Four Kinds of People

LAW Relying Not relying
Obeying 1) Law-obeying, 


4) Law-obeying, 

not law-relying

Disobeying 2) Law disobeying, 


3) Law disobeying, 

not law-relying


Tim Keller, Galatians Study Guide, p. 118:

Law-obeying, Law-relying

These people are under the law, and are usually very smug, self-righteous and pharisaical.

Externally, they are very sure they are right with God, but deep down, they have a lot of insecurity, since no one can truly be assured they are living up to standards.  This makes them touchy, sensitive to criticism, and devastated when their prayers aren’t answered.

Law-disobeying, Law-relying

These people have a religious conscience of strong works-righteousness, but they are not living consistently with it.

As a result, they are more humble and more tolerant of others than the Pharisees above, but they are also much more guilt-ridden, subject to mood swings and sometimes very afraid of religious topics.

(Some of these people may go to church but stay on the periphery because of their low spiritual self-esteem).

Law-disobeying, Not law-relying

These are the people who have thrown off the concept of the law of God.

They are intellectually secular or rather relativistic, or have a very vague spirituality.  They largely choose their own moral standards and insist they are meeting them.  But Paul in Romans 1 says that at a sub-conscious level, they know there is a God who they should be obeying.

(Such people are usually happier and more tolerant than either of the above groups.  But usually there is a strong liberal self-righteousness.  They are definitely earning their own salvation by feeling superior to others.  It is usually a less overt kind of self-righteousness.)

Law-obeying, Not law-relying

These are Christians who understand the gospel and are living out of the freedom of it.

They obey the law of God out of grateful joy that comes from the knowledge of their sonship and out of the freedom from the fear of selfishness that false idols had generated.  They are more tolerant than #3, more sympathetic than #2, and more confident than #1.

(Most real Christians tend toward the errors of #1, #2, and even #3, but to the degree that they do, they are impoverished spiritually.)

(HT: Justin Taylor)

Peter serves as a pastor-teacher, at home and abroad, resourcing gospel-centred communities.

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