Freedom In Christ Versus Falling From Grace An Exposition Of Galatians 5:1-12 -- By: S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 15:2 (Winter 2006)
Article: Freedom In Christ Versus Falling From Grace An Exposition Of Galatians 5:1-12
Author: S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.

Freedom In Christ Versus Falling From Grace An Exposition Of Galatians 5:1-121

S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.

Lewis Johnson regularly ministered the Word at Believers Chapel in Dallas for more than thirty years. During his academic career he held professorships in New Testament and Systematic Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. At the time of his death in January 2004 he was Professor Emeritus of New Testament Studies at Dallas Seminary. Both MP3 files and printed notes of Dr. Johnson’s sermons and theological lectures may be downloaded from the web site of Believers Chapel «».


“‘Freedom’ is a word on everybody’s lips today,” John Stott has said, adding, “There are many different forms of it, and many different people advocating it and canvassing it. There is the African nationalist who has gained ‘Uhuru’ for his country—freedom from colonial rule. There is the economist who believes in free trade, the lifting of tariffs. There is the capitalist who dislikes central controls because they hinder free enterprise and the communist who claims to set the proletariat free from capitalist exploitation. There are the famous four freedoms first enunciated by President Roosevelt in 1941, when he spoke of ‘freedom of speech everywhere, freedom of worship everywhere, freedom from want everywhere, and freedom from fear everywhere.’”2

But what is biblical freedom? When we speak of biblical freedom, we generally have in mind freedom from the guilt of sin. This freedom comes through the atoning work of our Lord Jesus Christ. “And having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness,” the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 6:18 (cf. v. 22).

In his epistle to the Galatians Paul also speaks of freedom, but in the context of this letter it is freedom from the law of Moses that he has in mind. The apostle says that believers “are no longer under a guardian,” the guardian of the law (cf. 3:24–25, ESV).3 Believers have been redeemed from bondage to the law (cf. 4:4–5). Now Paul does not mean that believers are free from the law of Moses as a way of salvation. The law was never a means of salvation. It was, however, the rule of life for the Israelites, and, since the apostle has said that a change ...

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