The Apostle Paul’s epistle to the church at Galatia was specifically an anti-Judaizer polemic. Paul was very concerned as to the pervading heresy of the Judaizers. The Judaizers taught that “faith in Christ” was not enough. Hence, one had to add the Old Testament ordinances, especially circumcision, and the keeping of the ethical and ceremonial laws, to the finished work of Christ:
This kind of teaching, in the apostles’ mind, was not a doctrinal on the rim issue. By teaching that man must co-operate with God’s grace by adding works (any works) to his faith, the Judaizers stripped Jesus’ atonement of its efficacy. So toxic was the works/salvation doctrine of the Judaizers that the apostle wasted no time (from his opening statement) in sharply anathematizing (i.e., pronouncing a divine curse) men and even angels from heaven who might promulgate it:
am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the
grace of Christ, for a different
gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are
disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel
from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary
to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed [anathema]! As we
have said, before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a
gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! (Gal. 1:6-9; emphasis added).
Paul never gets tired impressing to the Galatians: justification is through faith alone; i.e., faith apart from, without, modifications or additions of works:
the a man is not justified by the
works [ex ergōn (lit.
“from works”)] of the Law but through
faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works
of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified
(Gal. 2:16; emphasis added).
You foolish Galatians, who as bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you; did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? . . . Even Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS (Gal. 3:1-3, 6; emphasis added).Paul further declares that it is dia tēs pisteōs (lit. “through the faith”) alone that enables one to be adopted as a son of God.
you are all sons of God through
faith [dia tēs pisteōs] in Christ Jesus. For all of
you who were baptized [i.e., unified,
see above] into Christ have
clothed yourself with [eis] Christ (Gal. 3:26-27; emphasis added).
It becomes increasingly clear as one works through the Pauline corpus that salvation by grace alone through faith alone is clearly the theological starting point for the apostle. Scripture is clear: the righteousness of Christ is the sole ground of justification (man excluded), and the sole means is faith alone apart from works. There is no shortage of passages that that clearly define this divine truth. Since a detailed analysis of each passage is beyond the scope of this work, it is enough to highlight a few where this grand them of justification by faith is presented. For example, in Romans 4:4-8, we read
to the one who works, his wages are not credited as a favor, but as what
is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who
justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, just as
David also speaks of the blessings on the man to whom God credits
righteousness apart from works: “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS
HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED. BLESSED IS THE MAN
WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT” (NASB).
Consider the following:
To be sure, the Apostle Paul saw justification as an essential and fundamental to true biblical Christianity. To deny justification through faith alone (viz. without additions or modifications) was the same as denying the deity of Christ! This is clearly seen in Paul’s letter to the Galatians. As we have seen above, the main purpose of Paul’s letter was to pointedly refute the heresy of the Judaizers (cf. Acts 15:1ff.; Gal. 1:6ff.). To add to God’s work—is to add to Scripture. “Who,” Paul rhetorically asks, “will bring a charge against God’s elect? . . . who is the one who condemns? . .” (Rom. 8:33-34). Therefore, how can anyone undo the work of God? It is God alone, who declares the sinner eternally righteous, and hence justified.
Therefore having been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1).
Paul constantly taught that justification comes not by works, formulas, or laws, but rather, a man is declared rightness before God through faith alone. Paul was theologically precise as to how the sinner is justified before the presence of God. Notice first that the sinner having been justified has peace with God. The participle dikaiōthentes, translated “having been justified,” is the aorist passive of dikaioō. Grammatically, the aorist here tells us that the action of the participle dikaiōthentes (“having been justified”) was a past action (as rendered in most translations). Furthermore, the participle is in the passive voice. This indicates that the action of being justified was not by the sinner in any way (otherwise the verb would be in the active voice), but rather the justification was done to the sinner, in the past, which was solely a divine act of God (cf. Rom. 8:33). Thus, the ones having been justified now “have [echomen] peace [eirēnēn] with God [pros ton theon]” (emphasis added).
It is not the action or work of the sinner, which then results in justification, rather, Paul, simply affirms it is ek pisteōs (“through faith”). This is important to realize, that if Paul thought that “water baptism” or “works” were an aspect or a requirement of justification, he could have easily modified the clause to say, “Therefore since we have been justified by faith, baptism, and works, then let us have peace with God” (as in UPCI soteriology). Hence, “faith alone” is simply faith without additions or modifications. Justification is never deemed as a reward for meritorious works or performance, rather it is said to be a gift, which cannot be earned. Paul was clear and consistent in all of his letters: justification is through faith alone, “apart from” additions or modifications. This is wonderful news. By faith alone the one God regenerated (“made alive”) has been legally declared righteous (justified) in the sight of God, whereby has present active and continuous peace, that is, final and permanent reconciliation and fellowship with God. In his solid exegesis of Romans, Wuest can say of this beautiful passage:
word “therefore” reaches back to the contents of chapter
four—therefore being justified, not by works (1-8), not by ordinances
(9-12), not by obedience (13-25), but by faith, we have peace. The first
three never give peace to the soul. Faith does . . . The context is
didactic. It contains definite statements of fact. It is highly
doctrinal in nature. It has to do with a sinner’s standing before God
in point of law, not his experience. As Denney [James Denney, D. D.]
says; “The justified have peace with God, . . . His wrath (1:18) no
longer threatens them; they are accepted in Christ. It is not a change
in their feelings which is indicated, but a change in God’s relation
Paul announces to the Christians at Ephesus: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8; emphasis added). “If it is by grace,” Paul says, “it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace” (Rom. 11:6). Contrary to a faith + works = salvation soteriology, which groups such as the ICC, UPCI, LDS, JWs, Catholic Church, etc. hold to, Scripture presents that justification is through faith alone without any mention of additions or modifications such as the necessity of water baptism:
How are sins forgiven? Scripture is clear:
us pause and think; why is it that over and over the New Testament
teaches that eternal salvation is explicitly
tied to faith or belief alone with no mention of water baptism
if, in fact, water baptism was essential to one’s salvation?
Paul’s own statement refutes the notion that water baptism was an
indispensable means of salvation:
Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel. . . ." (1
In Scripture, water baptism is defined as an “act” or deed “to fulfill [not to receive] righteousness” (Matt. 3:15). Yet, Paul clearly refutes this idea:
Again, the question to a Mormon or Roman Catholic (or any baptismal regenerationist whose church denies justification by faith alone) is this: “Can one walk in your church and be saved by faith/belief in Christ Jesus alone, without being water baptized in the name of Jesus?” For these groups mention above, the answer is categorically: No. The most important issue that every man must deal with can be summed up in this question: “How is a man justified before God?” Is that not the question of the ages, from the first man to the present? How can man be reconciled to God? How can man be declared not guilty in the sight of a perfect God? I think we would do well to allow Jesus Christ, the authority on the matter, to answer:
Before leaving this verse, it would be wise to breathe in the grammatical significance of the words of Christ. Starting with the first clause: “He who hears [akouōn] My word, and believes [pisteuōn] Him who sent Me. . . .” The participle akouōn (“who hears”) is in the present tense, and the active voice. The participle pisteuōn (“believes”) is a present active participle. Note that both participles verbs are in the present tense, literally: “the one hearing and the one believing.”
Then the phrase: “has eternal life.” The verb echei (“has”) is the singular present active indicative of echō. The indicative mood of the verb indicates a clear presentation of certainty that the event will happen (i.e., “eternal life”). And because echei is in the present tense, it indicates that the one believing (apart from any works) possesses de facto eternal life presently and continuously. For this reason, those (the believing ones) will never come into God’s wrath and judgment (see John 10:28).
We now come to the last clause of the passage: “but has passed out of death into life.” The Greek verb metabebēken (“has passed”) is a perfect tense. The perfect tense indicates a completed action that normally occurred in the past, which has continuous results into the present. Hence, the reason as to why the one believing “does not come into judgment” is because he “has passed out” of perfectly, completely spiritual death. Therefore, the full force of what Jesus was literally saying can be translated:
Christian water baptism is never even a subject of discussion in John’s gospel. The main theme of the apostle was (a) the full deity of Jesus Christ (e.g., 1:1; 18, 8:24, 58; 20:28; etc.) and (b) eternal life/salvation (e.g., 1:12; 3:16; 6:37-40, 47; 10:27-29; etc.). Never once in John’s gospel is salvation connected to Christian water baptism. Salvation is exclusively by faith/belief alone. If water baptism were in fact an indispensable means of salvation as baptismal regenerationists teaches, you would think that John or Jesus would have taught it—at least once. That water baptism, circumcision, ordinances, rituals, ceremonial or ethical old covenant laws, or any works for that matter, adds (or is a part of) to one’s justification places one firmly under the anathema of the apostle: cursed by God. In the end, looking at all the non-Christian cults and world religions we do find doctrinal harmony on at least two points. The first, of course, is that they all reject Jesus Christ as eternal God, that is, they deny the doctrine of the Trinity in some way or other. And second, they all attack and deny the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Hence, they add some kind of creaturely work to their system of salvation.
Yes indeed, it is difficult for mere man to comprehend that through faith alone God freely justifies the sinner. However, we cannot rely on our faulty emotions to test truth. For, in spite of, our limited, finite, conventional wisdom and understanding, the Apostle Paul, who wrote as the Holy Spirit enabled him, declares:
How is a man justified before God whereby his sins are forgiven?
The baptismal regenerationists’ response is clear: repentance, water
baptism (and for the UPCI: baptized in the name of Jesus” with the
evidence of speaking in tongues),
and living by strict biblical obedience, and only to those is salvation achieved. In sharp contrast, Scripture
does tell us clearly how a man is justified before God:
Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who
believes on Him receives forgiveness of sins" (Acts 10:43; emphasis
 In Romans 8:28ff., Paul employs legal terms to underscore the status of the justified: “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect?” (v. 33); “Who is the one who will condemn?” (v. 34); “who [Jesus] also intercedes for us” (v. 34). These terms (“charge,” “condemn,” and “intercedes”) were used in court proceedings in the first century. Hence, Paul’s Roman audience would have understood clearly, as to what he was communicating.
 Jesus also uses the same construction in John 6:37: “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out [ou mē ekbalō; emphasis added].”
 Cf. n. 35 above.
 The term “righteous” and “just” are translated form the same Greek word: dikaios (adj.), dikaiosunē (noun), and the dikaioō (verb). The noun dikaiosunē simply means the “quality or state of judicial correctness with focus on redemptive action, righteousness” (Walter Bauer’s, A Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed., ed. and rev. by Frederick W. Danker [Chicago: University of Chicago, 2000], 247). Commenting on forensic nature of the term in the OT, Protestant apologist James R. White notes:
It should also be noted that the verb dikaioō does not mean, “to make” righteous as if the sinner is subjectively made righteousness (as in Catholicism). On the contrary, it denotes a declarative act of God pronouncing the guilty sinner innocent. As Lutheran scholar Leon Morris rightly explains:
The verb echomen
(“have”) is the present active indicative of echō. However,
there is a textual variant concerning echomen
(omicron [echomen] or omega [echōmen]?).
Note that the majority
rendering is the hortatory subjunctive echōmen (“let
us have peace”). Even though the subjunctive is possible, I do not
see it as contextually probable. Moreover, all the
evidence considered suggests the present indicative as the greater
witness (cf. Bruce
Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Second
Edition, [New York: United Bible Societies, 1994], 169-70; James
R. White, The God who
Bethany House, 2001], 237, n. 8).
exegete Kenneth Wuest explains further:
 The peace is the present possession of all who have been justified. The peace is the blessed result of what true justification is: abiding shalom with God Himself. No more enmity, no more hostility!
Eternal life is never classified in the NT as misthon (“a reward”) to the elect (or misthos [“dept”]; cf. Rom. 4:4), but always as charisma (“a
 Wuest, Romans in the Greek New Testament, 75-76.
 E.g., John 1:12; 3:16; 5:24; 6:47; Acts 10:43; 16:30-31; Romans 4:4-11; 5:1; 10:9-13; Galatians 3:2-3; Ephesians 2:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5-7; and 1 John 5:1, 11-13.
 Note, other than water baptism, “in the name of Jesus,” the UPCI teaches its followers that unless they speak in tongues they do not have the Holy Spirit and hence NO salvation. Their assertion is usually derived solely from the narrative accounts in Acts. It should be noted however that there are only three explicit references of the tongues phenomena in Acts: 2:1-4; 10:44-48; and 19:6. It is a hermeneutical error to take a narrative and force it to become a teaching. This violates the hermeneutical principle of the priority of didactic as defined in this chapter above. In point of fact, we read in the Acts account of many converts who were water baptized or said to have been “filled” with the Spirit and yet no mention of tongues (e.g., 2:37-41; 4:31; 6:3-6; 11:24). In fact, there are at least forty times that the Bible mentioned people as being “filled with,” “baptized in,” “fallen upon by,” “come upon by”, “poured upon by” the Spirit, and only three verses explicitly mention tongues (cf. Beisner, “Jesus Only” Churches, 64).In Ephesians 5:18 the Apostle Paul commands to “be filled with the Spirit” (en pneumati). However, grammatically en (“with”) followed by the dative case pneumati (“Spirit”) does not indicate content, but rather means (cf. Wallace, Beyond the Basics, 162, 372-75). Hence: “be filled by means of the Spirit.” Further, Paul then characterizes the results of being filled: “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks . . . subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” Grammatically, these characteristics above are participles of result. Hence, they indicate the results of being filled by means of the Spirit—wherein tongues are not mentioned. The point is that Scripture knows nothing of the idea that the sole evidence of being filled, baptized, indwelled, empowered, etc. with/by the Holy Spirit is the gift of speaking in tongues. If tongues were the sole evidence, then Paul would not have taught that the gift of tongues is not bestowed on all (cf. 1 Cor. 12:30; note here the negation mē: “all do not [mē] speak in tongues” (emphasis added). The negation mē expects a negative answer: “No.” Hence, this passage is of no comfort for those who insist that Paul there was speaking of a different tongue, not the “gift.” Paul nowhere in his letters makes this distinction. Further, Paul taught that “all” Christians were baptized (by Christ) by means of the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Cor. 12:13; note the double usage of pantes [“all”]).
 Specifically, metabebēken is the perfect active indicative of metabainō.
The perfect tense “indicates a completed action whose effects are
felt in the present. The action normally occurred in the past”
(William D. Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar [Grand
Rapids: Zondervan, 1993], 218-19). It denotes a “present
state resulting from a past action” (Harold J. Greenly, A
Concise Exegetical Grammar of New Testament Greek, 5th
ed. [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986], 50). The import of the perfect
tense can be seen in 1 John 4:2: “By this you know the Spirit of
God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus has
in the flesh is from God.” Thus, verb translated “has come” (elēluthota)
is in the perfect tense; literally: “has come and remains in the flesh.” John’s letters (1 and 2), as with
Paul’s letter to the Colossians, were a pointed refutation against
the Docetic Gnostics (cf. chap. 2, n. 27) who denied that Jesus
became flesh. Hence, John’s main refutation
was made clear: Jesus has come
and even remains
(utilizing the perfect tense, elēluthota) in the
flesh forever more (cf. 2 John 7).
See also John 6:47; 1 John 5:12 where the present active indicative echei
is utilized to indicate the certainty of one’s salvation.