Paul's Passing Thoughts

Galatians 2:20 and the Gospel According to Phil Johnson, Parts 1 & 2

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 7, 2015

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PAUL DOHSE: Welcome, truth lovers, to Reformation. This is your host Paul Dohse. Tonight, part eight of the Magnum Opus of the Reformation, Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation. Greetings from the Potter’s House and TANC ministries where we are always eager to serve all of your heterodox needs. Our teaching catalog can be found at If you would like to add to our lesson or ask a question, call 855-8317. I failed to put the area code in there. That’s (347) 855-8317. Remember to turn your PC volume down to prevent feedback. If you choose to use Skype to listen to the show, my advice is to just dial direct from your Skype account without using any of the Blogtalk links. And again that number, just dial direct from your Skype account is (347) 855-8317. Per the usual, we will check in with Susan towards the end of the show and listen to her perspective. Remember, you may remain anonymous. When I say, “This is your host. You are on the air. What’s your comment or question,” just start talking. If you would like to comment on our subject tonight, you can also e-mail me at That’s I have my e-mail monitor right here and can add your thoughts to the lesson without need for you to call in. You can post a question as well.

Tonight, we’re going to have another interlude, and I know these interludes drive people crazy. But it is very important to establish and have a sentence by sentence evaluation of Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation because that is the first and founding document of the Protestant Reformation. It was written about six months after Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses which is thought to have launched the Protestant Reformation, and I guess that’s fair enough. But the Heidelberg Disputation is the first and foundational document of the Protestant Reformation. And it is, absolutely, amazing how to this day, literally everything that we see in contemporary, or at least the return to the contemporary authentic Protestantism, flows from that document. But in doing this series, to have a sentence by sentence evaluation of the Heidelberg Disputation, though very important, it is getting the cart a little bit before the horse. Because in our day, Christians, by and large, really don’t understand the gospel. They really don’t understand the gospel. And this is by design. This is the essence of Protestantism, a dumbed-downed congregant. And we’re learning why that is in our study of the Heidelberg Disputation. But foundational to the doctrinal illiteracy of present-day Christians is this whole idea that we’re sanctified by the gospel. So throughout Protestant history, the emphasis has always been the gospel, the gospel, the gospel, the gospel, or the gospel or first importance or going back, discontinually going back to the cross. And this gets a pass, by and large, because people are saying, “Oh, this is just a theory on how to be better sanctified or how to better grow in our faith by returning to the original gospel that saved us time and time again.” But as we are learning, and the contention of this ministry is that our contention is – our contention is that no, this just isn’t one of many techniques to better grow in the Lord according to the Bible supposedly. No. This is a gospel or a soteriology that calls for us to continually return back to the same gospel that saved us, so that we can live by faith alone as a way to keep ourselves saved. This is the dirty little secret of Protestantism.

So in essence, you have a work salvation by faith alone or in essence, a work salvation by doing nothing, kind of like Bachman-Turner Overdrive theology. I work hard at doing nothing all day as a way to keep myself saved. Or the way they put it, living by faith alone. And if you think about those words carefully, one might logically ask, “How do you live by faith alone?” Kind of like saying, “How do you live by thinking alone without doing anything?” So this is why we’re taking these interludes. It’s very important for us to establish what exactly the foundational document of Protestantism is all about. But, again, for contemporary or present practical purposes, we need to get it out there what the true gospel is, the true biblicist gospel in comparison to–I hate to say it, I hate to just put it out there–Protestantism.

Now as we’ve discussed before, the official coined term by this ministry, anyway, concerning the official doctrine of the authentic Protestant Reformation, not the watered down version and the truisms connected with it that most Protestants, Baptists, Methodists, Charismatics, et cetera, are used to, we’re talking about this return to the authentic Protestant Gospel in the body of the new Calvinist movement, which is all but completely taken over the institutional church.

In regard to gospel sanctification, the go-to verse is Galatians 2:20. This is the primary go-to verse. Now a lot of people claim that the Higher Life movement and all these other movements, the Keswick movement and all these movements, they are really big on Galatians 2:20 as well. And what’s in vogue is to think that the Higher Life movement and the Keswick movement, so on and so forth, are somehow different from authentic Reformed Protestantism and their gospel. And such is not the case. The applications are different, but the basic soteriology is the same. And what is that? Here it is. It’s a soteriology based on gospel contemplationism, and keeping yourself saved by going back to the cross. Or in essence, keeping yourself saved through contemplationism of some sort because to actually do something would be works salvation because this is key running the basic premise, running through all these doctrines is that justification is progressive.

And as we’re going to hear, and how we’re going to approach this topic in the show today, what we’re going to hear, Phil Johnson of John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church out in California, he is actually going to call salvation a process. And this is the fundamental basic premise of all of these doctrines, all of these passive doctrines, all of these doctrines that would say, synergistic sanctification is work salvation. Why? Because it’s, and we’ve all said this, “The growing part of salvation.” Well, folks, salvation doesn’t grow. Salvation doesn’t grow, okay? And, again, we’re going to really hunker down on Galatians 2:20 because I stumbled upon a video that’s a sermon by Phil Johnson of Grace Community Church in California where he really articulates Galatians 2:20 in the Reformed view to a T. And, again, in this incredible video, he is also speaking for the Higher Life movement and all these other movements, even though he speaks out against them in this.  Again, the basic soteriology is the same, this whole idea that salvation is a process that starts at point A and gets to point B and that we have to keep the process going by doing nothing. So we’re going to look at this, and this ministry is just going to flat out make a lot of hay of this video, and we’re going to slice it, dice it, rework it, keep adding to it, taking away from it. And we begin that process in today’s program. And basically, we’re going to continue that process on Sunday morning as well. And as well, we’re going to post videos on Paul’s Passing Thoughts, the blog, for TANC ministries. And we’re going to, really, work this thing. We better get going because the sermon itself was 50 some minutes. I cut some parts out, and I’ll tell you why when we get into the video.

But let me begin with a thought. I want to begin with the thought, and I want to end with the thought. I want to end with a big picture thought. In regard to Galatians 2:20 and it’s difficulty, I want to read the apostle Peter’s final words from 2 Peter. Here we go. Let me read this. Peter said, “Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish and at peace, and count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them, that is Paul’s letters, that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.” You can’t lose your salvation, but Peter is saying you can lose your stability. And I think what we have here in Galatians 2:20 is that exactly. This is a difficult verse, Paul exegetes this idea in Galatians 2:20. And his wording and the way it’s translated into other languages makes it a difficult verse. You know, the biblical authors were not robots. They were co-laborers in the writing of the scriptures as they were moved along and counseled by the Holy Spirit. The personalities and propensities of the individual are in there. And Paul had it difficult to express himself in very difficult ways, and I think Galatians 2:20 is an excellent example of that. So these false movements seize on that opportunity, to make these difficult Pauline scriptures to be used to deceive, mislead, and lead astray. So Galatians 2:20 is very difficult, and this is why, and it does lend opportunity seized on others to misrepresent it.

Well, let’s begin to get in to our lesson, and I’m going to tell you how we’re going to do this. We’re going to parse the video out in excerpts. Some of them are long; be patient. So to make this lesson work, on the radio anyway, you’re going to have to pay close attention to what Phil Johnson is saying. So I’m going to play – in order – clips of his sermon, and then I’m going to put a comment on each one. So, basically, with this lesson, we’re going to be presenting challenges to what he’s saying, and hopefully, you’re going to be able to put that together in conclusions. But another thing we want to do is add to this lesson, and I might do this next week. This week, we’re looking at the problems with how the Reformed typically exegete this passage.

Next week on the radio show, another interlude, I apologize, but we’re going to look specifically at what Galatians 2:20 is actually saying. So we’re going to examine what it’s really saying, and we’re going to study that, and then you can go back and compare it to the contentions and the challenges we’re presenting to this video, which is a really excellent specimen to how the Reformed use of Galatians 2:20 to push their gospel of gospel contemplationism. So with that, we’re going to begin our study.

PHIL JOHNSON: The text I want to look at tonight is short but rich. And it’s one of those verses that I memorized as a fairly new Christian. It’s a text that is probably familiar to most of you, Galatians 2:20. Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” There’s a lot of amazing truth packed into that simple verse. It’s a marvelous summary, really, of Paul’s whole theology packed into a single sentence. It compresses every facet of salvation into what is really a wonderfully concise statement that focuses deliberately on the personal nature of justification and faith and our perfect union with Christ.

PAUL DOHSE: All right. So basically, the truth of the matter is, this verse only refers to the Christian being dead to the laws of sin and death. Now this is curious. I’m going to try to remember through our lesson today to bring out the simplicity of the argument here from the viewpoint of our ministry. And, actually, the argument at times is so simple it’ll go right over your head. What he said here is that Galatians 2:20 is all encompassing and is a plenary statement in regard to the gospel, in regard to biblical soteriology. Not so. This verse only refers to the Christian being dead to the law of sin and death. And by the way, yeah, you could make a case, I suppose for, “but Christ lives in me,” referring to the resurrection. But that’s a stretch. As we will talk about next week, the obvious context of Galatians 2:20 and the venue that it is in Galatians is strictly about justification. Now, of course, Reformed soteriology makes justification and sanctification the same thing. But our first contention here is that Galatians 2:20 is a plenary soteriological statement in regard to the gospel. No, this verse only refers to the Christian being dead to the law of sin and death. Let’s continue.

PHIL JOHNSON: I’ve often said that the heart and soul of Paul’s theology and especially his teaching about salvation is summed up in the truth of our spiritual union with Christ. If you want to understand Paul, you have to get that concept.

PAUL DOHSE: Okay. Now this video is not going to address the error of the Protestant doctrine of “the vital union.” John Piper did a whole conference on that in Minnesota a couple of years ago. Now we are going to get into it because the Protestant official doctrine of the vital union is, really, he speaks of a whole bunch in this, and it’s supposedly the practical application of the false gospel of progressive justification.

We are only going to delve into the vital union to the point necessary to evaluate and deconstruct the sermon. Let’s continue on.

PHIL JOHNSON: I think I’ve pointed out from this very pulpit on a couple of occasions that the Apostle Paul’s favorite way of referring to Christians is this: he repeatedly says that we are in Christ, spiritually and mystically united with Christ in such a way that, in the words of Ephesians 5:30, “we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” We are in him in a spiritual union that unites us with him in such a way that his life counts for our life, his death counts for our death, his resurrection counts for our resurrection, and his resurrection power becomes the energy by which we live.

PAUL DOHSE: Okay. And what’s good about you listening to the video and bunches of people listening to this video and then me putting my comments in here. You know what? I’m going to learn a bunch from this more and more from this because other people are going to pick up things that I don’t pick up. But anyway, on this wise, note that this also makes our Christian life a substitution. Is our Christian life a substitution? Anything that we, ourselves, would do must be substituted by Christ.

PHIL JOHNSON: Colossians 3:3 says, “For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” And, therefore, whenever Paul speaks of believers, he describes them as those who are in Christ. In fact, I was prepared tonight to give you a whole string of verses that use that expression. I’m going to shorten that because I don’t want to extend the service unnecessarily tonight. But let me just give you a couple. Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ.” Romans 12:5, “We being many are one body in Christ, and every one members of another.” In fact, in Romans 16, if you really want to see this graphically, don’t turn there now, but go and look at Romans 16 where Paul is sending greetings to specific saints in Rome, and he repeatedly uses that expression, “In Christ.” He uses it some 12 times, I think, in that one chapter. And over and over again, that is how Paul refers to believers. 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If any man be in Christ he is a new creature.” He’s describing a union with Christ that makes us share in and benefit from all of Christ’s virtues.

PAUL DOHSE: Okay. Note that “In Christ” is defined as a substitution of virtue. We have no virtue. It must be substituted by Christ’s virtue. Therefore, in salvation, virtue is not gifted to the believer. Let me say something about this term, “In Christ.” My wife, Susan, asked me this morning, “You know, Paul, what does the Bible specifically mean by ‘In Christ’?” Well, you know something? I don’t think we know. I think the institutional church expressed in Protestantism has been so focused on justification only and this perpetual returning to the Christ and everything being about the gospel. There’s just a lot of things about sanctification that we don’t know. And this is what is so important about the home fellowship/network movement. Listen folks, if the American Church, and I’ll use the word church in a manner of speaking, if the American Church is ever going to plunge the depths of sanctification in any measure at all, it’s going to come from the laity. The assembly of Christ was originally a laity movement, and ministering out of personal homes, and we’re going to have to go back to that. If we learn anything of value about Christian living in our contemporary day, in our present day, it’s going to have to come from the laity. The change of orthodoxy are going to have to be loosed, and the laity are going to have to set their minds free and study the scriptures to see what is so and what isn’t so.

Let us continue on. And before we do, I should, perhaps, make another point. A major Achilles heel of Protestantism is the distinction between gift and reward, and the dichotomy between the two. Now if you read Hebrews 6:10, that can’t be referring to justification. That can’t be referring to justification. Okay? Listen, justification and sanctification must be separated. All right? Because one is a gift and the other is a reward. The Reformed, actually, posit salvation is a “process” that is the “race of faith.” And the reward at the end of the race, and this is a race ran by or run by faith alone. How do you run a race by faith alone? Interesting question, eh? Your reward for running the race of faith alone is salvation. And you’re saying, well, they’re blatantly making salvation a reward. Yes, but here’s how they get around it. Because you’re doing what you’re doing by faith alone, that counts as a faith-alone work. And a faith-alone work is different from a work work. You see how this works? So are we buying this? Let’s go on.

PHIL JOHNSON: And I could go on and on giving you verses that use that expression. I won’t. But let me just say this. In every one of Paul’s New Testament epistles, he uses that expression, “In Christ” to describe believers. It’s used some 40 or 50 times in the New Testament, depending on which translation you look at. Peter uses it once in 1 Peter 5:14, but normally, that is a purely Pauline expression. It’s Paul’s favorite expression, and it underscores the one truth that really lies at the heart of Paul’s soteriology that faith brings us into vital union with Christ so that we participate in his life and death and resurrection. And that is both a positional and a practical truth. In other words, there is a forensic or legal aspect to it, meaning it involves a divine reckoning. God’s verdict is that we are in Christ. We’re not literally and actually crucified with Christ, but he died as our substitute, our legal substitute. And in the reckoning of God, Christ’s death counts as ours. His death is the atonement for our sins. He’s paid the penalty of sin prescribed by the law on our behalf. And so there is a legal or forensic reckoning that’s involved here.

PAUL DOHSE: Okay. Note that our death with Christ through the spirit’s baptism is not literal but only a positional, legal declaration. This is key. Also, note his – what he’ll say continually through this sermon. He’ll refer to our participation in the works, the redemptive works accomplished by Christ. Again, let me put forth the simplistic. Does that not make us participants in justification? Well, yeah, Paul, but it’s justification work completed by Christ. Yes, but we’re participating in it. Basically, in essence, he’s saying that their soteriology calls for the so called believer to participate in justification. It’s a participation in justification. Let’s continue on.

PHIL JOHNSON: But there is also a practical and experiential side to our union with Christ. His life and his power infuse us and transform us by awakening us from a state of spiritual death. That death that held us in its bondage as unbelievers, and Christ’s power then continues to operate in us to energize us by giving us Godly desires, by giving us a true love for holiness, and infusing in us the power, both to will and to work for God’s good pleasure.

PAUL DOHSE: Okay, this is the Reformed doctrine of mortification and vivification. It is the “experience of being perpetually resurrected from the dead.” “Transformation” is only experiential. Johnson disingenuously fails to state that this is the repetitive death and rebirth experience of vital union. Now listen carefully to his words. He’ll continually say through the sermon that we’re dead and, therefore, not under the condemnation of the law. He’s not saying we’re not under the law, but he’s saying that we’re not under the condemnation of the law, and we’re dead. We’re dead. We’re dead. But by participating in looking back at the cross, by participating in that, life is infused in us. Now if this is something we do, if this a word “perpetuality” or a continually returning to it, is a sin, that the vital union is something that we experience perpetually, time and time and time again. As Dr. Michael Horton says, we return to the gospel “a fresh.” Now, he doesn’t come right out and say that, but the fact of the matter is he is talking about the official Reformed doctrine of mortification and vivification.

Now the only official Reformed doctrine that Phil Johnson names in this video is the vital union or what he calls “union with Christ.” But there’s going to be like five other Reformed doctrines that he’s going to refer to, but he’s not going to name them. And here’s the first example, he’s talking about mortification and vivification. And this is a well documented Reformed Theology, a doctrine where you mortify the flesh by what they call, “deep repentance.” So that’s our active part of sanctification or the growing part of salvation where we continually return to the cross for the mortification of the flesh. That’s our only work in sanctification, gospel contemplationism. And that results in this vivification experience or somehow the manifestation of the works of Christ in some way, shape or form.

Let’s continue on. And by the way, why is “vital union”, or the “union with Christ” the only doctrine that he specifically names and only refers to the others without naming them? Well, because when you use nomenclature, people can Google it. Let’s continue on.

PHIL JOHNSON: Our verse, Galatians 2:20, encompasses all those truths in language that is almost poetic. Paul employs the language of oxymoron throughout this verse. I threw that word out for you not to impress you; I hope you’ll understand what the idea of oxymoron is. It’s a figure of speech that deliberately uses the language of paradox. It sets seemingly contradictory terms against one another. An oxymoron is an expression that appears self-contradictory. It just appears that way; it’s not really. Like pretty ugly, you know? Or jumbo shrimp. One of the famous or my favorite, Microsoft Works. And I love oxymorons because they make you stop and think. Tight slacks. Nothing much. And we love to do that. We love to put words together that really don’t go together. Unbiased opinion, you know? Exact estimates or self-help group. I could go on. I won’t bore you with a list of them, but there are lots of them. Civil war. Where do these come from? But the juxtaposition of words and ideas that don’t usually go together make the real point stand out for us much more clearly. And some truths in the Christian life are best expressed as oxymorons.

PAUL DOHSE: Okay. This is a little bit scary. I’m not going to make a lot of soup over it. But none of his examples are oxymorons but rather terms using homonyms. Here’s my recommendation. My recommendation is that people do not spend 50 to 80 thousand dollars to get a bachelor’s degree at master seminary. Not only do they not know what the gospel is, they don’t even know what an oxymoron is. With that, let’s continue.

PHIL JOHNSON: Paradoxical language, and in our text, Paul uses a trio of paradoxes to sum up the reality of our fullness of salvation in Christ. Look at them. He says, “I am crucified yet living, I live yet not I but Christ, and the life I live in the flesh is a life lived in faith.” Three paradoxes there, and I want to look at those one at a time tonight and try to unpack some of the truth about our salvation that Paul has condensed into this one incredibly, rich statement. Notice first – we’ll call it – if you want to take these down, I’ll give you three of them. The paradox of death, he begins this statement by saying he is crucified yet living. “I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, I live.” And if you understand Paul’s whole theology, this is a very deep paradox, indeed.

PAUL DOHSE: All right. It’s only a paradox. And think about this. He’s making this, really the gospel, a paradox. It’s only a paradox if Paul is talking about one man who is both alive and dead. But he is not. He is talking about the old Paul, who was under the law of sin and death, and the new Paul who was resurrected with Christ. Now a huge problem with Reformed soteriology and what makes it a false gospel is its single perspective where there are two perspectives. And one of the major problems with their soteriology is here found. The perspective on Galatians 2:20 that there is only one man being spoken of, rather than two, two totally different people, the old Paul and the new Paul. The reason the Reformed have to make Galatians 2:20 a paradox is because they make it about one man instead of two men. Paul is talking about the old Paul, who was under the law of sin and death, and the new Paul who was resurrected with Christ. Let’s continue on.

PHIL JOHNSON: Because before he was crucified, Paul was actually dead. He says so in several places, but chiefly, Ephesians 2:5, he says to all of us, “We were dead in sins, but God has quickened us together with Christ.”

PAUL DOHSE: Note that “Paul was dead. Now Paul was alive.” No, the other Paul is dead; the new Paul is alive. Again, the crux of the problem here with – one of the cruxes of the problem, maybe not the grand crux, but one of the sub cruxes is this whole idea that Galatians 2:20 is referring to one person instead of two.

PHIL JOHNSON: Speaking there of our life before conversion, our life without Christ is all of us were dead and trespasses and sins. Or as he says in Ephesians 4:18, “Having the understanding darkened and being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that was in me because of the blindness of my heart.” That’s what life was like before Christ, death. And Paul says he was dead, but now as one who is crucified with Christ, he is truly alive for the first time. Paul has borrowed this paradox, I think, directly from the teaching of Christ, who said in Mathew 16:25, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it, and whosoever will lose his life for my sake will find it.” Now in what sense was Paul crucified with Christ? You’ll often hear people quote this passage as if Paul is speaking of some kind of mystical deeper life, second-level experience that launched him into a higher plane of spiritual life. I’ve heard speakers use and abuse this passage by applying it to a kind of pietistic self- crucifixion as if Paul were speaking about some kind of spiritual, or even real self-flagellation where he would put himself on the cross daily by self-denial or something like that. That is not what Paul is talking about here at all. And the context makes it clear. Notice verse 19, “For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.” And what he’s talking about in verse 19 is what he explains with this first paradox in verse 20. He’s talking about being dead to the law, dead in a legal sense.

PAUL DOHSE: Okay. Again, we see that according to progressive justification, the old man did not literally die in the baptism of the spirit. The new birth is a mere legal declaration that we died to the law.

PHIL JOHNSON: In other words, beyond the reach of the laws, threats and condemnation. The law’s ultimate penalty was already paid on his behalf by Christ. So Paul is saying the law has no further claim on me. As far as the law is concerned, I’m dead. And that’s exactly what he means. In the eyes of the law, he is dead. He is legally dead. He is talking here about the doctrine of justification by faith. He says so explicitly back in verse 16, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we,” he’s speaking here to Peter, even we Jewish people, “have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith in Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” He’s saying that’s how we’re justified by faith. And now he says, he’s dead to the law. The law has no further claim on him. And in our verse, verse 20, he is simply explaining why he is dead in the eyes of the law. I am crucified with Christ. Now, again, it goes without saying that Paul was not literally and actually placed on a cross alongside Christ. He was not crucified with Christ in any literal or historical sense. So what does he mean by this?

PAUL DOHSE: All right. As you can see, this is very, or hear rather, this is very problematic. This suggests that our death in spirit baptism can only be defined in a literal, historical sense. This is beyond the straw man argumentation. It’s the idea that unless we literally hung on a cross with Christ on the cross that Paul – in other words, let me put it this way. He suggests that Paul is referring to only the literal death of Christ historically and not us following Christ in an exact-like death. Not in that we all die by in spirit that baptism by hanging on the cross, but it is a death, the old us is dead. So, basically, he’s saying if you want to believe in a literal death through spiritual baptism, that equals actually hanging on a cross with Christ historically. Again, it’s a straw man argument and denies that the old us literally died.

PHIL JOHNSON: How was Paul crucified with Christ? He explains exactly what he means at the end of the verse and also in verse 21, “The son of God loved me and gave himself for me,” and, therefore, Paul says, “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness comes by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” He’s saying that the death of Christ on the cross was for him, on his behalf. In other words, Jesus’ death counted as Paul’s death legally. And that’s true of every believer, that’s one of the major points Paul makes all through his writings in the New Testament.

“Christ”, Paul says,”gave himself for me. He died in my place. He stood in for me as my proxy and my substitute before the judgment seat of God, and he took my punishment.” And that’s what the expression “for me” means I this context when you read that. That’s what he’s saying, “for me” instead of me.

PAUL DOHSE: Okay. “For us” so that we can be dead to the law legally? Or “for us” so that we can follow Christ in literal death through the spirit baptism? Can we only be dead to the law legally and still not be under it? This is one of the sub cruxes of the issue. Are we only dead legally? Are we only dead to the law because Christ kept it for us? Or is this a literal death through spirit baptism in which the old us that was under the law is literally dead? This is the crux of the issue, and as we will see later on in his sermon, he addresses just about every other aberration that there is in regard to justification, but that argument. For or against literal death in spirit baptism is the crux of the issue that Johnson, as well as all other of the Reformed, avoid. They avoid that question because that brings the argument and that brings the clarification of the true gospel into a fisher cut bait situation.

Let’s continue on. Another point to be made before we carry on, let’s see if we can get back to that point. Let’s try to back up my video here a little bit. Let’s wait till it goes. Here we go.

Okay. So no, the answer is no. In order for us to no longer be under the law, we ourselves must undergo a death. See Romans 6:1-14. Even though Johnson refers a lot to Romans 6 in his sermon, he twists it. We are no longer under the law because we are under grace. Being under grace requires a literal death of the saved person, not just Christ. Christ died for us so that we can die with him and be resurrected to a new life. He died so that we can follow him in a one-time death that guarantees eternal life.

PHIL JOHNSON: See, death is the legal penalty of sin, and Christ actually died the worst, most horrific kind of death punishment you could ever mete out. The law exacted against him the death penalty for sin, a sinners death. If he died in such a way for me, then he could have only done it in my place as my substitute and representative because Christ himself was not a sinner. And that’s exactly what Paul says just a chapter later than this. Look at Galatians 3:13. “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree.” That was the death penalty exacted by the law against Christ, why? “For me,” Paul says. And so it’s clear that what Paul aims to teach here in Galatians 2:20 is the substitutionary nature of Christ’s sacrifice. And you see, legally, if Christ bore the legal penalty of my sin on my behalf, then legally it is as if I was crucified with him.

PAUL DOHSE: Okay. This is the crux of the issue, as I said. Is it “as if” we died with him? Or did we literally die with him? How would the baptism of the spirit then be defined? Well, the way the Reformed define it is a legal death, a death that’s only a legal declaration. Let’s continue.

PHIL JOHNSON: Because in the eyes of the law, that was my sin being atoned for. That was my death by proxy. That was the portion of divine wrath I deserve, and so Paul says, “I am crucified with Christ.” And that is how I am dead to the law through the law.

PAUL DOHSE: All right. Well, death by proxy. No, not death by proxy. Literal death, and what he referred to, Galatians 2:19, “Through the law, I died to the law,” that’s not what that verse is saying at all. Basically, what it’s saying is that the same law that once condemned us, now informs us. And you can also see this in Romans 3:21 and Galatians 4:21. The law that used to condemn us now informs our new life. That’s what that verse is saying. The rest of Galatians 2:19 states, “So that I might live to God.” And here is the problem that the Reformed are going to run into with interpreting Galatians 2:20 the way that they do. The underlying premise is that it’s one man who remains dead. And the paradox is that he’s also alive. But all around Galatians 2:20, we also see that Paul saying that he’s also alive. Andy has done some work on Galatians 2:20 for me in preparation for this, and as Andy stated, there’s no paradox here. Andy didn’t use the word paradox, but his point was that Paul is actually talking about the two different men, the one that is dead and the one that now lives. And that makes all of that a difficult verse seem much more plausible and definitive. And it’s also interesting to note that the new Calvinist translation, the English Standard version [ESV], actually, takes out – and let me grab my Bible here real quick. Well, basically, if I’m remembering correctly, the phrase where Paul said that he now lives is actually taken out. So that’s interesting to note. Let’s continue on.

PHIL JOHNSON: Legally, or in Paul’s exact words, “Through the law, I am as good as dead.”

PAUL DOHSE: “So that he could live,” not as Johnson is saying here that he is as good as dead. No, Christ died so that he could live. Either verse 19 and 20 are in total contradiction or something else is going on. We contend that something else is going on. Johnson calls it a paradox as well as the Reformed, all of the Reformed. We say there is no paradox, that this is all literal, and refers to the Paul that was once dead and in contrast to the Paul who is now living. Let’s carry on.

PHIL JOHNSON: So every truth Paul makes in reference to this passage is rooted and grounded in the doctrine of substitutionary atonement. My participation with Christ, my spiritual union with Christ, my fellowship in his death and resurrection, his role as my representative and proxy, all of it hinges on the truth of substitutionary atonement. Christ died as my substitute.

PAUL DOHSE: Okay, but remember he is saying that our Christian life needs to be substituted for us as well. This means that we remain dead, and we’re only alive in a manner of speaking.

PHIL JOHNSON: In my place and in my stead. Now there have always been people throughout the history of the Church, people who call themselves Christians and want to identify themselves as Christians but who despise this doctrine of substitutionary atonement. And as a result, they usually try to redefine what Jesus’ death was all about.

PAUL DOHSE: All right. So, basically, this part of the sermon, I skipped through these litany of examples because none of them addressed the belief that we literally die with Christ and are literally resurrected with Christ through the new birth, i.e., baptism of the spirit resulting in living by a different perspective on the law. The examples, therefore, are red herrings, and we’re not going to waste our time. What the Reformed need to address is the literal death of the old man and resurrection of the new man through spirit baptism.

PHIL JOHNSON: Christ died as a substitute for sinners, means that Christ’s atoning work is inherently and objectively efficacious.

PAUL DOHSE: But let’s remember that this substitution also refers to our Christian life. So in essence, the “believer” remains dead. And this is something that you hear the Reformed say often.

PHIL JOHNSON: Work on my behalf has already accomplished everything necessary for my life and salvation.

PAUL DOHSE: Note that “his work”, undefined, on our behalf was for our life as well. Though Johnson names one official Reformed soteriological doctrine, the vital union, he neglects to name this one, i.e., double imputation, along with mortification and vivification, and also “Christ 100% for us”. So we’re up to four official Reformed doctrines. And unless you understand the elements of each of these doctrines as taught by the Reformed, what Phil Johnson is really saying between the lines is not going to be evident on its face.

PHIL JOHNSON: And so there’s no work and no ceremony for me to perform in order to add to the process, in order to gain any merit of my own…

PAUL DOHSE: Okay. Notice that he calls salvation a process. Any work we do in the Christian life would be applying our own merit to the free gift of salvation. He has already said that our life is part of the salvation process. How is this not progressive justification?

PHIL JOHNSON: But eternal life is already my present possession guaranteed by the death and the resurrection of Christ because he’s already died and risen again, and he did all that as my substitute.

PAUL DOHSE: But we also died. Did Christ only die? And we are only – the old us is only dead as a legal declaration? Or did the old us really die? This is the crux.

PHIL JOHNSON: “I through the law am dead to the law that I might live unto God,” as Paul says here.

PAUL DOHSE: In other words, we’re only dead to the law legally and not literally dead to the law because the old man literally died through spirit baptism.

PHIL JOHNSON: …to find [SOUNDS LIKE] with Christ, nevertheless, I live, yet not I but Christ liveth within me. Jesus, himself, said, “Verily, verily I say unto you, he who heareth my word…”

PAUL DOHSE: So the death of spirit baptism is a substitute and only a legal declaration and all of the works that we would live in our Christian life is also a substitution because we’re only alive – in manner of speaking, we’re only alive. Again, we’re only dead by proxy, and we’re only alive by proxy. But in essence, we remain unchanged and remain dead. And the Reformed doctrine of mortification and vivification then infuses these ongoing experiences of vivification or the life in manifestation of the works of Christ is an experience only as we return to our original salvation.

PHIL JOHNSON: “And believeth on him who sent me, hath everlasting life.” He speaks of an everlasting life as a present possession. And that person, he said, shall not come into condemnation but is passed, past tense, has already passed from death unto life. Eternal life, again, is my present possession. And the only guarantee of that truth lies in that fact that he has already fulfilled, as my substitute, everything the law of God ever demanded of me, including the penalty for my sin.

PAUL DOHSE: So we’ve passed from death to life. Again, by proxy, by substitution. But on another wise, this is another major Achilles heel of Reformed soteriology; the idea that Christ fulfilled the “righteous demands of the law” in order for us to be justified. This is the justification by the law, even though Paul said justification is not by the law. “Christ didn’t come to fulfill the law of sin and death, but to end it,” Romans 10:4. I’m not saying he didn’t come to fulfill a law as in fulfilling Old Testament prophecy, so on and so forth, and to fulfill the law. But what law? Again, we’ve got a problem with a single perspective on the law. There is the law of sin and death, and then there’s the law of the spirit of life, Romans 8:2, also called the “law of liberty” by James. And you can also concur or surmise from scripture that it is the law of love. And did Christ come to end the law of love or the law of the spirit of life or the law of liberty? Absolutely not. He came to fulfill it himself, and he also came to fulfill it through us, Romans 8, by the way. And when we practice love and we love our neighbor, it does what? Right, fulfills the whole law, and love covers a multitude of sin, right? So Mathew 5:17, 18 and 19, when Christ said he didn’t come to end the law but to fulfill it, he’s not talking about the law of sin and death. In fact, the sermon on the mount that is the context for when Christ said that is purely a sanctification sermon. The cross isn’t in there. The cross is not in there at all. Romans 10:4, Christ didn’t come to fulfill the law of sin and death. He came to end it. The law is not the standard of justification, but rather the new birth. He was resurrected for our justification. That’s the standard of the new birth, not the law.

Now a phrase that Phil Johnson will use on several occasions throughout this sermon is the satisfaction according to the “eyes of the law,” under the eyes of the law, their satisfaction to the law under the eyes of the law. This is a term he uses in this sermon like four times, and again, it’s a major Achilles heel of Reformed soteriology. Let’s continue.

Another point on this point, we’re not going to discuss the following excerpt where Johnson talks about assurance without explaining the backdrop of the Reformed. And here’s another doctrine, I believe the fifth one, now that we’ve mentioned that he doesn’t state, “already not yet”. So in this next excerpt, he refutes anti-rights corporate view of salvation or the new perspective on Paul. But why I’m skipping the next excerpt is because he makes it sound like that he is a proponent of once saved always saved, the OSAS. But this is disingenuous, because it has to be defined. What he’s saying has to be defined in context of the Reformed doctrine of “already not yet”.

PHIL JOHNSON: And this is the paradox of death. I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, I live.

PAUL DOHSE: Okay. This so-called paradox of death excludes the literal death of the former self and literal resurrection of the Christian through spirit baptism. This is a single perspective on Christ’s death and a single perspective on the law leading to a single perspective on justification and sanctification, making the two the same process.

PHIL JOHNSON: Now here’s the sum of everything I’ve been saying. Paul is describing a personal faith that looks back to the historical event of Christ’s death and resurrection and rests in the knowledge that my union with Christ makes me the beneficiary of his death on the cross and a participant in that historical event.

PAUL DOHSE: Okay. This is a major smoking gun in regard to this gospel. Notice how faith is defined. A faith that looks back to the death and resurrection and rests in the knowledge that the vital union makes one the “beneficiary” of Christ’s death on the cross and a participant in that event. This boils down to keeping ourselves saved by “resting in sanctification”. Now what is this? This is none other than John Calvin’s Sabbath rest salvation. It’s really the articulation of what comes out of Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation, again, the foundations of a Reformed ideology and its gospel come out of that doctrine.

This concludes part one of Galatians 2:20. Please tune in tomorrow night, Saturday night, July 18th at 7:00 p.m. for part two. Good night.

Part 2

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PAUL DOHSE: Let’s continue.

PHIL JOHNSON: I’m dead to the law because Christ died in my place, and as we’re about to see, I’m alive unto God because…

PAUL DOHSE: Christ died in our place to pay the penalty for sin. But he also died on the cross so that we can literally follow him in death.

PHIL JOHNSON: I also participate spiritually in Christ’s resurrection.

PAUL DOHSE: Note that this also includes participation in his resurrection. We participate in Christ’s finished work. So when we are judged for rewards, it won’t be according to anything we did personally as a new person in Christ and according to our understanding of the Scripture, but rather how we participated in his finished works by, and here’s what he said, “Resting in the knowledge.” Resting in the knowledge. Because we aren’t literally dead and no longer under the law, we’re not free to do the work ourselves in loving God and others, we must rather rest in the knowledge. Our Christian life must be a rest of gospel contemplationism so that any works that are done in our life are by proxy.

PHIL JOHNSON: Now I want you to see that the thread of this same idea run through everything the Apostle Paul ever wrote. He continually says that we are dead because Christ died as our substitute. And by our union with him, we participate…

PAUL DOHSE: Notice that he does continually concur that we are literally dead. But any idea that an old us, or us that used to be, is literally dead is avoided. That’s by proxy. And the idea that any new separate man has been resurrected with Christ is also by proxy and a substitution.

PHIL JOHNSON: …spiritually in his death. That’s a common theme throughout the Pauline epistles. Let me just quote a few verses for you. Galatians 6:14, he says, “God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by whom the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world. Romans 6:2, “We’re dead to sin,” he says. How are we dead to sin? Verses 3 and 4, “Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism into death.” Now that’s not speaking about water baptism there. It doesn’t have anything to do with baptism by water. There’s not a drop of water in Romans 6. This is about baptism into Christ, baptism being identification with him. It’s about our union with him. Again, baptism was a term that related to the dyeing of fabrics where it’s immersed into dye and took on the properties of that dye. We are baptized into Christ in that sense. It’s the same thing Paul described in 1 Corinthians 12:13. “For by one spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, bound or free, we’ve been made to drink into one spirit.” He’s describing it as a spiritual baptism. The Holy Spirit, notice, is the baptizer in this case. He baptizes us into Christ. He immerses us into Christ. And this is speaking of the spiritual reality of our union Christ. And he says, “If you are baptized into Christ,” in other words, united with him spiritually through the agency of the Holy Spirit, then you are baptized into his death, united with him and his crucifixion.

PAUL DOHSE: Note that Johnson defines the Spirit’s baptism as a mere identification with Christ or union and not a literal death of the old self and a resurrected person born of God as in 1 John 3:9. Also, as we’re going to see further along, he’s not referring to a literal one-time baptism that slays the old person and resurrects a new one but a perpetual return to this baptism experience that I explained earlier when we partake in the vital union.

PHIL JOHNSON: And so that is the sense of what Paul means in our text here where it says, “I am crucified with Christ.” Crucified but not literally and actually did. I’m crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I live.

PAUL DOHSE: As he said there, you heard it, “Not literally or actually dead.” Okay?

PHIL JOHNSON: It’s the paradox of death.

PAUL DOHSE: And again, there is no paradox of death. We really died. We literally died, and we’re really resurrected as a new creature. So, therefore, there is no paradox.

PHIL JOHNSON: It flows right into the next paragraph, if you want to write these down. Notice the next one, the paradox of the resurrection. “I live,” he says, “yet not I but Christ. I’m crucified yet alive. I’m alive and yet it’s not my life.”

PAUL DOHSE: It’s not my life because it’s the old life, and, you know, I’m not going to be dogmatic about this. But I pose a question. If you look at this in context of a literal death of the old man, and this is what I would challenge you to do. What I’m trying to say is I don’t think Christ living in us – let me state it this way. Paul is dead, and only Christ is alive in him in regard to justification. In regard to justification. Why is that? Because the old man died and is no longer under the law. As we will see, this verse is not saying that Paul remains dead, and the only life that is in him is the life of Christ by faith alone. This is their take on the verse, but many, many, many other scriptures in the Bible and the basic true Gospel of Jesus Christ itself makes that impossible. And when you have the right view of the Gospel and you look at Galatians 2:20 in that context, this becomes clear.

PHIL JOHNSON: He’s building this amazing string of paradoxes that cover the whole range of the Christian experience. The paradox of death was all about justification. And the point there is that faith justifies us as it looks back to the historical event of Christ’s death.

PAUL DOHSE: All right. This is another major smoking gun. We can almost go home with making note of this right here. “Faith justifies as we look back to the historical event of Christ’s death.” This is the present continuous tense. How is this not progressive justification? And what do you have to do to keep it progressing? You must “participate in the vital union for the justification to continue.” These are his words, and the grammar is clear. Okay?

PHIL JOHNSON: The paradox of resurrection is about the very principle of eternal life itself. And here we see that faith regenerates and empowers us as we look to the living Christ for our life and energy.

PAUL DOHSE: And as he said before, it also justifies us. Now what we’re gonna see, when convenient, he flips back and forth between justification and sanctification nomenclature. But this drawing on the power of Christ’s resurrection, whenever he talks about this drawing of the power of Christ’s resurrection by looking back to the cross, he only mentions often in this sermon, sanctification. And again this puts the idea out there. It nuances the point and allows people to assume he’s speaking of a better way to be sanctified and a better way of growing in our Christian life. No. If this was intellectually honest and logically cohesive, he would say that the resurrection of Christ continues to justify us as we return to the same Gospel that saved us.

PHIL JOHNSON: I live, he says, but my life is not my own. Christ is the source of it. And just as his death [UNINTELLIGIBLE 0:12:27] his death, his resurrection from the dead both seals my justification and gives me life. So I’m alive from the dead because my substitute is alive from the dead, and I am united with him by faith.

PAUL DOHSE: Again, though he nuances it, our Christian life is also a substitution for justification purposes. This is again the Reformed doctrine of double imputation.

PHIL JOHNSON: Paul is saying the very same thing here that he says in Colossians 3:3 where he says, “For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” In other words, believers are united by faith with Christ in such a way that God sees our sin debt paid in full by Christ’s death, and we are, therefore, brought up from the dead with Christ through his resurrection so that death has no more dominion over us. Our life is hidden safely in his care because it’s his life, too, by union, by our participation with him and his participation with us.

PAUL DOHSE: So, in other words, again, and this is heavily nuanced, but logically, definitively, what he’s saying is that we’re only legally dead and resurrected by proxy because then he goes on to clarify the fact or emphasize the fact that this is all substitution. It’s all a substitution.

PHIL JOHNSON: And, in fact, that is the very same thing Paul says in Romans 6. I keep going back there for a reason. Romans 6:8-11, he says, “Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him, knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more, death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once, but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.” And the resurrection of Christ, therefore, guarantees our life. And since death has no more dominion over him and because we are spiritually united with him by faith, our life is hid with Christ in God, and therefore, we are secure forever. This is an amazing truth, and Scripture stresses it over and over. I’m not digging something obscure out of this single verse. It’s all over Scripture. John 14:19, Jesus said, “Because I live, you shall live also.” And listen to the next verse, John 14:19, “Because I live, you shall live also.” Now, verse 20. “At that day, you shall know that I am in my father and you in me and I in you.” Christ is united with his father in the father, and we are united with him, he says you and me and I and you, so that our life is literally hid with Christ in God. And by our union with him, we participate in his resurrection life. And it’s a great security to us.

PAUL DOHSE: Again, notice that we participate in his resurrection life. It’s a participation in his resurrection life. We’re not really resurrected. We’re not literally new creatures that were resurrected from the dead through spirit baptism and free to love personally. Now later on in this sermon, he makes a big deal about faith being personal, faith being personal, except for the fact that we’re really personally righteous because we’re literally born of God. He strongly emphasizes the personal aspect of it except for the reality that we’re truly personally righteous and children of God through the new birth. And note, we are…

PHIL JOHNSON: By the way, here’s a practical use for this.

PAUL DOHSE: I apologize for that. Let’s back up a little bit.

PHIL JOHNSON: And I in you. Christ is united with his father in the father, and we are united with him.

PAUL DOHSE: One moment.

PHIL JOHNSON: I mean, he says you and me and I in you so that our life is literally hid with Christ in God.

PAUL DOHSE: We’re backing up a little bit. I apologize.

PHIL JOHNSON: And by our union with him, we participate in his resurrection life. And it’s a great security to us.

PAUL DOHSE: All right. Here we go. I apologize for that. Note that we are secure only as long as we “participate.” This is the reformed doctrine of already not yet. What I’m saying here is him making it sound like that the reformed are secure and once saved always saved is disingenuous. If you note carefully his words, you only have assurance, you’re only secure as long as you participate in the vital union. We are already saved if we continue to participate in the vital union. This is the perseverance of the saints elements of Calvin’s threefold election construct. Now this guy, as well as MacArthur, et al, pride themselves on being Calvinists. And one thing that he is not talking about here in regard to eternal security is Calvin’s clear-cut threefold election construct that is well documented in the Calvin Institutes–the non-elect, the called, and those who persevere. The called class of elect, those that are called, are temporarily illumined and really don’t know if they’re going to persevere or not. And again, you know, I didn’t play the other segment where he gets into this verbiage where it seems to posit the idea of eternal security because I know the reformed doctrine that’s behind it, and it’s disingenuous.

PHIL JOHNSON: By the way, there’s a practical use for this truth. Paul leaned on it to see him through his worst sufferings. Listen to what he says in 2 Corinthians 4:8-10, and notice this same truth runs as a thread through that passage. 2 Corinthians 4, starting at verse 8, he says, describing his minister, “We have trouble on every side, yet not distressed. We are perplexed but not in despair, persecuted but not forsaken, cast down but not destroyed.” Why? Why do these difficulties not have any impact on Paul? Verse 10, “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” And in 1 Thessalonians 5:10, Paul says that Christ died for us, that whether we wake or asleep, we should live together with him. Again, that is the bedrock foundation of our security. In other words, our union with Christ makes us participants not only in his death and crucifixion but also in his resurrection and his life. So we’re crucified with Christ; nevertheless, we live.

PAUL DOHSE: We participate because the old us is literally dead and because the new creature, the new us, is literally alive. Is it Christ’s life to the exclusion of our life? No. We’re alive in likeness with Christ because we’re born of the same Father that he has. Okay? We continue.

PHIL JOHNSON: More precisely, Christ lives in us. In fact, notice another significant thing here in Galatians 2:20. Earlier I showed you how frequently Paul uses this expression, “In Christ,” to signify our union with him. Here he turns the expression around and shows the flip side of this same truth. Here it’s not just we who are in Christ, but also Christ lives in us, and that’s how intimate the union is. It’s the same thing Jesus said in John 14:19…

PAUL DOHSE: It’s intimate because he’s our big brother and because we’re born of the same Father that he has. It’s a family intimacy. That’s what makes it intimate, not a death and resurrection experience by proxy.

PHIL JOHNSON: …which I just read a second ago where he says, “I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” It works both ways. So inseparable is our union with Christ that we are in him, and he is in us. Listen to Paul’s prayer church at Ephesus, Ephesians 3 verses 16 and 17. He says – he’s praying for them that God would grant you according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his spirit in the inner man that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith. And in Colossians 1:27 he speaks again of Christ in you, the hope of glory.

PAUL DOHSE: But remember whenever he says, “By faith,” remember what his definition of faith is. It’s looking back to the historical event of Christ dying on the cross. So faith is this looking back, and you’re only living by faith as long as you’re looking back.

PHIL JOHNSON: And as Rick said this morning, that hope is not just a vague longing or wish. It’s a certainty. Christ in you, the guarantee of glory. Christ lives in us, and his resurrection life is what energizes and drives our spiritual life and guarantees that for all of eternity.

PAUL DOHSE: This all sounds good, but remember his definition of faith, and remember that all of this is contingent on “by faith.” Faith is a looking back to the historical death of Christ resulting in continued justification. Everything he is saying, though it sounds good, is contingent on participation in the vital union. And by the way, John Piper says this all the time. He even preached the sermon called “How Christians Are Saved by the Gospel” in which he says outrightly in broad daylight that Christians continue to need salvation and are saved by the same Gospel that originally saved them. Christians still need salvation, and that salvation comes by a perpetual looking back to the cross.

PHIL JOHNSON: We are participants in his resurrection as well as his death so that even though in the eyes of the law we’re not only crucified with Christ, we are alive with him as well.

PAUL DOHSE: This is another major Achilles heel of Reformed soteriology, the idea that Christians remain, here it is, under the eyes of the law. What law? Well, the law of sin and death, half of Romans 8:2, rather than the law of the spirit of life, again Romans 8:2. This defines the Christian as lost according to the Bible. Look at Romans 6:14. It defines Christians as still under law. Only a literal new birth can free us to love God and others without our love being a substitution. Now, here is another one of these things that is so simple it flies right over your head. Romans 6:14 only defines two different kinds of people in the world: under law and under grace. And again, under grace does not mean that you’re not under a law. Under grace means you’re under the law, the spirit of life, the law of liberty and so on and so forth. The law of Christ, by the way, that’s another one. So basically, he uses this term, under the eyes of the law, like four times in this sermon. Under the eyes of the law. And it’s not which law is it? Well, again, they have a single perspective on the law. The only law is this law of sin and death like they have a single anthropomorphic perspective, one man instead of two men, one man that’s still dead instead of two men, one that’s dead and gone and no longer under the law, Romans 7, and the second man, the new man, born of God through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Okay. So this is too easy. If we’re still under the eyes of the law, well, we’re still under law. And biblically that’s defined as a lost person.

PHIL JOHNSON: We’re crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, we live, and in practical terms this truth ought to teach us to depend on the indwelling spirit of Christ to empower us. This truth ought to color how we think about everything that comes against us. It teaches us to look beyond ourselves and to lean on Christ who is our life. We’re not living the Christian life for Christ. He’s living it in us. That’s the proper perspective, and that is precisely what Paul says in Romans 6. I keep going back to that passage because you know what? In extended form, Romans 6 – well, it says precisely the same thing as our text, and if you take it and extend it out, Romans 6 is practically an extended commentary on Galatians 2:20. Paul summarizes his whole theology here in Galatians 2:20. He spells out the same truth in detail in Romans 6. And if you see these two passages together, it will help you understand them both better. Romans 6, remember, is where Paul says we’re buried with Christ into death by that spiritual baptism that unites us with him.

PAUL DOHSE: All right. Note: Spiritual baptism that unites us with him. Let me repeat that. A spiritual baptism that unites us with him. So this unites the spiritual baptism with the vital union. What’s the vital union? A faith looking back to the cross. This is the Reformed doctrine of mortification and vivification. As we actively return to the death of Christ in repentance, we passively experience resurrection. The spirit baptism is repetitive and not a one-time event. The vital union rests in repeated spiritual baptism. So basically, he’ll tell us later on in this sermon that the best way to be sanctified is to preach the Gospel to ourselves, to live by faith. But what’s living by faith? Well, it’s a looking back to the cross. So if you put all this together, the only logical conclusion is that this is a perpetual revisitation of the original Gospel that saved us to remain justified, and, in fact, that is the very definition of the Reformed doctrine of mortification and vivification. Let’s continue on.

PHIL JOHNSON: Verse 8 is the one that says, “Now, if we be dead with Christ, we believe we shall also live with him.” Verse 9 says, “Death can have no dominion over him now that he’s conquered death and been raised from the dead.” And then Paul says this, verse 11, “Likewise, reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” He’s saying put this perspective over your entire vision of your Christian life. That’s how you should think of yourself. Do you think of yourself as dead and resurrected? If you are truly united with Christ by faith, you should because you know what? That’s reality. It’s a spiritual reality, but it’s real. It’s more real than anything you could see with your eyes or touch with your hands because this is how God himself sees you, and that’s how you ought to think of yourself, and that’s what Paul says here.

PAUL DOHSE: Note what he’s doing here in this doublespeak. This is real. This is literal. And then he goes on to say this is how God sees you. You catch the doublespeak? This is how God sees you. No, this not only how God sees you. This is who you are literally. So on the one hand he talks about how literal it is and how much of a reality it is, but then he goes on to say that it is the way God sees you, and this gets into this whole thing with when God looks at you, all he sees is Christ. No. When God looks at you, all he sees is not only Christ but somebody that is his child and is literally born of him through the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

PHIL JOHNSON: Reckon yourself to be dead indeed unto sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ. Notice how Paul uses this word reckon? The Greek word is logizomai, and it’s the same word that’s in other places translated impute, like in Romans 4 where we’re told that God imputes righteousness apart from works to believers. In other words, he reckons us righteous. Romans 4, Verse 8 uses the same word, and it’s actually, according to Old Testament passage, Psalm 32, to say that God does not impute or reckon sin to believers. In other words, he reckons them guilt-free, completely righteous. As a matter of fact, he imputes to them a righteousness that is not their own, and at the same time, he does not impute to them their sins, the guilt of their sin.

PAUL DOHSE: Notice that A righteousness is imputed to us that’s not our own. This is Luther’s, and this comes right out of, again, the Heidelberg Disputation. And this is a sixth Reformed doctrine that we could yet note here that Johnson doesn’t name, and that is alien righteousness. Martin Luther’s alien righteousness says even as Christians, we have no “righteousness of our own.” Well, unfortunately, the way that is framed, that means any righteousness that we would have as believers is a righteousness of our own, and it’s this either or Gnostic construct that either we have a hundred percent righteousness of our own or our righteousness is a hundred percent of Christ. Well, what’s the real answer? What’s the true biblical perspective on that? Here’s the true biblical perspective on that. The righteousness was never that of our own. It’s a righteousness that was never our own, but now we own it. Why? Because it was a gift. And once you receive a free gift, you own it or it’s not a gift. We’re not saying that we had a righteousness of our own that we conjured up within ourselves which they make the issue, and it’s not an issue at all. So, basically, what am I saying? Basically, they’ve redefined the word gift and left out the reality of the definition of the word that once you receive a gift it, you own it. Let’s continue.

PHIL JOHNSON: That’s how the divine reckoning of justification works, and Paul says that’s how we ought to think of ourselves. We should reckon ourselves dead indeed unto sin, truly and really dead to sin and dead to the law, beyond the reach of the law’s condemnation and therefore freed from death and freed from sin’s guilt. We’re freed from guilt and condemnation.

PAUL DOHSE: Freed from death only but not free to directly obey the law of the spirit of life. Here it is. Look, faith working through love. Faith works rather than looking back. You got that? Faith works rather than looking back. Now, this is a yet seventh Reformed doctrine that we can insert into the deconstruction here that Phil Johnson doesn’t name. What is it? The imperative command is grounded in the indicative event. What in the world is all of that? It’s saying that as “Christians,” we don’t directly jump from the command to an obedience that’s our own. Why? Because it’s got to be a substitution. How is it substituted? Through the vital union. What’s the vital union? It’s living by faith. What’s that? It’s a looking back to the original salvation that saved us, and we partake in looking back to the cross by deep repentance and a more and more realization of how sinful we are. So again, we’re not freed from death so that we can directly love God in others and we can jump directly from the command to love God and others to the action. No. It’s got to be this complicated vital union process where our – anything that happens in our life is sanctified and deemed under the eyes of the law as a faith alone work rather than a work work. And as you know, if you’ve been following us in our examination of the Heidelberg Disputation, this falls under the auspices of Martin Luther’s mortal and venial sin construct. And we carry on.

PHIL JOHNSON: By Christ’s death because, again, we’re united with him and in legal terms we are therefore participants in his death, and so we should reckon ourselves well and truly dead to sin. But you know what? It doesn’t stop there. We’re also alive unto God because we participate in Christ’s resurrection as well as his death, and so we’re alive, but it’s not our life. It’s the resurrection power of Christ. Listen to Paul’s words from Philippians 3, verses 10 and 11, another very familiar passage. And here is the true longing of every heart that is united with Christ by faith expressed in the words of the apostle Paul. He says, “That I may know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings being made conformable to his death if by any means I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” And so Christ’s death and his resurrection are one package. His death frees me from sin. His life empowers me for righteousness, and we lay hold of both of them by faith, and in fact, that is the paradox of the resurrection. I live. Yet not I but Christ lives in me. I live but it’s not my life. And so we’ve seen the paradox of death. We’re crucified, but we’re living. We’ve seen the power of the resurrection. We’re living, but it’s actually the life of Christ in us.

PAUL DOHSE: All right. So I let the tape go for a while, and I’m going to summarize. He makes all of this sound so good, but let’s summarize. One, Christian life is a rest. And this is the way these guys are. They’re good, so you’ve got to keep going back to what you know they have stated definitively and not allow yourself to be assimilated into this doctrine by the nuance. These guys are good. But you’ve got to keep coming back and driving a stake where their statements are that are definitive. So I let the tape run a while, and here’s a summary. One, Christian life is a rest. In other words, we are not free to – for our faith to work. No. Our faith has to rest by going back to the cross. So we are not free for our faith to work by loving God and others. Two, we are not living for Christ. Three, our resurrected life is only how God sees us. Four, we are only legally dead to sin, not literally dead to sin, Romans 7, because the old guy who was under the law is dead and even if you dug the guy up, dragged him into the court, the judge has no law. We aren’t under any eyes of the law. The judge has no law. The law has no eyeballs. There is no law as far as condemnation and judgment. Again, eschatologically, the Reformed hold to the idea that in the end everybody that ever lived in all of history, saved and unsaved, will stand at this one massive – what Calvin called the tribunal, and at that time, God will Judge who lived by faith alone well enough to be saved, and they go up and everybody else goes down. According to Martin Luther and the Heidelberg Disputation, the foundational document of the Reformation, if you think you can do any good work at all or anything at all that you do has any merit in the eyes of God, that’s mortal sin that can’t be forgiven in the institutional church. But if you believe that everything you do is evil in and of yourself, anything that you personally do that’s not a manifestation of Christ’s works, if you believe that even your good works are evil, all of your sins are therefore venial and can be forgiven in the process of deep repentance and the vital union. This is how this all works. You aren’t actually free to jump from the imperative command to your own faith that works through love. And I’ve got a lot more to say about that in the end. Let’s continue.

PHIL JOHNSON: Now here’s a third paradox. We’ll call it the paradox of life. This one is a little more subtle when you read the verse in English, but let me show it to you. “The life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith.” That is the literal rendering of the Greek preposition, in the flesh and in faith, and they are identical and parallel expressions in the Greek, and it sets up another paradox. While I’m living in the flesh, I’m actually living in faith.

PAUL DOHSE: And remember what’s that mean? That means you’re living by continually looking back to the cross or the same Gospel that saved you.

PHIL JOHNSON: And so faith, not the flesh, is the driving principle in my life. My true life is not contained in this flesh. The life of my flesh, the living, breathing organic life that is visible to the human eye, that is not my true life. My flesh is simply a mask that conceals the true principle of life that actually energizes me, spiritual life.

PAUL DOHSE: Okay. I’m going to go ahead and put this in here. The flesh is not inherently evil but can be used for good or evil, Romans 12:1. “In the flesh” refers to when we allow sinful desires to use our bodies for sinful purposes. In other places in the Bible, our bodies are actually said to be what? The temples of God, right? And if you do a word study on the word temple, that actually refers to the Holy of Holies. So this is another problem with Reformed soteriology. One of the problems, among many, is this dichotomy, you know, the flesh is inherently evil and only – and basically, what they do, and this gets to the Gnostic roots of the Reformation, they make the flesh and everything material one realm and the spirit, things of the spirit or the invisible world, a whole other realm and you’re – there is a, you know, once you get into this, there’s a lot of different Reformed metaphysical takes on this. Some believe that the believers sit in between both realms and both realms put pressure on the believer, and at any given time, the believer yields to one or the other. That’s popular in the higher life doctrines.

And then another construct that’s probably more reformed in Reformed circles is that we are still in the material realm or the flesh realm, completely separate from the spirit realm, but salvation is encompassed or salvation is defined totally by a mere ability to perceive the spirit realm. So basically, you’re still in the material or flesh realm. Everything you dwell in is evil, period, and anything about you, in you, outside of you is evil. And the only righteousness that there is in this spiritual realm or the realm of the spirit completely outside of you, and that is also the only thing in reality that is objective. And your only role or your only ability given in salvation is a mere ability to perceive the kingdom. So it gets deep into ancient philosophies when you get to that point, but the general idea is in the Protestantism’s Gnostic roots is where Phil Johnson is getting this idea that the flesh is inherently evil. And the Bible does not define the flesh as inherently evil, and in fact, Creation groans and moans with us, waiting for redemption, right? So here’s what the Reformed do. They define weakness as evil or weakness with the flesh, but biblically, we are mortal and weak, but weakness is not mutually exclusive from being righteous. You say, “Wow, Paul, that’s an astounding statement.” But not really because wouldn’t you say God is the measure of all strength? When you think of the epitome of strength, we think of God, right? Right. Well, are not the angels weaker than God? Well, sure they are, but yet they’re called what? The holy angels. So weaker or weakness does not equal evil. The flesh is weak, but it’s not evil. It can either be used for godly purposes or evil purposes, and through the new birth, we have been set free to choose in that regard. Let’s carry on.

PHIL JOHNSON: I live by faith through Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. Notice he’s speaking of the life which I now live in the flesh as opposed to my life before conversion, which is really kind of walking death, remember. Spiritual death, dullness to the things of God. That was the old life, but the life which I now life in the flesh, I live by faith. And notice also that the object of our faith is also personal and objective. It’s faith in the Son of God, faith in his person and faith in his work, and I want to show you something. Don’t miss this.

PAUL DOHSE: That is personal except for our ability to personally experience being like our own father and being like him, born of him and therefore having a righteousness that we possess personally.

PHIL JOHNSON: All three of these paradoxes hinge on faith. The paradox of death teaches us that faith justifies as it looks back to the historical event of Christ’s death.

PAUL DOHSE: Whoa. I mean, you know, listen, I know a lot of what this guy is saying sounds really, really good. But again you’ve got to drive a stake where they make definitive statements. You’ve got to drive a stake where they espouse their Freudian slips, and here it is. Once again he states that we are justified as we look back. This is present continuous tense, “as we look back.” It’s also – defining this grammatically, it only happens as we look back, A-S. How do you define that word A-S in context? It’s contingent on us looking back. The long and the short of it is we keep ourselves safe by preaching the Gospel to ourselves, and that’s okay because it’s a faith-alone work and not a work work.

PHIL JOHNSON: The paradox of resurrection teaches that faith regenerates and empowers as it looks to the living Christ for its true energy. And here we learn from the paradox of life that faith sanctifies as it conforms us to Christ. And you know what? It’s the same faith in all three cases. The faith that justifies is the same faith that sanctifies, not a different faith.

PAUL DOHSE: If it is the same faith that looks back, then we are justified by sanctification and sanctified by justification. That’s what he’s saying. How is this not progressive justification? Faith is a gift that brings about a one-time spirit baptism that puts the old us to death and gives birth to a new us. A different faith or same faith is not the issue.

PHIL JOHNSON: Verse 16 says we’re justified by faith in Jesus Christ. Verse 20, Paul says the life we’re living in this flesh while we wait for glory, we’re supposed to live in the energy and power of our faith in the Son of God. It’s the same faith. It’s not a different faith, but it’s the same faith because it’s the same object of faith. It’s always faith in Christ. The error of deeper life theology and all brands of perfectionism, no lordship doctrine, most forms of pietism, they all commit the same error in that they make justification and sanctification hinge on different acts of faith so that they think, okay, you’re justified by an initial act of faith, but you have to have a different experience of faith and a different kind of faith in order to gain sanctification.

PAUL DOHSE: We don’t gain sanctification, by the way. It is a state of being as a new creature, and we are called on to grow up in that new person with the help of the Holy Spirit, not a substitution for our works by Gospel contemplationism. The argument for “different faiths” is a straw man argument.

PHIL JOHNSON: So you’re saved by this act of justifying faith where you look to Christ as savior to free you from the guilt of sin, but then they go on and teach that, yeah, you need to reach a higher level, a second stage of the Christian life…

PAUL DOHSE: These are all red herrings.

PHIL JOHNSON: …by a completely different act of faith and a completely different kind of faith, a completely separate experience of faith when you finally surrender all…

PAUL DOHSE: Red herrings ahead.

PHIL JOHNSON: …or accept Jesus as Lord, not just savior or you finally die to self or you have some kind of existential faith crisis where you finally have to move to the next level of spirituality. If that is your impression how sanctification works, forget it. That’s not how it works, and that’s not what Scripture teaches. The faith that sanctifies is the same faith that originally looked to Christ as our substitute and our savior. And if you don’t realize that, you are going to be hamstrung in the process of your sanctification.

PAUL DOHSE: And justification. You’re not only going to be hamstrung in your sanctification, the logical conclusion of everything that he’s saying is that you must add justification to that because it’s the same faith that looks back, right? This is deliberate nuance. Truthfully he should have said if you don’t look to the same faith that sanctified you, that justified you, you’re going to be hamstrung in your justification. It’s progressive justification, and again, these guys flip back between justification and sanctification where it’s convenient in order to use those two different terms for deliberate nuance.

PHIL JOHNSON: Notice, here Paul is talking about real life in this present world, a life which I now live in the flesh, and he says the driving principle of this life is faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. That is the same faith that was born at Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. It’s the only faith Paul ever knew.

PAUL DOHSE: Okay. I would just challenge you to define or to evaluate rather what he’s saying with this verse, Hebrews 6:1, “Therefore, let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and faith towards God.”

PHIL JOHNSON: It’s the same faith he nurtured and cultivated and sustained throughout his life. It is the faith he was speaking of at the end of his life when he wrote to Timothy and said, “I fought a good fight. I finished my course. I have kept the faith.” It’s gospel faith, faith in Christ who loved me and gave himself for me and the…

PAUL DOHSE: Problem here, was Paul really saying that he kept his own saving faith? He said he’s kept the faith. But if you make justification and sanctification the same thing, do we really want to say that Paul kept his own saving faith?

PHIL JOHNSON: [UNINTELLIGIBLE 1:02:57] of that faith is the same historic person and historic event that procured our justification in the first place. That is the proper focus of all true faith. He gave himself for me on the cross, which is the greatest manifestation of his love. Greater love hath no man than a man that lay down his life for his friends. So the cross is the focal point of the faith that empowers a godly life. And if you lose sight of the work of Christ for you, you will falter in your attempts to live your life for him. I’ve said this many times before, but it bears repeating. If you struggle with besetting sins, if your sanctification seems sluggish or stalled, if you are frustrated in your progress towards Christ-likeness, there is no greater spiritual tonic than to preach the Gospel to yourself.

PAUL DOHSE: With all the other elements considered, this is nothing more or less than perpetually returning to the same Gospel that saved you in order to keep yourself saved. Johnson, like all of the Reformed, flips back and forth from justification to sanctification nomenclatures in order to deliberately nuance the point, as I’ve said before.

PHIL JOHNSON: Remind yourself what Christ has done on your behalf as the great high priest who offered himself as the atonement for your sins.

PAUL DOHSE: And by the way, he defines sanctification as a walking towards Christ-likeness. But again, as we’re seeing repeatedly, the term Christ-likeness is a red herring really that leads us away and nuances the point of his progressive justification.

PHIL JOHNSON: That will restore the proper focus of your faith and that will energize you spiritually to live in the power of his resurrection.

PAUL DOHSE: Only problem is this living in the power of his resurrection as set apart from us living the life of the new creature because we are also resurrected, if we are living in the power only of Christ’s resurrection – actually, what the Bible says is we live in the power of the Holy Spirit who is the one that resurrected Christ. And I think that’s an important distinction. Everything is not about Christ, okay? So basically, if that’s the case, Romans 4:25 states that Christ was “raised for our justification.” So this is returning to the cross in order to power justification as well as sanctification. Again, he flips back and forth in order to avoid a direct statement in regard to keeping ourselves justified by preaching the Gospel to ourselves.

PHIL JOHNSON: Remind yourself that…

PAUL DOHSE: Maybe a better way to state that: If we live in the power of Christ’s resurrection, that’s a problem because now we’re not living from the viewpoint that we too were resurrected but that there was only one resurrection, that of Christ, and we live out of and through that resurrection mutually exclusive from our own resurrection.

PHIL JOHNSON: You are dead to sin, dead indeed to sin, through the cross but alive unto God through the resurrection and reckon yourself to be dead indeed unto sin and its power…

PAUL DOHSE: “Alive unto God through Christ’s resurrection.” Well, Christ’s resurrection made our resurrection possible, but what we live through is our own resurrection and new creaturehood. And again, they want to talk about your faith is personal, but yet they want to deny us our own personal resurrection brought about by the Holy Spirit and personal kinship with God himself and our brother and Lord, Jesus Christ.

PHIL JOHNSON: Dead to the claims of the law against you but alive in the resurrected Christ. And remember that faith unites you to him so that his power and his life flow through you. That will do more than all the counseling sessions in the world to set your spiritual compass straight again.

PAUL DOHSE: Since faith is defined by looking back to the cross, this looking back is what unites us to Christ, resulting in the flow of justification. This is the crux of the matter. It is keeping ourselves saved by preaching the Gospel to ourselves.

PHIL JOHNSON: Your sanctification, no less than your justification, is wrought by faith in Christ and not by your own self effort or fleshly energy.

PAUL DOHSE: So what he’s saying here is that justification and sanctification both are by faith alone. And remember how he defines faith. It’s a looking back to the cross, to the original Gospel that saved us. So the justification is moving forward and progressing in what they call sanctification as long as we live by the same Gospel that saved us.

PHIL JOHNSON: It was Paul’s focus. That is the message of our text.

PAUL DOHSE: Our efforts do not come from the flesh but our new hearts, okay? This whole idea that any effort that we put forth comes from the flesh is not correct. Again, the flesh can be used for good or bad purposes. It’s interesting. We have a booklet, again not surprisingly, written by a layman that does a really deep word study into the word heart, and in nowhere in the Bible can we find where the heart of the Christian is wicked. Our heart is, in fact, the redeemed part of us, and that is where our efforts flow from which is quite all right because our bodies can be used for righteous purposes. This is a false dichotomy, and it is impossible for our efforts, listen, to begin with, in our sanctification if you have a right view of the Gospel. It is impossible for our efforts to any way contribute or interfere with the finished work of justification.

PHIL JOHNSON: All the Christian life is a life of faith because faith is what unites us with Christ. Now quickly, as we close, what if you’re not a true believer in Christ? What relevance does any of this have to you? Can you know with any certainty that he loves you and gave himself for you? The answer is only if you lay hold of him by faith. If anyone has not the spirit of Christ, Scripture says, he is not of his. True faith is personal faith. That’s one of the lessons of this passage. You cannot be in spiritual union with Christ because of the faith of your parents or because of an act of water baptism or because of any other sacrament or work you might do. You don’t unite with Christ by attending church or even by joining a church.

PAUL DOHSE: All red herrings. These are all red herrings.

PHIL JOHNSON: Only faith, personal faith in Christ can unite us with him. And only the Holy Spirit can awaken a dead heart to faith. The Scripture says faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. And so the very fact that you have come under the hearing of the word of God is a token of his mercy and goodness to you, and I urge you to respond to it. So if you are here today without being united with Christ by faith…

PAUL DOHSE: All right. So you initially unite with him by faith and then you keep reuniting with him by faith alone throughout your Christian life. Remember also faith is looking back to the cross. You initially look to the cross and then you keep yourself saved by continuing to look back to the cross.

PHIL JOHNSON: My counsel to you is to receive him by faith as your savior before you leave here tonight. My prayer for you is that his word and his tender plea will be the instrument by which he draws you to himself. And for those who are in Christ, let this passage be a reminder of your high position. Remember, the same faith that looks to Christ for salvation lays hold of all his work on our behalf. You don’t need a new or different kind of faith. You just need to go back to the beginning and recover your first love. He loved me. He lived for me. He died for me and he lives in me. That is the key to everything in a single verse. I’ve been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me, and the life which I now live in the faith I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. Let’s pray. Lord, what a powerful reminder this single verse…

PAUL DOHSE: Now, he read there from ESV, I believe. And as I mentioned earlier, they leave out “yet I live,” and there’s no good reason for leaving that out. And I thank Andy, an associate of our ministry, of TANC ministries, for pointing that out. The King James has the “yet I live” in there, but I believe he was reading from the ESV. In fact, we will close and go to the phones here, and I will quickly look that up. Here’s a King James, and let me see here. Got a King James Bible. I’ll quickly go to Galatians, find it here. Haven’t used this King James Bible in a while. Here we go, Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God.” And by the way, faith works through love, so he’s referring to a work in faith through love, and that’s faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. Now let’s quickly read the ESV, which I believe is the version that he just read. And let me get there in the – I didn’t intend to do this. Excuse my unreadiness there. The ESV in the 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me, and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” Curious that the new Calvinist translation of the Bible, the ESV, leaves out “Nevertheless, I live,” okay? Let me see here. Another thing that I might note here. Whoa. There is also a confusion in the translations. I believe the ESV actually gives it right in “I have been crucified with Christ,” and the King James says, “I am crucified with Christ.” I do believe that the past tense – so basically, Paul is saying, “I was crucified with Christ,” that is, the old him is dead. “Nevertheless, I live.” And I believe that refers to the new creature, the new Paul, okay? In regard to justification which is the context f this verse, “Yet not I but Christ liveth in me.” I believe that is a direct reference to justification. “And the life which I now live…” so Paul is saying that I, in fact, live, “I live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” But it all boils down to how you define faith. In Galatians he goes on to define faith by a faith that works through love. And what defines love? Well, Scriptures or the law, you know, the Bible, the Scriptures, the law of the Spirit of Life is what informs our love that our faith works. Now, if you define that faith is something that only looks back to our original salvation or Christ’s works on the cross, now you have Galatians 2:20 saying what they wanted to say. And with that we will complete our lesson and go to the phones.

SUSAN DOHSE: There were two phrases he hammered, hammered, hammered. He kept repeating about that we are dead to the law. Christ died in the law. So are we dead to the law, or is the law of condemnation dead to us?

PAUL DOHSE: Well, Christ died to end the law, so there is no law to judge us. Also, there is no old us that was under the law. So we died with the law being ended.

SUSAN DOHSE: Okay. But am I just missing words here? Because he just kept saying, “We are dead to the law.” We as believers are dead to the law. But yet we hold too that Christ ended the law and ended that law of condemnation, but we are alive to the law of love.

PAUL DOHSE: Exactly.

SUSAN DOHSE: And this is just what he kept hammering and hammering on about being dead to the law, and I just kept saying to myself is – in my mind I was – kept thinking of all the things we had learned that the law of condemnation is dead to us because Christ ended it.

SUSAN DOHSE: And we view law through the spirit, the spirit of love, and the Holy Spirit uses the law to instruct us in our sanctification. And then I just have one question. He really used the phrase in Christ, in Christ, in Christ a lot, and from that phrase, a life which I now live in Christ. And then he made the statement “I live but it’s not my life,” that Christ is living his life in us.


SUSAN DOHSE: Is that spiritually correct?

PAUL DOHSE: Not, it isn’t. For what are we going to be judged for for rewards [UNINTELLIGIBLE 1:22:27] Does that make sense?

SUSAN DOHSE: I’m sorry. I keep stepping on your words. Doesn’t this follow the same Christ obeying for us. If he’s living for us, then he’s obeying for us.

PAUL DOHSE: Right. And the reason that he has to obey for us is because we’re still under the law [UNINTELLIGIBLE 1:22:54].

SUSAN DOHSE: Under the law, right. We’re still under – right. Okay.

PAUL DOHSE: So basically, it’s almost too simple and too blatant to the point it’s ridiculous. You have Romans 6:14 that says you’re either under law or under grace. You’re either saved or unsaved, right?


PAUL DOHSE: Well, he says four times in the sermon that we’re under the eyes of the law.


PAUL DOHSE: It’s like, you know, this is in broad daylight. It’s just almost too obvious.

SUSAN DOHSE: Well, I’m glad that you went through this sermon and broke it up because initially, like for the first half of it as I’m listening to him and every time before you broke in to explain, I’m going, “Okay, I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t have a problem with that.” And then you would show where the problem was, and I’m going, “This is how dumbed down we are that we have not learned to listen with discernment, and it’s because we don’t know and understand theology because we are taught at church theology is for the seminarians.” We’re not to study theology, and we’re not to study philosophy, and we’re not to study the Calvin Institutes, or we’re not to keep our mind honed in to these new teachings, if you want to call them new, that these pastors are coming up with as they preach because superficially, it sounds like a very good and deep Bible study on Galatians.

PAUL DOHSE: Sounds good.

SUSAN DOHSE: Yeah. But then I’ve started writing phrases down, and I was really back here smiling because it was the very thing that you would talk about when you came in like gaining sanctification, the same faith that saved, that sanctifies us, all of those catchphrases, and I was starting to pick up on it. But this is where we fail ourselves when we want to listen to a speaker and we want to listen to a Bible study. We fail to pick it apart, and it’s not that we’re splitting hairs, and it’s not that we are being picky for the sake of being picky, but what we want to show our listeners and those who follow along with our Bible study is that we have been warned by the apostle Paul that in the latter days, we will be deceived if we are not careful, and we will believe lies. And that’s really so detrimental, number one, to our own spiritual growth, number two, to winning people to the Lord, to presenting the true Gospel and to have victorious lives as we are caught on that hamster treadmill, going back to the cross, going back to the cross. And the hamster goes nowhere because he’s on that little wheel. And when he kept saying that we have to, you know, we go back to the crucifixion, I do reflect on what Christ did on the cross but not in the way that he was asking us to do, always going back to that crucifixion to be in Christ. And when we’re justified, we move beyond the crucifixion into the resurrected life, into his resurrection and into living with the power of the resurrection. But he kept wanting us to go back and keep dying with Christ in that hamster wheel experience, no forward motion, no moving forward in our Christian life. I appreciate you doing this. This is a great lesson on how to listen to a speaker. We even encourage people when we have Bible study that when they listen to you, we want them to do the same thing. And then that’s why we ask people to call in and ask questions so that we can either clarify or be corrected. But anyway, I’ll get off my high horse. I just appreciate you doing this because I had become a dull thinker, and I really need to practice being more discerning as I listen because we do listen on the radio. You know, you have a 45-minute drive to work so you have your Christian radio on, and that stuff, you hear it over and over. And then of course those involved in institutional church often hear this. And we sit in our pews, and we’re SpongeBobs just soaking it in, and we’re not discerning or even practicing good listening skills. So again, thank you. This is a good mental exercise.

PAUL DOHSE: Well, get used to it because we’ve got a lot more work to do on this sermon. You know, we’re going to go over it again on the Potter’s House on Sunday. I’m going to use this video and his sermon. Wow, tonight was rough, you know, stuff that…

SUSAN DOHSE: Technology is a curse and a blessing, honey.

PAUL DOHSE: Yeah, stuff that is supposed to work, so I’m probably going to re-record this. But you’re going to get another crack at this Sunday morning.

SUSAN DOHSE: Oh. Well, that’s great because I really enjoyed the way you did the Potter’s House with that article from that lady and breaking down her essay and showing the falsehood and the misleading teachings that she had, bless her little heart, but this is – I encourage other believers. They need to practice doing this among themselves, you know, listen to their pastor and go home and dissect his sermon and see if he’s being scriptural.

PAUL DOHSE: Yeah. There is a lot more. I did the program tonight off the video that I’ve been working on for two or three days, so there’s going to be a lot more, if it’s the proper word, annotations that will be on the video for the Potter’s House. So we’re…


PAUL DOHSE: Yeah, and you’ll be able to see visually. And basically, probably in the morning I’m going to do an initial editing of this kind of [SOUNDS LIKE] disaster tonight, yikes, and then maybe replace it with a better audio that we’ll have from the Potter’s House. It will be on video but, you know, we’ll – it might make a good audio to use for their show.

SUSAN DOHSE: Right. Well, just be patient with yourself, sweetheart. Just be patient. These are new waters we’re swimming in, and, you know, we don’t have all this expensive equipment. We have laptops and – old laptops and, you know, and speakers and we piece things together technically because, you know, we’re not wealthy people, and we don’t have an abundance of cash flow, so to speak, so we use what we have. And if there are technical glitches, the precious people who listen understand. They do.

PAUL DOHSE: We’ll do a redo on this and, you know, it’s – most of the people that listen to this program listen to the archives, so we edit it. But with that, we’re going to get another crack at this Sunday morning, dear, so…


PAUL DOHSE: We’ve got a good warm-up going into it and thanks so much.

SUSAN DOHSE: It will work out, sweetie.

PAUL DOHSE: Yeah. Thanks a bunch for your input, and we’ll end the show for tonight.

SUSAN DOHSE: Thanks, honey.


Followup study on Galatians 2:20. 

One Response

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  1. Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on October 26, 2015 at 5:49 PM

    Reblogged this on Paul's Passing Thoughts.


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