrine can be found among us; some cannot decide to which party they ought to adhere in these controverted articles. For these controversies are not mere misunderstandings or vain and unnecessary disputes concerning words, such as often arise when one party has not fully understood the opinion of another, as perhaps in these religious transactions it may appear to be the case to some, who imagine that these disputes refer only to a few words which can surely be of no great importance. But these are very important subjects and are of such a nature, that the opinion of that party which departs from the truth, neither can be nor ought to be tolerated in the church of God—much less be excused or defended.

Wherefore necessity requires that these controverted articles should be distinctly explained from the Word of God, and from approved writings, so that all pious and intelligent persons may perceive whose opinion, in these controversies is conformable to the Word of God, and the orthodox Augsburg Confession, and what opinion is opposed to these approved writings; that good and pious minds, to whom truth is dear, may avoid and escape the corruptions and errors which have arisen” (Formula of Concord, Full Declaration, Preface, Henkel p.594).

#9-Grievous and Pernicious Controversies

“But though the pious doctrine of this Confession, in general has met with no opposition, except that which proceeded from the Papists, it must be confessed that some theologians, in several articles of chief importance, have departed from it, and either have not arrived at its true sense, or have certainly failed to adhere to it uniformly; while some also have endeavored to affix to it a sense really foreign to it, who nevertheless professed that they embraced the Augsburg Confession, and pretended to glory in the profession of it.

But from this circumstance very grievous and pernicious controversies arose in the reformed churches; as also formerly, while the Apostles were still living, shocking errors arose among those who desired to be esteemed Christians and who gloried in the doctrine of Christ. For some sought for justification and salvation through the works of the law, Acts 5:1–29; others denied the resurrection of the dead, others did not believe that Christ is the true and eternal God. These men the Apostles zealously opposed in their discourses and their writings; although they were not ignorant that those errors and violent controversies on such important subjects, caused great offence among unbelievers as well as among those who were weak in the faith” (Formula of Concord, Full Declaration, Preface, Henkel p.593-594).