Vol.XIX No.III Pg.7
May 1982

? You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

Since Christ redeemed us from law (Gal. 3:13) and gave us freedom (5:1) how can we say any certain obedience is essential to salvation? This is a compound of several questions and comments — put in one to save space.


Christ did not redeem us from law, but from the "curse of the law."' An article (the) before "law" suggests the Law via Moses was in mind, specifically; but vs. 10-12 show the principle involves all or any law of God by which man may claim to be justified. "Justified" in this context means "free of guilt." The curse of law is that on a law basis alone one cannot be pronounced guiltless save by perfect obedience. Note Paul's explanation of this: "...under a curse: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them" (DO ALL— Cf. Rom. 10: 5). Stipulated law takes away every excuse (stops mouths) and focuses attention upon sin — "Therefore (because, AS) by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight" (3:19-20).

The law itself was holy, just and good (Rom. 7:12), but it was from the curse of a system of law that Christ redeemed us — by dying in our stead (Gal. 3:13). We sinned, and we are the ones who should pay the penalty. But Christ's death made it possible for a Just God to remain just even as He exercises His Mercy and forgives all who trust in Christ. It was from the curse of the law that Christ redeemed us — certainly not from all law. "Liberty" is used in Galatians and elsewhere in this context. It is not "license" to supplant God's plan with our own, nor to do as we please. When people cite our "glorious liberty" in Christ as justification for going beyond Divine authority for church work, organization, or any thing else upon which God has spoken; ask for their scripture for this "liberty." Examine the word in its context; and tell them to cease encouraging "sin that grace may abound" (Cf. Rom. 6:1).

Law is an expression of the will of authority — an obligation that grows out of our relation to that authority. Authority is coexistent with God, and to acknowledge God is to acknowledge the right of God to rule. God has not always given a codified law (Rom. 5:13-14), but even in the sense of "ought" given all mankind (Rom. 2:12-16) law was sufficiently present that man could be judged sinful, and justly condemned.

When Christ promises remission of sins at the point of our obedience in baptism, that is a rightful expression of His authority — it is law. We cannot claim to have submitted to Christ as Lord, or even to believe in salvation by faith, and ignore this. What kind of faith is it that would argue with the Lord as to when we receive remission (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38)?

Christ is the MEANS of our salvation: dying for us; living again for us (Rom. 4:25; 5:10). But He lives as King, ruling by His law; as our High Priest, through whom we must confess sins and pray for forgiveness. Saving faith obeys (Rom. 1:5; Gal. 5:6).