By Jimmy Tuten, Jr.
I have before me what I consider to be an outstanding commentary on the book of Galatians. It is written by C.F. Hogg and W.E. Vine. The clearness and the preciseness with which the authors deal with the text is commendable. However, the influences of religious prejudice express themselves throughout the book. In several instances cleverly concealed expressions of religious background are to be found. In each case the conclusion drawn is a glaring contradiction to the Scriptures.
Note the following example: “The believer, when he ‘heard the word of Truth, the gospel of his salvation,’ Eph. 1:13, there and then acquiesced in the sentence of himself with Christ in His death on the cross” (p. 301, italics mine). On the same page it is stated that “a certain standing before God as having died and risen with Christ” is given “in response to faith in the Lord Jesus”. A careful analysis of these statements show that the authors are setting forth the idea that one is saved at the point of faith without any further acts of obedience, and that at this point one is crucified with Christ. On page 173, the authors make themselves clearer in this respect. They say, “ideally the moment of believing is the moment of baptism, for in the act of being baptized, the believer sets forth in a symbol what has happened when he first trusted in the Christ” (italics mine).
One thing is certain, what actually happened concerning those about whom the authors are writing and what is stated in the commentary is in direct conflict! They were not saved by faith only, or by “trusting” in Christ. Now was their baptism a symbol or sign of what had already taken place. The inspired writer said, concerning the Galatians, “ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:2627). Children of God are made such only when they are baptized. Baptism is a burial in water and is for the remission of sins (Col. 2:12; Acts 8:36; 2:38). Only in baptism does the believer crucify the old man of sin (Rom. 6:3-6)., Since ” as many” of the Galatians as were baptized became the “children of God by faith,” and these were said to have crucified the flesh (Gal. 5:24), it is obvious that crucifying the flesh did not take place at the moment of faith. Nor is faith the moment of baptism. The Lord said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mk. 16:16). If you have been baptized into Christ, then and only then, are you a child of God by faith. If you have been buried with him, then you are risen with him; if you are risen with him, you are seated with Christ and you will be manifested with Him in glory (Col. 3:4; Eph. 2:6; Col. 3:1; Eph. 2:5; Col. 2:12). Man says one is saved by faith only; the Lord says that salvation comes by faith and baptism, as well as faithfulness unto death. Whom will you obey? God, or man?
Truth Magazine XXII: 8, pp. 135-136
February 23, 1978