Galatians 5:18

The argument:

Galatians 5:18: “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” (The only logical interpretation possible, to be consistent with over 100+ pro-Mosaic law verses in the New Testament, is that this means not under the penalty part of the law, with the obedience part still intact.) “Under the law” can just as easily be translated as “of the law.” Even most 17 year old teenagers could probably tell you that this verse, turned around, readily proves that the law has not been abolished if you are not led by the Holy Spirit. That would mean that you are under the law, the entire law (both obedience and the penalty parts) if you are not led by the Holy Spirit or do not have it. The acquisition of the Holy Spirit, however, is only by obedience to the law according to Acts 2:38 and 5:32. Repentance in Acts 2:38 involves sincerely stopping sinning, which can only come about by obeying the law. 1 John 3:4 defines sin as breaking the Mosaic law, or the laws that include the Mosaic laws. Romans 8:2 further explains about “not being under the law.” According to that verse we are now no longer under the law of sin and death, death being the penalty part of the law.

First, this statement simply is not true:

Even most 17 year old teenagers could probably tell you that this verse, turned around, readily proves that the law has not been abolished if you are not led by the Holy Spirit. That would mean that you are under the law, the entire law (both obedience and the penalty parts) if you are not led by the Holy Spirit or do not have it.

Logically, ” if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” is equivalent to:

“you are not under the law if you are led by the Spirit.” The negative of this would be:

“You are under the law if you are not led by the Spirit”. But that’s not a true statement because the Law was never given to the Gentiles, only to the Jews.

Second, the basis for the whole argument is that one can only be given the Holy Spirit by obeying the Law. Let us look at Acts 2:38

38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Notice that this passages does not say to obey the Law, but to repent (change) and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Notice, the Law was added because of transgressions until the seed (Christ) would come.

Galatians 3:19

Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.
Now let us look at the other passage used in the argument that one must obey the Law.

Acts 5:32

32 And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

This does not say that people must obey the Law to receive the Holy Spirit. The Gentiles were never given the Law. So what is it that people are obeying?

John 6:26-29

26 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me,not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

So to obey God, one would have to do the work required by God, which is to believe that He sent His only Son, the Christ, to suffer and die to pay the price of the sins of the world.

Gentiles who believe have the Law written upon their hearts.

Romans 2:13-15

13 for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,

The purpose of the book of Galatians is remind the people he had taught about the grace of God to not turn to something other than faith in Christ alone.  The Law was only intended to lead us to Christ. Faith in Christ is what is needed to be considered righteous by God. God sent the Spirit of His son into believers’ hearts, and those believers are full children of God, and as such, heirs to the Kingdom of God.  Trying to be righteous by following rules, religious holidays, or any way other than faith in Christ is done in vain.

Plain reading of scripture tells us that people who trust in Christ have CHRIST’s righteousness and are no longer subject to the Law – no longer have to follow the Law.

Galatians 5:16-25 says,

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh ; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.

19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident,which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy,outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love,joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control ;against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

Now before you start trying to say that people who do NOT do those deeds of the flesh are following the Law, this is not necessarily the case. One can have the Law written on their hearts and instinctively do the things mentioned in the Law. This is not following the Law, nor is it being subject to the Law. It is living with the power of the Holy Spirit in you.

We are not saved because of what we do. Indeed, we were living in our sins, dead in our trespasses and sins when God saved us. We were saved by Grace, not because of our obedience.

Ephesians 2:1-10

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace inkindness toward us in Christ JesusFor by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Since we were saved by grace through faith, and that a gift from God, then we could not have obeyed the Law to receive the Holy Spirit. Instead, we believed because we were given faith, and in so doing we obeyed God, and received the Holy Spirit.

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4 Responses

  1. Wbmoore, thank you for taking the time and effort to carefully analyze and dissect one of my arguments I have against your belief that following certain Mosaic laws is no longer necessary. I welcome the most rigorous examination of anything I have said here.

    First, though, I want to ask you, if I really could convince you, eventually (I mean really, really, actually thoroughly convince you), that some major Mosaic laws still are valid and need to be obeyed, once they become known to a Christian, do you have enough humility in you to admit you were wrong, and change? I know that would be embarassing, at least at first, and somewhat stressful and awkward. But I would like to know, would you be willing to modify one of your doctrinal beliefs? For myself, yes, of course, I would be willing to change if you could persuade me to believe Old Testament law keeping is no longer part of salvation.

    Below is a quote of what you said:

    “Now let us look at the other passage used in the argument that one must obey the Law.
    Acts 5:32

    32 And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

    This does not say that people must obey the Law to receive the Holy Spirit. The Gentiles were never given the Law. So what is it that people are obeying?

    John 6:26-29

    26 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me,not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

    28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

    29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

    So to obey God, one would have to do the work required by God, which is to believe that He sent His only Son, the Christ, to suffer and die to pay the price of the sins of the world.”

    End of your quotation.

    Don’t you believe that some verses dealing with instructions for salvation do not necessarily always contain full instructions? Don’t you believe that all the applicable verses in the Bible are needed for instructions on what is involved in salvation, and that some verses compliment and help explain other verses? In verse 29 the Greek for “believe” is pisteuo, Strong’s 4100, which means more than just a casual belief in some major achievements of Jesus. The word means to commit yourself to and be thoroughly persuaded of what Jesus represented, in other words, what He taught. What did He teach? He taught quite fervently to obey Old Testament as well as His Old Testament magnified laws.

    John 3:36 for example, another verse with slightly more specific instructions for salvation, says:”Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever DISOBEYS the Son will never have life,” — Today’s English Version
    “…….. those who don’t believe AND OBEY Him shall never see heaven ……..” — Living Bible

    A number of English translations of John 3:36 that include even the conservative King James Version, dilute “disobeys” down to “does not believe,” “believeth not,” or similar words. The original Greek, though, specifically uses the word APEITHEO, Strong’s number 544, which basically means to refuse belief AND OBEDIENCE!

    Concerning what you said about those Galatian verses, don’t you think the following is a more accurate analysis of those verses?

    Galatians 3:24,25: “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”

    The original Greek word for “schoolmaster” is paidagogos, Strong’s number 3807. This special word is used in the New Testament only 3 times, and according to Strong it basically means “guardian” or “disciplinarian,” NOT “teacher” or “instructor,” which is a distinct and huge difference. Verse 25 therefore does not say that we are no longer under a teacher of the law or no longer under what the law says or teaches, but rather that we are no longer under the penalty, punishment, or disciplinary part (potentially death for disobedience) of the Old Testament laws. Disciplinarians chastise, penalize, and punish people for breaking rules. Check what Strong says in his definition of “schoolmaster” in the Greek. As Romans 8:2 says, we (law obeying Christians) are no longer under the law of sin and death (the punishment part of the law), or no longer under the disciplining, chastizing “schoolmaster” part of the law, the penalty part.

    Regarding your belief that the Mosaic laws were given only to Israel and not to the Gentiles, yes, originally they were given only to Israel, but there are verses indicating the gentiles are to “be grafted into” Israel and that Israel is a type of model the Gentiles are to “copycat.” One translation even describes the Gentiles as the “true Israel of God:”

    GALATIANS 6:15,16: “……. a renewed nature. 16 And all who shall regulate their lives by this principle–may peace and mercy be given to them–and to the true Israel of God. — Weymouth New Testament

    New Testament Christians are now called the “true Israel of God.”

    Also, could you again explain for me and others your interpretation of the Isaiah and Zechariah verses prophesying that obedience to the dietary, Saturday Sabbath, and Feast of Tabernacles laws will be either enforced or will be commonplace sometime after the coming Christian millennium?

    • No, you will not convince me that a Christian (particularly a Gentile Christian) is to follow the Law. God will have to change my position on the issue.
      God has been able to change my mind about things in the past, using scripture. He has used people, television, radio, reading material to do so.
      And its not been a matter of pride. I dont feel embarrassment when I’m wrong. I seek truth.

      Sometimes God shows me more than I have seen before. Sometimes I move more towards a particular position of doctrine, but once God has shown me something, He has never changed what He has shown me, and I dont change on that matter. God is very clear that the Law was given until Christ came (Galatians 3:19), we been set free from the Law (Gal 5:1), that the Law was fulfilled (Matthew 5:17-18, Luke 24:44-48, John 19:30), that it has been abolished (Ephesians 2:14-15), that we dont have to follow religious festivals (Col 2:16), that the Law has been changed (Hebrews 7:11-19), we have been released from the Law (Romans 7:4-6). We have been set free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2-3). The Law has been set aside (Hebrews 7:18). We are not under the Law (Gal 3:19-25; 5:18). The written code has been cancelled (Colossians 2:13-14). The old covenant is obsolete (Hebrews 8:13). “Christ is the end of the law” (Romans 10:4).

      But on to show you more of how your understanding is flawed….

      Let us look at John 3:28-36 in context. This is saying God sent Christ from heaven and He gives the Spirit, who ever believes in the Son will have eternal life and if one does not obey (is not persuaded, does not comply with what God has said, does not obey God when He said people must believe), then the wrath of God remains on him. This is a reiteration of John 3:16-18.

      28 “You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’ 29 “He who has the bride is the bridegroom ; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full. 30 “He must increase, but I must decrease. 31 “He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32″What He has seen and heard, of that He testifies ; and no one receives His testimony. 33 “He who has received His testimony has set his seal to this, that God is true. 34 “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God ; for He gives the Spirit without * measure. 35 “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. 36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life ; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

      Yes, I am quite aware of what the word translated as ‘believe’ or ‘obey’ (depending on translation), Apeitheo, means.
      http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/apeitheo.html tells us it means:

      1. not to allow one’s self to be persuaded
      a. to refuse or withhold belief
      b. to refuse belief and obedience
      2. not to comply with

      That word is a different way of saying the word which is translated as ‘believe’, Pisteuo.
      http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/pisteuo.html

      1. to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in
      a. of the thing believed
      1. to credit, have confidence
      b. in a moral or religious reference
      1. used in the NT of the conviction and trust to which a man is impelled by a certain inner and higher prerogative and law of soul
      2. to trust in Jesus or God as able to aid either in obtaining or in doing something: saving faith 1bc) mere acknowledgment of some fact or event: intellectual faith
      2. to entrust a thing to one, i.e. his fidelity
      a. to be intrusted with a thing

      These are essentially the same meaning – belief. Apeitheo has the added connotation of being convinced, so one acts upon it. But no where does this say one must follow the Law.

      You are putting the cart before the horse. You are saying you must follow the Law to be saved or to remain saved (logically those two are the same statement).
      But I am saying that IF one is given grace by God and faith by God, then one will have the Holy Spirit. If one has the Holy Spirit, one will be led by the Spirit and given the power of the Spirit and will natually do what God wants.

      Its not about following a set of rules. Its about a relationship with Christ.

      Look, if we have the Law of God written upon our hearts, we dont have to follow any law, as we will naturally do what God requires (Romans 2:13-15, 8:3-5). If your mind is not on God, you will indulge the sinful nature. If your mind is on God, you will live according to the Spirit and not indulge the sinful nature. There’s no need to worry about following the Law, becuase you will have the Spirit living in you to cause you to do what God wants.

      Romans 2:13-15

      13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15 since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.)

      Romans 8:3-5

      3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4 in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

      5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

      The apostle Paul (a Jew) was clear that HE was not under the Law. But he acted as though he was under the Law to win them. And he acted as though he was not under the Law to win those who were not under the Law. Yet in both cases, he was under the Law of CHRIST (just not the Mosaic Law).

      1 Corinthians 9:19-21

      19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law.

      In regards to Galatians 3:24-25, Paidagogos means tutor. He protected and guided and disciplined the boy under his charge, teaching him morals and life lessons.

      a tutor i.e. a guardian and guide of boys. Among the Greeks and the Romans the name was applied to trustworthy slaves who were charged with the duty of supervising the life and morals of boys belonging to the better class. The boys were not allowed so much as to step out of the house without them before arriving at the age of manhood.

      This is what the Law was supposed to do – guide and protect until faith came. But once we came to faith, we are no longer under the tutelage of the Law.

      Galatians 3:24-25

      23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

      In regards to Gentiles following the Law because they are grafted into Israel… It is through bleief that someone is considered a child of Abraham, who was given the promise long before the Law was given. We must do as Abraham did, rather than follow a set of written law – trust God. If we do that, then we will please God.
      Galatians 3:6-8

      6 Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 7 Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. 8 The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”

      Let us look at your use of Galatians 6, but in context. Here we see that one must live by the Spirit, not be circumcized (which is a requirement of the Law). One must be a new creation, not worry about circumcision. Those who do that are Israel. So again, no we do not have to follow the Law, we have to follow the Spirit.
      Galatians 6:8-15

      8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. 10 So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. 11 See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. 12Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

      These are some of the posts dealing with following the Dietary laws:
      https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/06/20/christians-and-the-law/
      https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/should-christians-keep-the-jewish-dietary-laws/
      https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/does-zechariah-1416-19-show-god-wants-us-to-follow-the-festival-laws/
      https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/does-isaiah-6617-22-23-show-we-must-follow-the-law-in-the-end-times/

      All this going around and around is pointless. You will not convince me. I will not convince you.
      We are to avoid foolish arguments about the law (Titus 3:9). We each must be convinced in our own minds of what is appropriate worship (Romans 14:5).
      So if you think you can follow the Law and be saved, feel free to try. But Paul was clear its not possible and its falling away from the grace of God (Galatians 5:4).

      • I heard a radio show from RC Soroul today. He made a point which I agree with, but perhaps have not mentioned before. There are things in the Law which we should not do or should do (depending on what we are discussing).

        But its not a matter of Law that we should not do them, its because God has laid it upon our hearts to do or not do these things. The Holy Spirit will not lead someone to go contrary to what God has said. For instance, God will never tell someone to he is free to follow another God (the prohibition of which is found in the Law). But this is reriterated in the New Testament. We will be led by God to follow the moral teachings, but this is not the same thing as following the Law. We are following the Spirit, which leads us to do what God wants us to, or not do that which God does not want us to.

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