Galatians 5:4
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
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(4) Christ is become of no effect unto you.—Literally, Ye were (or, more idiomatically, are) abolished, made nothing, from Christ; a condensed form of expression for, Ye are made nothing (unchristianised), and cut off from Christ. Your relations to Christ are cancelled, and you are Christians no longer.

Are justified.—Strictly, seek to be justified.

Ye are fallen from grace.—The Christian is justified by an act of grace, or free, unearned favour, on the part of God. He who seeks for justification in any other way loses this grace. Grace is not here a state or disposition in the believer, but a divine act or relation.

5:1-6 Christ will not be the Saviour of any who will not own and rely upon him as their only Saviour. Let us take heed to the warnings and persuasions of the apostle to stedfastness in the doctrine and liberty of the gospel. All true Christians, being taught by the Holy Spirit, wait for eternal life, the reward of righteousness, and the object of their hope, as the gift of God by faith in Christ; and not for the sake of their own works. The Jewish convert might observe the ceremonies or assert his liberty, the Gentile might disregard them or might attend to them, provided he did not depend upon them. No outward privileges or profession will avail to acceptance with God, without sincere faith in our Lord Jesus. True faith is a working grace; it works by love to God, and to our brethren. May we be of the number of those who, through the Spirit, wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. The danger of old was not in things of no consequence in themselves, as many forms and observances now are. But without faith working by love, all else is worthless, and compared with it other things are of small value.Christ is become of no effect unto you - You will derive no advantage from Christ. His work in regard to you is needless and vain. If you can be justified in any other way than by him, then of course you do not need him, and your adoption of the other mode is in fact a renunciation of him. Tyndale renders this: "Ye are gone quite from Christ." The word here used (καταργέω katargeō), means properly, to render inactive, idle, useless; to do away, to put an end to; and here it means that they had withdrawn from Christ, if they attempted to be justified by the Law. They would not need him if they could be thus justified; and they could derive no benefit from him. A man who can be justified by his own obedience, does not need the aid or the merit of another; and if it was true, as they seemed to suppose, that they could be justified by the Law, it followed that the work of Christ was in vain so far as they were concerned.

Whosoever of you are justified by the law - On the supposition that any of you are justified by the Law; or if, as you seem to suppose, any are justified by the Law. The apostle does not say that this had in fact ever occurred; but he merely makes a supposition. If such a thing should or could occur, it would follow that you had fallen from grace.

Ye are fallen from grace - That is, this would amount to apostasy from the religion of the Redeemer, and would be in fact a rejection of the grace of the gospel. That this had ever in fact occurred among true Christians the apostle does not affirm unless he affirmed that people can in fact be justified by the Law, since he makes the falling from grace a consequence of that. But did Paul mean to teach that? Did he mean to affirm that any man in fact had been, or could be justified by his own obedience to the Law? Let his own writings answer; see, especially, Romans 3:20. But unless he held that, then this passage does not prove that anyone who has ever been a true Christian has fallen away. The fair interpretation of the passage does not demand that. Its simple and obvious meaning is, that if a man who has been a professed Christian should be justified by his own conformity to the Law, and adopt that mode of justification, then that would amount to a rejection of the mode of salvation by Christ, and would be a renouncing of the plan of justification by grace. The two systems cannot be united. The adoption of the one is, in fact, a rejection of the other. Christ will be "a whole Saviour," or none. This passage, therefore. cannot be adduced to prove that any true Christian has in fact fallen away from grace, unless it proves also that man may be justified by the deeds of the Law, contrary to the repeated declarations of Paul himself. The word "grace" here, does not mean grace in the sense of personal religion, it means the "system" of salvation by grace, in contradistinction from that by merit or by works - the system of the gospel.

4. Literally, "Ye have become void from Christ," that is, your connection with Christ has become void (Ga 5:2). Ro 7:2, "Loosed from the law," where the same Greek occurs as here.

whosoever of you are justified—"are being justified," that is, are endeavoring to be justified.

by the law—Greek, "IN the law," as the element in which justification is to take place.

fallen from grace—Ye no longer "stand" in grace (Ro 5:2). Grace and legal righteousness cannot co-exist (Ro 4:4, 5; 11:6). Christ, by circumcision (Lu 2:21), undertook to obey all the law, and fulfil all righteousness for us: any, therefore, that now seeks to fulfil the law for himself in any degree for justifying righteousness, severs himself from the grace which flows from Christ's fulfilment of it, and becomes "a debtor to do the whole law" (Ga 5:3). The decree of the Jerusalem council had said nothing so strong as this; it had merely decided that Gentile Christians were not bound to legal observances. But the Galatians, while not pretending to be so bound, imagined there was an efficacy in them to merit a higher degree of perfection (Ga 3:3). This accounts for Paul not referring to the decree at all. He took much higher ground. See Paley's Horæ Paulinæ. The natural mind loves outward fetters, and is apt to forge them for itself, to stand in lieu of holiness of heart.

The word here translated become of no effect, is used Romans 3:3. By those who

are justified by the law, are to be understood such as seek or desire to be justified by the law, for actually none is so justified. The sense is: Whoever seeketh to be justified by the works of the law, he disclaimeth the righteousness of Christ; to him Christ’s death signifieth nothing, nor is of any virtue at all. For he had told us before, Galatians 2:21: If righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain: and Romans 8:3,4: What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, & c. The very end of Christ’s coming and dying was to supply us with a righteousness, which (apprehended by faith) should be reckoned to us as ours, wherein we might stand before God. Which end of Christ’s death had been frustrated, if, through our flesh, there had not been such a weakness or impotency in the law as to justification. So as if any still looked for justification by performance of the law, as such made the death of Christ in vain, because if such a thing could have been done that way there had been no need of Christ’s dying; so they also made it, which was not in vain in itself, yet in vain and of no effect to their souls, because Christ would not be a partial cause in the justification of a soul.

Ye are fallen from grace; and they, by this, renounced the grace of God exhibited in the gospel, and fell from the grace of it. For by grace here is not to be understood a state of grace, (from which none can fall totally and finally), but the grace of the gospel; by which is signified the free love of God in it exhibited, offering Christ to sinners for righteousness.

Christ is become of no effect unto you,.... Or "ye are abolished from Christ"; or as others by an "hypallage" read the words, "Christ is abolished unto you"; for by their seeking for justification by their own works, it was all one to them as if there was no Christ, and no righteousness in him, and no salvation by him; they had nothing to do with him, nor he with them:

whosoever of you are justified by the law; that is, who sought to be justified by their obedience to the law, or who thought they were, and trusted in themselves that they were righteous; for otherwise, by the deeds of the law, no flesh living can be justified:

ye are fallen from grace; that is, either from that grace which they professed to have; for there might be some in these churches, as in others, who were only nominal Christians, and formal professors; who had declared they saw themselves lost and undone sinners, destitute of a righteousness, and professed to believe in Christ alone for righteousness and strength, but now trusted in themselves, and in the works of the law: or from the scheme of grace in the whole of man's salvation, which will admit of no mixture of works; either it is one or the other, it cannot be both; wherefore by their taking on the side of works, they showed that they had entirely dropped the scheme of grace: or else from the Gospel of the grace of God, from whence they were removed, through the influence of false teachers; particularly the doctrine of free justification by the grace of God, through the righteousness of Christ; which was entirely set aside by their seeking to be instilled by the works of the law; and from this they might be said to be fallen, who were on such a bottom.

Christ is {b} become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are {c} justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

(b) That is, as he himself expounds it afterward, ye are fallen from grace.

(c) That is, seek to be justified by the Law, for indeed no man is justified by the Law.

Galatians 5:4. But whosoever is justified through the law—a way of justification which necessarily follows from the already mentioned obligation—is separated from Christ, etc. A complete explanation is thus given as to the Χριστὸς ὑμᾶς οὐδὲν ὠφελήσει. Asyndetic (without δέ), and reverting to the second person, the language of Paul is the more emphatic and vivid.

κατηργήθητε] In the first clause the stress is laid upon the dread separation which has befallen them, in the second on the benefit thereby lost,—a striking alternation of emphasis. The pregnant expression, καταργεῖσθαι ἀπό τινος (comp. Romans 9:3; 2 Corinthians 11:3; see generally, Fritzsche ad Rom. II. p. 250), is to be resolved into καταργεῖσθαι καὶ χωρίζεσθαι ἀπό τινος, that is, to come to nothing in regard to the relation hitherto subsisting with any one, so that we are parted from him. Just the same in Romans 7:2; Romans 7:6. Hence the sense is: your connection with Christ is annulled, cancelled; ἀπεκόπητε, Oecumenius. Justification by the law and justification for Christ’s sake are in truth opposita (works—faith), so that the one excludes the other.

οἵτινες ἐν νόμῳ δικαιοῦσθε] ye who are being justified through the law. The directly assertive and present δικαιοῦσθε is said from the mental standpoint of the subjects concerned, in whose view of the matter the way of salvation is this: “through the law, with which our conduct agrees (comp. Galatians 3:11), we become just before God.” Hence the concrete statement is not to be weakened either by taking δικαιοῦσθαι in the sense of ζητεῖν δικαιοῦσθαι, Galatians 2:17 (Rückert, Baumgarten-Crusius, and earlier expositors), or by attributing a hypothetical sense to οἵτινες (Hofmann, who erroneously compares Thuc. v. 16. 1). Whomsoever Paul hits with his οἵτινες κ.τ.λ., he also means.

τῆς χάριτος ἐξεπέσατε] that is, ye have forfeited the relation of being objects of divine grace. The opposite: ὑπὸ χάριν εἶναι (Romans 6:14), to which divine grace faith has led (Romans 5:2). On the figurative ἐκπίπτειν, comp. 2 Peter 3:17; Plut. Gracch. 21: ἐκπεσεῖν καὶ στερεσθαι τῆς πρὸς τὸν δῆμον εὐνοίας, Polyb. xii. 14. 7; Lucian, Cont. 14; Sir 31:4. Whoever becomes righteous by obedience to the law, becomes se no longer by the grace of God (δωρεάν, Romans 3:24), but by works according to desert (Romans 4:11; Romans 4:16; Romans 11:6); so that thus his relation of grace towards God (which is capable of being lost) has ceased.

Galatians 5:4. κατηργήθητε. This verb is applied with comprehensive force to any destruction of growth and life, physical or spiritual, beneficial or deleterious. Joined with ἀπό it denotes the loss of some essential element of life by the severance of previous intimate relations, e.g., annulment by death of a wife’s obligations to her husband (Romans 7:2), and emancipation from the control of the Law by spiritual death (Romans 7:6). Here, in like manner, it denotes the paralysis of spiritual life by severance of union with Christ. This paralysis produces a deadening effect on the whole spiritual nature, and results in the continuous craving for legal justification which is expressed by δικαιοῦσθε.—ἐξεπέσατε. As the quasi-passive verb ἐκπίπτειν corresponds to the active verb ἐκβάλλειν, this aorist corresponds to ἔκβαλε in Galatians 4:30; so that the combination of κατηργήθητε with ἐξεπέσατε contains a special allusion to the doom of Ishmael, who suffered the loss of his inheritance at the same time that he was cast out from his father’s house. Disloyal children of God, who prefer bondage to filial freedom, have by their own act forfeited the birthright of sons, and been cast out from His favour and blessing.

4. The same great and solemn truth is repeated in different terms. “Christ shall profit you nothing” = “a debtor to do the whole law” (and therefore under a curse in consequence of failure) = “Christ is of no effect unto you” = “ye are fallen from grace”. Similarly, “if ye become circumcised” = “every man that submits to circumcision” = “justified by the law”.

Christ is become of no effect] Lit. ‘ye were cut off from Christ’, brought to nought as regards any benefit accruing to you from Him.

are justified by the law] i.e. seek to be justified by the law.

ye are fallen] Probably, ‘ye are cast forth’ (like Hagar and her son), banished from grace. The Apostle is not here stating anything as to the possibility of recovery after such a relapse. His object is to make it quite clear that if righteousness (or justification) is sought in the law (i.e. by works) it involves the forfeiture of grace, and the forfeiture of grace is ruin.

Galatians 5:4. Κατηργήθητε ἀπὸ τοῦ Χριστοῦ [Engl. Vers. Christ is become of no effect]) Your connection with Christ is made void: so the Vulgate.[45] One might be inclined to say in German, ohne werden, “to become without.” Comp. Galatians 5:2; Romans 7:2; Romans 7:6.—δικαιοῦσθε, are justified) Seek righteousness. In the middle voice.—τῆς χάριτος ἐξεπέσατε, ye have fallen from grace) Comp. Galatians 5:3. You have fallen from the New Testament, in all the wide comprehension of that expression. It is we that are and stand in grace, rather than grace is in us; comp. Romans 5:2.

[45] “Evacuati estis a Christo.” Wahl renders it, “divelli et prorsus dimoveri a Christo,” to be torn off and utterly parted asunder from Christ. Comp. κατήργηται ἀπὸ τοῦ νόμου, Romans 7:2.—ED.

Verse 4. - Christ is become of no effect unto you (κατηργήθητε ἀπὸ τοῦ Ξριστοῦ); or, ye have disconnected yourselves from Christ. The verb καταργεῖν is a favourite word with St. Paul, occurring twenty-seven times in his Epistles, including twice in the Hebrews, whilst in the rest of the New Testament it occurs only once, and that in the Pauline St. Luke (Luke 13:7). Its proper meaning is "to make inoperative," "make of no effect," as above (Galatians 3:17). The phrase, καταργεῖσθαι ἀπό, etc., occurs Romans 7:2, "If the husband die (κατήργηται ἀπό), she is discharged from the law of the husband;" it ceases to have any effect upon her; so ibid., ver. 6, "Now we have been discharged from the Law (κατηργήθημεν ἀπὸ τοῦ νόμον);" it has ceased to have any operation towards us. The phrase combines the two ideas - separation suggested by the ἀπό (comp. Romans 9:3), and the cessation of a work (ἔργον) or an effect till then wrought by one upon the other of the two parties: the two parties have nothing more to do with each other. The sense given in the Authorized Version is perfectly justifiable; only, perhaps, here the passive takes, as it sometimes does, the reflective sense of the middle verb; but it may be that the apostle means simply to express the result which has accrued. The aorist tense of κατηργήθητε, as well as of the ἐξεπέσατε, expresses the certainty and promptness with which the result followed upon the (supposed) act. Whosoever of you are justified by the Law (oi%tine e)n no/mw"" δικαιοῦσθε); such of you as go about to be justified by the Law. "By the Law;" literally, in the Law; seek to find in the Law the means of justification (cf. Galatians 3:11, and note). The present tense is the present of design or endeavour; the result in this case being, in fact, unattainable (Galatians 3:10, 21). Ye are fallen from grace (τῆς χάριτος ἐξεπέσατε); ye have fallen from the state of grace. "Grace" denotes the condition of acceptance with God into which faith in Christ brings us. Cf. Romans 5:2: "Through whom we have had our access by faith into this grace wherein we stand." The verb ἐκπίπτω is used as in 2 Peter 3:17, "Lest - ye fall from (ἐκτέσητε) your own steadfastness." So πίπτω, Revelation 2:5, "Remember whence thou hast fallen [πέπτωκας: Receptus, ἐκπέπτωκας]." In classical Greek the verb was frequently used as a set term to describe those who, in the alternating success of adverse factions in the several independent cities of Greece, were compelled by a more powerful adverse party to submit to exile; its correlative verb being ἐκβάλλω. This fact leads Bishop Lightfoot, having an eye to the ἔκβαλε of Galatians 4:30, to render ἐξεπέσατε here, "are driven forth and banished with Hagar your mother." But this very idiomatic colour of meaning it seems very precarious to give to the word in the Greek of St. Paul. The more general signification of the term is amply sustained by its use in Plutarch as cited by Wetstein. Galatians 5:4Christ is become of no effect unto you (κατηργήθητε ἀπὸ Χριστοῦ)

Incorrect. Lit. ye were brought to nought from Christ. Comp. Romans 7:2, Romans 7:6. Your union with Christ is dissolved. The statement is compressed and requires to be filled out. "Ye were brought to nought and so separated from Christ." For similar instances see Romans 9:3; Romans 11:3. The ἀπὸ from properly belongs to the supplied verb of separation. For the verb καταργεῖν see on Romans 3:3.

Ye are fallen from grace (τῆς χἁριτος ἐξεπέσατε)

For a similar phrase see 2 Peter 3:17. Having put yourselves under the economy of salvation by law, you have fallen out of the economy of salvation by the grace of Christ. Paul's declarations are aimed at the Judaisers, who taught that the Christian economy was to be joined with the legal. His point is that the two are mutually exclusive. Comp. Romans 4:4, Romans 4:5, Romans 4:14, Romans 4:16. The verb ἐκπίπτειν to fall out, in the literal sense, Acts 12:7; James 1:11. In Class. of seamen thrown ashore, banishment, deprivation of an office, degeneration, of actors being hissed off the stage.

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