Christians Who Lose Their Legacy: Galatians 5:21 -- By: Robert N. Wilkin

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 04:2 (Autumn 1991)
Article: Christians Who Lose Their Legacy: Galatians 5:21
Author: Robert N. Wilkin


Christians Who Lose Their Legacy:
Galatians 5:21

Robert N. Wilkin

Executive Director
Grace Evangelical Society
Roanoke, Texas

I. Introduction

On three occasions (1 Cor 6:9–11, Gal 5:19–21, and Eph 5:5–7) the Apostle Paul listed various vices and then said that people who live like that “will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Galatians 5:19–21 has been selected as the representative text for this study. It reads:

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissentions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

For the Arminian exegete these verses create no difficulty. Paul is viewed as threatening his believing readers with loss of salvation if they fail to persevere in a godly lifestyle.

For the exegete who believes in eternal security, however, these verses seem to present a problem. If loss of salvation is not being threatened, what is?

Four options have been proposed: the Reformed Perseverance View, the Worthy Walk View, the Present Rewards View, and the Future Rewards View.

We will begin with a brief presentation of these four views.

II. Four Views Which Uphold Eternal Security

The following views all eliminate the apparent problem in Gal 5:21.

A. The Reformed Perseverance View

Most Reformed exegetes argue that Paul’s warning concerned false

professors, not genuine believers.1 They suggest that Paul was warning believers, including both true and false professors, that if they live characteristically sinful lives they will prove to be false professors and hence will not enter God’s kingdom.

According to this view true believers will certainly persevere in the faith. God guarantees this. Since those who fail to persevere never had genuine faith and thus were never saved in the first place, they obviously cannot be said to have lost their salvation.

B. The Worthy Walk View

I firs...

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