Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 4 Study # 7
May 26, 2013
Dayton, Texas
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<267> Thesis: Paul's pronunciation of doom upon the wicked was designed to force the Galatians away from their legalism. Introduction: In Paul's list of the manifest works of the flesh, he pretty much covered all the bases on physical and relational evils. The only ones we did not consider very carefully were the last two: drunkenness and revellings, which are both escapist behaviors that pretty much exist in a context of a personal refusal to act in a responsible way. It is interesting that Paul ends his "list" of manifest works with these two in that they fly in the face of any hopefulness in respect to legal theology. This evening we are going to look into Paul's final comment in regard to these manifest works because of the problems it creates for many of us. This comment is an emphatic declaration that people who engage themselves in fleshly pursuits will not inherit the Kingdom of God. As an emphatic declaration, it is seriously problematical if it is not correctly understood and the outworking of misunderstanding is bad theology. On the one hand, some (who misunderstand it) conclude that salvation really is, when all is said and done, a matter of right behavior. This leads to salvation by works with the outworking of that mentality being the claim that one can lose his/her salvation if their behavior is sufficiently bad. On another hand, others who misunderstand it conclude that God has underwritten the salvation of the elect by underwriting their behavior so that it does not ever get "bad enough" to bring on condemnation. This has led to "lordship salvation" issues and a high level of judgmental declarations that certain people who claim to believe in Jesus are really "lost" because they do not act properly. On the face of it, the declaration that "they who practice such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God" eliminates every one of us from inheriting the Kingdom of God. But, because that total exclusion cannot be true, the hedging begins ... . This evening we are going to look into what Paul meant and why he said it.