These “interlopers” Paul roundly condemns as “sham-Christians,” that is, persons who called themselves and were probably regarded by others as Christians but whose conduct in fact falsified their claim to be Christian….It thus emerges that the interlopers were sham-Christians precisely because they had not really grasped the fundamental principle of the gospel—justification by faith apart from works of the law. (The Epistle to the Galatians in the NICNT, pp. 93-94).

A few blog entries ago I noted the fact that when you gut the term “Christian” of all soteriological content, you are left with a term that means nothing more than “a person who was baptized.” It seems that some want it to work just that way: that way you can build a “Christian society” based upon an act generally administered to infants and all the messy stuff about truth (the messy stuff the Apostles had to deal with) can be skipped over and made secondary. But at what cost? What do we get for this “objectivity” that renders the truth, the gospel, and faith itself, secondary? What is the value in a unity based upon a disemboweled word that simply says “this person went through a religious rite that was performed according to specs”? What motivates folks to want to make the word “Christian” something that must, by nature, be utterly disconnected from the gospel itself?

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