In Christ Has Set Us Free, a group of notable pastor-scholars tackle the gospel issues that the apostle Paul presents in the book of Galatians. The book material is based on a series of messages delivered by most of the contributors along with some additional supplementary material to help provide greater context and cohesiveness. The first two chapters provide a framework for interpreting the epistle with a general introduction by Thomas Schreiner and a survey of how Reformers interpreted Galatians by Gerald Bray. The ensuing six chapters exposit the contents of the epistle in sequential order. John Piper begins in Galatians 1 in which Paul explains how his gospel is the one true gospel as given to him by Jesus Himself and that any other gospel is false. Next, Sandy Willson delves into Paul’s arguments in Galatians 2 on the sufficiency of Christ as our only means of salvation and how justification is by faith alone. The next chapter by Peter Adam focuses on Galatians 3 where Paul helps the believers recognize the deeper significance of the Old Testament laws and how it relates to God’s promises of a future new covenant that includes all peoples regardless of race, gender, or any other distinction. In addition, D.A. Carson further expounds how Paul in Galatians 4 urges believers to be free from slavery under sin by becoming slaves of Christ and righteousness. Next, Thabiti Anyabwile develops the topic of Christian freedom as found in Galatians 5 in which Paul warns against returning to the Mosaic law as a means of justification and encourages the believers to lay hold of Christian liberty through the work of the Spirit. For the last chapter of Galatians, Tim Keller examines how Paul urges the Galatians to not boast in themselves but to boast in Christ as the One who redeems and liberates us to enjoy true freedom in Christ. The final chapter of the book is by Sinclair Ferguson who gives a summary of how the epistle helps us navigate between legalism and antinomianism.
I gladly recommend this book to anyone who hopes to grasp the core messages of the book of Galatians. The contributors concentrate on explaining the most essential themes of the epistle without being entangled by scholarly arguments or hypothetical conjectures. The book of Galatians played a central role in shaping the Reformers’ rallying cry for believers to return to the true gospel and the authority of the Scriptures. The temptations to believe in alternate gospels, obey our fleshly desires, and earn our own justification are alive and well to believers today. When we fall into these temptations, we are re-enslaving ourselves when Christ has already set us free. Galatians reminds us that true freedom comes from putting on Christ and living in the power of the Spirit. When we do so, we are living according to the law of love which fulfills the entire law of God as summarized by Jesus in the first and second great commandments to love God and others.
In compliance with Federal Trade Commission regulations, I was provided a review copy of this book from Crossway.