John Chrysostom on Paul’s Attitude toward the Galatians

Author John D. Barry

John Chrysostom (ca. AD 347–407) was the Bishop of Constantinople, a position which he took against his will. A very prolific theological writer, as well as an articulate speaker, he wrote homilies (sermons) on about half of the New Testament books.

John Chrysostom on Paul’s Attitude towards the Galatians

John Chrysostom

“Now that this Epistle [to the Galatians] breathes an indignant spirit, is obvious to everyone even on the first perusal; but I must explain the cause of his anger against the disciples. Slight and unimportant it could not be, or he would not have used such vehemence. . . . What then was the offence which roused him? It was grave and momentous, one which was estranging them all from Christ, as he himself says further on, ‘Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing’ [Gal 1:2]; and again, ‘Ye who would be justified by the Law, ye are fallen away from Grace’ [Gal 1:4]. What then is this? For it must be explained more clearly. Some of the Jews who believed, being held down by the prepossessions of Judaism, and at the same time intoxicated by vain-glory, and desirous of obtaining for themselves the dignity of teachers, came to the Galatians, and taught them that the observance of circumcision, Sabbaths, and new-moons, was necessary, and that [Paul’s abolishment of these things was to be ignored.] For, said they, Peter and James and John, the chiefs of the Apostles and the companions of Christ, forbade them not. Now in fact they did not forbid these things, but this was not by way of delivering positive doctrine, but in condescension to the weakness of the Jewish believers, which condescension Paul had no need of when preaching to the Gentiles; but when he was in Judea, he employed it himself also.”¹

1John Chrystotom, Homily on Galatians. Translated volume edited by Philip Schaff, The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Vol. XIII.

Article courtesy of Bible Study Magazine published by Logos Bible Software. Originally published in print, Vol. 1 No. 2.

What Does the Bible Teach about Justification and Sanctification?

Author Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum

In the Bible, justification and sanctification are solutions to long-standing problems.

Justification

The Problem
All people are guilty of doing wrong (sinning) against other people and against God. All are personally responsible for their sins and thus under condemnation (Rom 3:23; 6:23). Just as people who break the laws of a society are brought before a court to be tried and judged, God brings each individual before Himself to judge them.

The Solution Is there a way to fix all that we have done wrong? God fixes our wrongs by providing Jesus Christ. Jesus’ righteousness satisfies God’s demands. His righteousness (right actions, status and sacrifice) is accredited to all who believe (Rom 3:21).

Justification Defined
The term justification means “to declare righteous.” The New Testament writers, specifically Paul, use the term in a judicial sense. Imagine God the judge, sitting on His throne, declaring to the believer, “In light of what Jesus has done on your behalf, you are (now) righteous. Things are now right between you and me. Court dismissed.”

The defendant of course would ask, “How did this happen? And what did Jesus do to make things right between God and I?” The defendant is really asking is, “What is the basis for justification?”

The Answer is Threefold:

WhatDoestheBibleTeach

God’s grace (Rom 5:15)—Provided by Jesus Christ’s obedience to God the Father.

Jesus’ blood (Rom 5:9)—Jesus’ suffering and death made all who choose to believe in him right with God.

Jesus’ righteousness accredited to believers (1 Cor 1:30; 2 Cor 5:21)—Those who believe in Jesus are freely given “right status” with God, not on the basis of their own works, but on the basis of what God has done in Jesus Christ (Rom 3:28; 4:5–6; Gal 2:16).

Once wrongdoers (sinners) have placed their faith in Christ, God declares them righteous. New believers have peace with God (Rom 5:1) because all sins, past, present and future are forgiven. Once forgiven, believers are no longer subject to the judgment that was once due (Rom 8:1). The declaration of this is justification.

In summary, justification is an act of God’s grace: A guilty sinner places his or her faith in Christ and is acquitted by God. A wrongdoer is “made right” with God.

“In light of what Jesus has done on your behalf, you are (now) righteous. Things are now right between you and me. Court dismissed.”

Sanctification

The Problem Wherever there is the presence of sin, there is conflict. Paul wrestled with this conflict in Rom 7:15–25. This passage shows us that resolving this conflict is a process. It involves God making us more “set apart” from our wrongdoings and more like Him.

For the believer, there must be a constant and ever-increasing sense that although sin remains, it is not in control. It is one thing for sin to live in the believer, but it is quite another for the believer to live in sin.

WhatDoestheBibleTeach2

The Solution The Holy Spirit is the continuous agent of sanctification, who works within us to subdue sinful impulses and produce fruits of righteousness, or right actions (Rom 8:13; 2 Cor 3:17–18; Gal 5:22). This process is sanctification.

Sanctification Defined The basic meaning of sanctification is “to be set apart.” The Hebrew word (qadosh; שודק) has a basic meaning of “separation.” As a moral term, sanctification is translated as “holiness” or “purity.” The term in Greek (hagios; ἅγιος) is translated as “holy”, as in “Holy” Spirit, or “saint.” In the spiritual sense of a believer’s life, sanctification means “to be set apart for God,” or to be made more holy through conforming to the image of His Son.

Summary Sanctification is a work of God’s grace. The whole person is enabled to die to sin and live according to God’s will. Justification occurs at the moment of salvation, whereas sanctification is a process. When our lives are over, we will enter into God’s presence glorified, free from the presence and power of sin—already justified, fully sanctified.

 In the spiritual sense of a believer’s life, sanctification means “to be set apart for God.”

Article courtesy of Bible Study Magazine published by Logos Bible Software. Originally published in print, Vol. 1 No. 1.

Busy Moms: How to Find Time for God

Author Jeannine Seery

When I gave birth to my first child nearly eight years ago, I was totally unprepared for the immense change she would bring to my life. Sure, I knew about 2 AM feedings, sleepless nights and endless piles of laundry. I was aware a newborn would be dependent on me and that this job would consume me like no other occupation. However, I could never have prepared for how emotionally and spiritually consuming this job would be. I had no idea that a child could take such possession of your heart.

At seven and three my daughters no longer require the constant care that they did just a few years ago. Yet the mental and emotional energy my job as a mother requires often leaves me exhausted, with very little to offer my husband and friends. Meanwhile, I imagine God watching in the distance, waiting for me to come and sit with Him, only to be addressed by my half-conscious form as I fall into bed, thanking Him for His blessings—for getting us through another day.

Overwhelmed? You're not alone.

I’ve spent a great deal of mental energy in my mothering years trying to figure out ways to enhance my time alone with God. I’ve tried it all—rising early, staying up late, utilizing naptime and even, horror of horrors, putting on a TV show while I sneak away for devotional time. My children, however, seem to have some internal alarm that goes off as soon as I open my Bible and before you know it, someone’s been hurt, had a nightmare or needs my attention right now (think: potty training). In the rare times that I haven’t been interrupted, I find my thoughts wandering to the dentist appointment that needs to be cancelled, the poor grade on the report card or the sweet exchange I witnessed between my daughter and her Daddy earlier that day. Before I started down the road of motherhood I could pore over passages of the Bible and mull them over for hours on end. I prided myself on my analytical abilities and my love of reading. These days I consider it an accomplishment if my attention span holds out until the end of a paragraph.

So, I often conclude my devotional time feeling frustration and guilt, resolving to try harder next time. When I think of other young mothers with many more children and much more on their plates who manage to study the Bible and spend quality time with God, I wonder, is there something wrong with me? Maybe with a little more perseverance or a more engaging topic I’ll have more success. I resolve to find the right study, the right time, the right method—I will leave no stone unturned until I discover it. And if I don’t, my youngest will be off to college in a mere fifteen years. Will it be too late for me to begin then?

With Jesus, all things are possible

Lately, God has been challenging me to look at the process a little differently. He keeps drawing me back to the theme of loaves and fish (Matt 14:14–21). Jesus himself was faced with a seemingly insurmountable task. There he was in a remote place with a large crowd and dinnertime was quickly approaching. His disciples surveyed the crowd and all they could find was a boy with five loaves and two fish. Under no circumstances would that be enough. They advised him to do the only logical thing, send the people away to find some food. Instead, Jesus took a child’s paltry offering and fed the five thousand, collecting twelve baskets of leftovers. Not just enough, more than enough.

FindingTimeforGod

I believe in a God who specializes in making something out of nothing. His Word says He is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to his power that is at work within us” (Eph 3:20 NIV). I have seen this principle carried out so often in my life: my health, my finances, my human relationships. Yet, when it came to my relationship with God, I found myself believing that I would have to sustain it on my own, that somehow I had the power to do so. What I hadn’t realized was that while I thought that I’d been upholding our relationship in the past, it was God doing the work in me all along—His strength made perfect in my weakness.

So when I carve out a moment to come to Him now, I visualize myself holding a paltry offering of too little time and attention. It will never be enough. But I bring it in faith, trusting that He will multiply the little I have and provide me with enough nourishment for that moment, with some to spare.

Article courtesy of Bible Study Magazine published by Logos Bible Software. Originally published in print, Vol. 1 No. 1.