Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 1 Study # 4
March 27, 2011
Dayton, Texas
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<068> Thesis: The issues of "liberty" and "bondage" have primarily to do with the soul's relationship with God and its "anticipation" from Him. Introduction: In our last study (which was lost after recording), I attempted to provide a basis for reconciling Luke's description of the trouble-makers in Jerusalem as "Pharisees who believed" with Paul's description of the same bunch as "false brethren". I tried to show that multiple assumptions go along with each man's terminology. If a person takes Luke's "belief" terminology and weds it to the teaching that justification is by a single event of faith, Luke would be understood as saying that the Pharisees were justified children of God. That would automatically force Paul's "false brethren" terminology to mean "true brethren" who are acting "falsely" and "against their true identity". On the other hand, if a person takes Paul's "false brethren" terminology and weds it to the biblical teaching that the faith that justifies is also a faith that does not "fail", Paul would be understood as saying that the Pharisees were not justified because their "faith" did not reach to the point of "justification". That would mean that the "false brethren" were men who called themselves "brethren", but were lying and it would mean that Luke's "belief" terminology meant only that they had accepted the claim that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ but had not accepted the biblical methodology for bringing the truth of Jesus' identity as the Christ to fruition in the life of the person making the claim to faith. My solution to this terminological dispute was to note that Luke recorded Jesus' teaching that there is such a thing as "believing for a while but cratering in the face of persecution" so that Luke understood "faith for a while" as a deficient "faith". Then we noted that Paul, in his declaration of what the Gospel actually is (1 Corinthians 15:1-11), actually put forth the notion that it might happen that a person "believed in vain" by only "believing for a while". Additionally we noted that the teaching regarding the mark of the beast in the Revelation assumes that "saving faith" does not crater in the face of the threats associated with that mark. Thus, Luke's "Pharisees which believed" and Paul's "false brethren" both describe men whose "faith" had not progressed enough to bring about a decree of justification from God. This evening we are going to proceed under the assumption that Paul's description of the men as "false brethren" means unsaved men who are under the double curse of Galatians 1:8-9. If we link Luke's record of Acts 15:5 (where he pointedly said that the men he had described as having "believed" did not believe in Paul's Gospel) to Paul's claim that anyone who received circumcision as a matter of necessity for justification would find that Christ's death would bring them no benefit (Galatians 5:2), we will have no trouble understanding the "false brethren" terminology. Nor shall we have any such trouble if we simply look at what Paul declares in our current text about their objectives.