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Title: Galatians- Volume 13 (Gal.

1:1-5)
Subject: Uniqueness of the first part of Galatians
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1237
Time: 9:21

Galatians 1 English Standard Version (ESV)


Greeting
1 Paul, an apostle not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the
Father, who raised him from the dead 2 and all the brothers who are with me,
To the churches of Galatia:
3

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for
our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to
whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Q: I've read that the opening of Paul's letter to the Galatians is different from every other epistle.
In what ways is this true? And what would you say is unique about the first part of the
Galatians?
A: DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:

1:1 Most of Pauls letters begin with a long introduction in which he speaks affectionately
towards the recipients of the letter. Paul has deep affection towards the Galatians, but there is a
big problem in Galatia, which causes him to begin differently. He begins by stating that he is an
apostle. In reading in between the lines we will see that his apostleship is being questioned.
[Apostle means one who is sent out. Who is it that is sending him out to preach the Good News?]
Next he states that his apostleship is from God and not from men. His apostleship is not from his
home church in Antioch and it is not from Peter or any of the apostles. It is through Jesus Christ
and God the Father, the One who raised Jesus from the dead. In no other letter does he establish
this fact first thing as he does here.
1:2a It is not only Paul who greets them, but also all the brothers who are with Paul. Not only are
the brothers sending their greetings, but they also claim that Paul is an apostle appointed by God.
1:2b The letter is addressed to the churches of Galatia. Note that churches is plural. The letter
will go to many churches. And the letter will be read during church. It will be the sermon for the
Divine Service. This too makes this letter unique. Through this letter Paul will repreach the
Gospel to the Galatians. And this letter would have been brought to them by one of Pauls
faithful followers; someone he could trust.
1:3 Paul greets them with liturgical language: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and
the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul always opens his letters with grace and peace.

1:4a In no other epistle does he say that Jesus Christ is the one who has given himself up on
behalf of our sins. This is a profound statement of the atonement. Jesus gave himself for our
sins. Thats why Jesus says in the Lords Supper that his body and blood were given and shed
for you for the forgiveness of sins.
1:4b Why did he give himself on behalf of our sins? He did it to deliver us from the present evil
age. This is a unique statement in Galatians. He is snatching us out of, rescuing us, from the
present evil age.
1:4c Why does he deliver us? Because it is our God and Fathers will. It is the Fathers will that
the Son give himself and snatch us and rescue us from the present evil age of sin.
1:5a Paul began by saying: Grace and peace. What does Paul mean by them? Of course grace
means gift, but think of it also as a space. This letter is to read as a sermon to the people of
God gathered around the Word and Sacraments. Christ is present in this grace space giving out
his gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation.
Christ is there and the gifts he gives to them convey his peace. Peace is what Christ first gave out
after his resurrection as he appeared to his disciples. Peace means wholeness, health, and
wellness, a right relationship between God and men. A central theme of Christian worship from
the time of the apostles has been peace. The peace that exists between God and man comes from
the Lord Jesus Christ.
That is why he ends his opening with a doxological statement: to whom be the glory forever
and ever. The Father deserves glory because it was his will to send the Son to bring grace and
peace and to make it possible. Jesus deserves glory because through his atoning work grace and
peace became possible and in the Divine Service Jesus comes bestowing his gifts in grace and
through which we have peace.
1:5b Paul ends the greeting and doxology with Amen. Most Lutheran pastors begin their
sermons with a similar greeting today. We can just picture the congregation responding with their
own Amen. The people are probably excited to hear about the grace and peace that results
from the death, resurrection, and atonement of Jesus which is going to be proclaimed through
this sermon. At the very end of the epistle there is another Amen. Whether or not there would be
the same enthusiasm in the saying of that Amen, we will see through six chapters of Galatians.
Title: Galatians- Volume 14 (Gal. 1:6-10)
Subject: Why Paul Wrote the letter to the Galatians
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1238
Time: 11:16

Galatians 1 English Standard Version (ESV)


No Other Gospel
6

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and
are turning to a different gospel 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble
you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should
preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have
said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you
received, let him be accursed.
10
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were
still trying to please man, I would not be a servant[b] of Christ.
Q: Please let me ask one more question: What prompted Paul's letter to the
Galatians? And who are these people we call the Galatians, the ones he is
addressing with this homily? And finally, who are the people who appear to be
upsetting Paul so much?
A: DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:
After Paul's initial greeting to the Galatians, we get a glimpse into the context in
which this letter is sent. There is a drama going on here in Galatia. So we need to
know who the participants are in this drama. Paul is obviously a main character. He
is the apostle who during his first missionary journey shared the Gospel with the
congregations in Galatia. The recipients of this letter are the Galatians. We know the
following things about the Galatians:
From all indications in the letter itself it appears as if the Galatians are
essentially Gentiles, who converted from paganism into the Christian church.
This was the area where the Celtic people came from, that is, the Irish.
The Galatians were the mercenaries of the Roman Empire. If you needed
soldiers to fight tough battles for you, you went to Galatia. These were the
tough guys. Paul uses a lot of military metaphors and illustrations, which
indicate that he is addressing a people who are deeply immersed in the life of
a soldier.
These Galatians embraced Paul.
And as you listen to this letter, you must listen to it knowing that Paul is
addressing people who really don't have any of the issues that Jews would
have concerning the law. When Paul came into the situation, here were
people who were open and ready to receive this Gospel without any kind of
preconceptions about what the Gospel meant in the Old Testament or how
the law was to be understood.

Another major group involved in the drama was a group we often call the Judaizers.

There were opponents of Paul who believed the Gospel needed to add the law
in order to be the full Gospel.
They had come into the congregation after Paul had been here. And they had
told these Gentile Galatian Christians that in order to be a full Christian, they
must be circumcised. They must follow the law in terms of food laws and the
calendar.
They actually got these people to think about doing those things in order to
be full-fledged Christians.

Because of what the Judaizers were doing, right away, Paul chastises the Galatians. And I
think you can hear the passion in Paul's voice in these verses.

1:6-7 Paul is shocked that these Galatians, these people who he had this wonderful
experience with, this pastor and people, that somehow they are being turned from
Paul's preaching to the preaching of these men. Paul believes that the Judaizers
were perverting the Gospel into something that is not the Gospel at all.
Pauls opponents are powerful preachers. These are formidable opponents for Paul.
And when they come into Galatia, they are capable of making grown men submit to
circumcision. Think about that. You have to have a powerful preaching, a powerful
rhetoric in order to get grown men to submit under the knife to be circumcised. So
these men are not insignificant speakers. And they have a powerful persuasion.
And Paul recognizes that when he writes this letter. But even though they are
powerful, Paul is not afraid to call them out for their false teachings.

1:8 Notice that if anyone preaches a Gospel contrary to what we preached to you
he should be placed under a curse from God. No matter who does it. Even if it is an
angel from heaven. If anyone preaches a Gospel contrary to what Paul preached he
should be accursed.
Now, that reference to angel is important. A tradition came out of the
intertestamental period that the law was delivered to Moses on Mt. Sinai by an
angel. Paul will actually affirm this tradition and will refer to it again later in
Galatians. An angel is a messenger from God. So Paul uses strong language here.
He says: even if a messenger from God (angel) brings you a different gospel (in
this case the Gospel plus the Law), he should be cursed by God. Pauls opponents
have apparently been saying that this new Gospel that they are preaching came
from God like the Law did.

1:9 To be extra clear, Paul repeats the threat against anyone who preaches a
different Gospel. He has been sent out by God and Jesus to preach the Good News.
Anyone who preaches something different is deceiving people and leading them
astray and should be accursed.

Lets

look at the characters caught up in this controvery:


There is Paul who has been there preaching the pure Gospel.
There is a messenger who Paul sent to deliver the letter to the Galatians.
There are the Galatians who are probably Gentiles, sincere believers who are
being turned away from Paul by these opponents.
There are faithful catechists, we'll hear of them in Chapter 6, who were left
behind by Paul preaching the Gospel who were being persecuted by these
opponents.
There are the opponents to Paul and the Gospel.

But who are these opponents? Well, we've already talked about them a little bit.
Here are some things that are probably true about them:
These are men probably from Jerusalem.
They are saying they are from James. But they are not. (Trying to make it
look like they are official representatives of the Bishop of Jerusalem.)
Sometimes they are called Judaizers. But these are those Pharisaical Jews
who are insisting on the law: circumcision, keeping the Sabbath, keeping the
food laws, keeping the OT religious calendar. Basically they are saying to be
a Jew first before being a Christian.
These are probably classmates of Paul who went to the school of Gamaliel
with him. They know each other. They know how they argue Scripture
together. They are deeply conservative men.
They are men who are insisting that the Gospel have something added to it to
be the full Gospel. And for Paul, if you add something to the Gospel, it is no
longer Gospel. It's either the pure Gospel by grace through faith or it's not
the Gospel at all.
The message of Pauls opponents to the Galatians was probably something like this:
We have the utmost respect for Paul. He was in our classes. He got the best
grades. But he didn't tell you the whole truth. And now we're here to tell you the
truth. That the true Gospel is the Gospel plus the law.
Note that the message that they preached, Gospel plus works, is the same problem
we have today. In Christianity today, the biggest problem in our churches is the
problem of those who think that they can earn their salvation by being good, by
being pious, by doing works of the law. By cooperating with God. By surrendering
themselves to Jesus. By giving themselves over to him. By discovering the
goodness in themselves. They think they can reach out to God while God reaches
out to them. That's not the Gospel Paul preaches. And Paul says that such a Gospel
is to be accursed.
1:10 Notice how Paul ends the first ten verses, which is the first section of Galatians.
He asks a question and we know the answer. He is obviously seeking Gods

approval. Paul goes back to the same subject he started the letter with. Paul is
saying that the Gospel, his apostleship, his service in the church, all comes from
God and God alone. This is a direct contrast to his opponents. In the first ten verses
of Galatians, Paul is putting the main issues on the table: His apostleship and the
Gospel of Jesus Christ. And in the next section we're going to see what that Gospel
entails.
Title: Galatians- Volume 15 Relationship to Romans and the Gospel
Subject: In Galatians, does Paul say that he is not ashamed of the Gospel, as he does in
Romans?
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1239
Time: 4:18

Q: In the book of Romans Paul states that he is unashamed of the Gospel.


Paul make a similar statement in his letter to the Galatians?

Does

A: DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:


Since you brought up Romans, lets take a quick look at the relationship between
Galatians and Romans. They are very similar. Most people believe that Galatians
was written first. And it is in Galatians that Paul first uses the language of
justification by grace through faith. In many ways Galatians is explained in more
detail in a systematic kind of theological doctrinal way by Romans. In Romans Paul
says that he is not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. In Galatians he does the same
thing but in a different way. Paul has preached and taught the Galatians the Gospel
of Jesus Christ. Now in this letter, which will be read to the congregation as a
sermon, Paul is reproaching the Gospel to the Galatian congregations.
The occasion for the letter is the Gospel. That's the theme of this letter. He is going
to address: What is the Gospel? Is the Gospel alone by grace through faith enough?
Or do you have to add something to it? Paul is not ashamed of the pure Gospel.
And later on when he writes the letter to the Romans, which as we're going to see is
much later, he still has the same passion for the Gospel and the Gospel alone that
he had here in the Galatian letter homily.
Were going to see how he talks about the Gospel in various ways. And if this is in
fact his first letter, he is setting forth for the first time what he understands the
Gospel to be. Paul is going to use a number of different ways of speaking about the
Gospel in this letter.
One of course is justification.
Another is new creation.
He's going to talk about adoption of sons.
We're going to look at all of these as we go through.

But the fundamental point for Paul is that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah who has
come to Jerusalem to give up his life for the world. What is underlying the Galatian
letter, homily, is the life of Jesus, the narrative of Jesus' life, which is given in the
gospels (Most likely at this time only Matthew was written. Later Mark, Luke and
John will write about Jesus life also.) Paul builds his theology upon the foundation of
Jesus Christ and his teachings in the gospels. That that is at the heart of the Gospel
for Paul. And that is the Gospel that he is not ashamed to preach, not only to the
Galatians, but to the Corinthians, to the Ephesians, to the Romans, to anybody
who'll listen.
Title: Galatians- Volume 16 (Gal. 1:11-17)
Subject: How does Paul's conversion relate to his understanding of his apostleship? What about
his time in Arabia?
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1240
Time: 12:21

Galatians 1 English Standard Version (ESV)


Paul Called by God
11

For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's
gospel.[c] 12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a
revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted
the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond
many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my
fathers. 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born,[d] and who called me by his
grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to[e] me, in order that I might preach him among the
Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone;[f] 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those
who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
Q: In the next verses, Paul describes his conversion or rather God's revelation of
Christ. How does this relate to his understanding of his apostleship? And how much
time did Paul spend in Arabia? What do you think he was doing during this time?
A: DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:
These are all excellent questions that get us into the second part of the first chapter
of Paul's letter to the Galatians.
1:11 Starting in Verse 11, the main proposition for this epistle is stated by Paul. And
here you can see, this is his statement about the Gospel. Notice that when Paul
speaks to the Galatians he refers to them as brothers. This is a term of
endearment. He says to them: For I want you to know, brethren, the Gospel -and I'm going to translate this literally the Gospel that was gospeled by me, that
it is not according to men -- or a man.

Now I find it fascinating that he says: I want you to know brethren. He wants
them to know, but yet they already know this. Paul has already taught this to them.
What they are hearing here in this letter are things that he has said before. He has
catechized their families, which included women, slaves, children, the whole group.
When he says brethren he means all the saints, men and women, children, all.
Slave and free. He knows that they know that the Gospel that has been gospeled
by him to them is not according to a man. He has said in the very first verse of the
epistle that his apostleship is not according to a man but comes from God. Now
he's saying the Gospel that has been gospeled by me is not from men but from God.
Now think about this statement that the gospel that has been gospeled by me or
as the ESV puts it, The gospel that was preached by me. This is an important
statement. The Gospel is something that happens. The Gospel happens in that
space of grace, where Christians gather together around the Word of God and the
Gospel is preached. Luther said it very clearly. What is the church? The church is
where those who gather around the voice of the Good Shepherd and clearly hear his
voice and are his sheep. That is exactly what Paul is essentially saying here. The
Gospel is something that happens. It is a preached event.
1:12 Now, this Gospel that he preached is something that Paul says that he did not
receive from a man. In other words, perhaps his opponents are saying: Hey, listen,
Paul is going to tell you that he didn't get it from anybody. But he went to
Jerusalem. He talked to Peter. He talked to Barnabas. He was in the church of
Antioch. But Paul makes it very clear in Verse 12: For neither did I receive it -notice the receiving, the reception. This is like the receiving of a tradition -- I did not
receive it according to a man nor was I taught it by a man. But I received it -- and
this is important language. And in the Greek it's literally by the Apocalyptic
revelation of Jesus Christ. Most of our translations simply say I think revelation.
Yes, through a revelation of Jesus Christ. But the word there is Apocalyptic.
Remember, I talked about Apocalyptic before. This is an in breaking. This is when
God is stepping on the scene doing something completely out of the ordinary.
The incarnation, Jesus becoming one of us is an apocalyptic event.
And so also was the revelation of Paul by Jesus on the road to Damascus.
That was an apocalyptic event. That's where he got his Gospel. Thats when
Paul saw that Jesus Christ was the Messiah. And that what he did on the
cross was in fact the atonement of the world's sins and that in fact he had
risen from the grave three days later.
1:13 Now, Paul needs to substantiate this. And this is where we see the language
here about his call. Paul's call is very important in the epistle to the Galatians
because he puts it in the context of the call of such prophets like Isaiah and
Jeremiah. Now, look at what he does: He tells the story of his life. He talks a little
bit about his life in Judaism. And he is reminding them of things that they already

know. Look what he says in Verse 13: For you have heard of my former life in
Judaism. Now, that's a unique word. Former life. Judaism. That's a unique word
to Paul. This is the religion of Judaism. This is Paul before the cross. This is Paul
living under the law. And notice what he says: How I persecuted the church
violently. That's the church. Here he speaks of himself as we said before, as a
persecutor of the church. And he says he was seeking, trying, over and over and
over again. This volitional intention is what the language of the Greek intends here.
He was trying over and over and over again to destroy it. Paul wanted the church
destroyed. Now, that is what he's talking about in terms of that pre-Damascus road,
pre-cross Paul that comes out of the womb of Judaism and then when the cross
happens and the resurrection becomes the primary persecutor of the church.
1:14 And he says in Verse 14 -- and I think he's not only talking here about himself
formally but he's talking about his opponents now who are in Galatia. He says:
And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people.
So extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. Now, there I think Paul
is talking about how he was No. 1 in his class. There is nobody who was more
zealous for the law. And that's what traditions of the fathers means. The law.
There was nobody more zealous than Paul. And that same zealousness that created
the persecution of [Christian] Jews by other [Christian] Jews is what he's seeing in
these opponents who have come to Galatia and who are insisting upon the law. See,
Paul understands that. He used to be like them. When he sees them, he sees
himself formerly. And I think it's important to recognize that in verses 13 and 14 he
is talking about himself before the Damascus road experience.
1:15 Then in 15 -- and this is a remarkable statement. He says: When it pleased
Almighty God, when it pleased God, the one who separated me out of the womb of
my mother and called me through his grace. Now, that sounds like Isaiah and
Jeremiah's call, the prophetic call that is a clear indication that Paul puts himself -and this is in a sense almost an extraordinary thing to say. But he puts himself
because of the call of Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus, he puts himself in the
same category as Isaiah and Jeremiah. Now, that takes a lot of -- I don't want to say
pride. But it just takes a lot of confidence in what God is calling you to do to place
oneself in that situation.
1:16a And he uses the same language now of the Gospel being Apocalyptically
revealed. To apocalyptically reveal his son in me. In me, Paul. Not just to me. But
in me. Because Christ now dwells in Paul and Paul dwells in Christ. And he
understands that. And that was kind of like almost a violent act from afar. Now,
this is an important point of view in Paul. And I want to spend a moment here
talking about this apocalyptic invasion.
I think it's a way of reading Paul that has been neglected by a lot of scholars today.
And that is that Paul basically has two questions that he's asking the Galatians. The
questions he's asking them are these:

1. What time is it? What world do we live in? And what time is it in that world?
2. And then: What is this world like? What is the world that we actually live in?
Now, I think Paul would say we are living in an Apocalyptic time. Namely, we are
living in the end times. We are living in the present evil age. But that age has been
broken into by the eternal one. And I think Paul sees the incarnation, the coming of
Jesus into the world into the flesh, as an invasion from afar. An alien who has
broken into our world and who is now living in it and changing it by his presence.
Paul also sees the Damascus road experience as an Apocalyptic invasion. And I
think when he sees that, he sees it in the same way as the incarnation, that God is
invasively revealing himself in an Apocalyptic way to Paul just as Jesus revealed
himself in an Apocalyptic way when he came into the world to be our Savior.
1:16b Now, why does he do that? In order that he might preach him. Notice it's not
the Good News. It's him. Jesus. Because Jesus is the Good News. That he might
preach Jesus, his son, the Son of God, to the Gentiles. That's why Paul is called by
God. That is why Jesus Apocalyptically reveals himself to Paul so Paul might be a
preacher of Jesus to the Gentiles.
1:16c-17 Now as soon as that happened, Paul contrary to what his opponents are
probably telling the Galatians, Paul says -- and he goes through this very quickly.
Here is the beginning of his travel log in the second part of Verse 16. He says: I
did not immediately consult with anyone. I didn't go running to Peter or to James
or to anyone like that. He said: Nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who are
apostles before me. But I went away into Arabia. And I returned again into
Damascus.
Now, this is where your question about what was Paul doing in Arabia that is so
important. For a while there, Paul kind of retreated. And if you look where Arabia is,
it's kind of east and south of Jerusalem. The center of Arabia at this time was Petra,
which is where the Nabateans were. You can look it up on a map. It's very
interesting. Petra is of course the place that is featured in the movie "Indiana Jones,
The Last Crusade." A magnificent kind of rock walled city. And Paul went and
retreated there. Now, there were a lot of Jews there. There were synagogues.
There wasn't a lot of pressure for Paul. I think Paul spent time learning how to be an
evangelist to the Jews in Arabia. He was not a popular person in Judea. He's going
to talk about that later on. He needed to retreat. He needed to learn. It was in a
sense his way of coming to grips with what it meant to share the Gospel with his
own people.
And this of course prepared him to share the Gospel to the Gentiles. But the point is
that he doesn't go running and learn the Gospel from others. Because he had
already known it from his studies as a Pharisee in knowing the Old Testament. And

then in seeing that the key of knowledge as Jesus says, the key of knowledge that
unlocks the Old Testament is knowing that Jesus is the Messiah himself.

Title: Galatians- Volume 17 (Gal. 1:18-24)


Subject: What happened in Paul's first visit to Jerusalem (Gal. 2:1-10)?
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1241
Time: 9:15

Ephesians 1:18-24

English Standard Version (ESV)


18

Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen
days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord's brother. 20 (In what I am
writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) 21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.
22
And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only were
hearing it said, He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.
24
And they glorified God because of me.
Q: What happened in Paul's first visit to Jerusalem? He seems to make a point of
not having consulted with anyone. Why? Talking about his Damascus road
experience with the disciples would seem to be so very natural. And lastly, when
did all of these events happen?
A: DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:
1:18 These are very good questions that put us in the context of the First Century
history, which we're going to guess at the best as we can. Now, if you look at the
chronology, you'll see that the way in which I've dated the conversion of Paul is in
the year 36. And I believe that the events that happened in Galatians 1:18 and
following happen about two years after Paul's conversion. So in other words, he is
converted in 36 after the martyrdom of Stephen. Then he goes into Arabia into the
Syrian desert of the Nabateans. Returns to Damascus. And then after that he
travels to Jerusalem to consult with the disciples.
Now, this is an important point. Why 36? Well, a lot of people date it earlier. But
there is something that suggests to us that 36 is a good year to date the martyrdom
of Stephen and the conversion of Paul. Remember the Jews could not engage in
capital punishment. This is something the Romans had to do. So for them to put
Stephen to death would either have to be a breaking of the law or would have to be
one of those historical moments where it was possible for them to do that because
the Romans weren't watching. Well, there is historical evidence that in the year 36,
there was no Roman procurator in Caesarea Maritima. Namely there was nobody
kind of minding the store in Israel in 36. And the high priest at that time was

Jonathan, who was a very, very ruthless man. This created the possibility at that
time for the martyrdom of Stephen to take place by the Jews. Now, that means that
Paul in those first years is simply kind of learning the ropes and then finally going to
Jerusalem. Because so many people had heard about his conversion.
Now, remember, he says he doesn't consult with anyone. But everybody knows
that he went to Jerusalem. So he has to talk about what that visit was about. And
he does it in verses 18 and following. He says: Then after three years -- and that
would be 36, 37, 38 -- so that's why we put it in about the year 38 -- he goes up into
Jerusalem for the purpose of visiting with Cephas. Notice he calls him Cephas.
That's his Jewish name. He goes with the purpose of visiting Cephas. Now, that is
an important point. Now many people would say including the opponents that he
went there so he might receive the Gospel from Peter. But maybe it was the other
way around. Maybe Paul was going to Cephas to say: Hey, guess what I found out?
I found out on the road to Damascus that God opened up to me to be the apostle to
the Gentiles.
I think he did talk about his Damascus road experience with the
apostles. In fact, if the Book of Acts is an indication of this, three times in the Book
of Acts Paul records a version of the Damascus road experience in Chapter 9 is the
first one of course, Chapter 22 and Chapter 26. Three times. It's important to him.
And I'm sure he spoke about it when he went to Jerusalem. But he says that he
remained -- and this is wonderful, detailed information. You have to ask yourself
why. I remained with Peter, Cephas, for 15 days. 15 days. Why not two weeks.
Why not a little over two weeks or a fortnight? But he says 15 days. Now, I think it's
important to recognize that the language here, to remain, to visit, means that he
stayed with Peter. That means he had table fellowship with Peter. And that means
that he went to Peter's church at least three times. In 15 days you can celebrate
the Lord's support with Peter three times. I think Paul is saying here that he had
fellowship with Peter as he will in Chapter 2 at the Lord's table. That he and Peter
were in agreement. They were on the same page. And it shows that in a sense
they were colleagues and they were friends. That they understood this.
1:19-20 Now, Paul goes onto say he saw none of the other apostles. He didn't go
down there to meet everybody and to learn from them. But he does mention again
-- now, this is a critical point -- that he saw James, the brother of our Lord. Not
James, the son of Zebedee. But James, the brother of our Lord. Now, James the son
of Zebedee would be alive at this time. But he points out who is now when Paul is
writing this letter the bishop of Jerusalem. That he went to see Peter and James.
Remember what I said about the Apostolic Council? These are the two players
along with Paul who are the significant people who have to come together at this
Council. Three years after his conversion, Paul goes to Jerusalem to visit with Peter
and James and to celebrate the Lord's Supper with them. He says: What things I'm

writing to you before God I do not lie. He's saying this is the absolute truth. This is
why I went.
1:21-22 But then he says in Verse 21 -- and I think this is a very important
statement by him because he clarifies even more his travel log. He says: Then I
went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. Syria is where Antioch is. Cilicia is where
he's from. So he went back to his hometown and to Antioch which is going to be
the mission base of operations for his missionary journeys. And then he says this:
And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. In
other words, he didn't visit the churches around Jerusalem. He didn't go around and
see those churches. He didn't because he had been a persecutor of the people who
were in those churches. They still probably remember three years later the raw,
very tragic, very sad experiences that they had in their own families at the hands of
Paul.
1:23-24 But to show you how the Gospel works, Paul says: They were only hearing
it said he who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to
destroy. They heard about Paul's conversion. They didn't see him to the face. But
they heard about his conversion. And that he had once been the great persecutor
of the church and now he's preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And this is an
amazing statement to me. It says in Verse 24: And they were glorifying over and
over again God because of me.
Now, I've often used this analogy. And I think it's somewhat legitimate. Paul goes
to Jerusalem and he as a persecutor of the church is received with joy by those
congregations that were persecuted by him. He doesn't go visit them by the face.
Because that might have been a little too much. But they did recognize that the
Gospel was coming through him. It would be as if Osama bin Laden were to return
to New York now having been converted to the Christian faith and was preaching
the Gospel of Jesus Christ there. And the people of New York City after 9/11 were
going to receive him with joy, glorifying God. I don't know if that would ever happen
today.
But that's what happened in the First Century. That the Christians recognize clearly
in Paul somebody who represented them. Now, that's important for Paul to state
concerning his apostleship. That he is in fact, an apostle from God. And that even
those whom he had persecuted see in him a preacher of the Gospel, a preacher of
the Good News. As well as James and Peter, the great leaders of the Jerusalem
church. At this time, remember, Peter is the bishop of Jerusalem. Not James. Even
though Peter may not have been called that. But he was the leader of the church in
Jerusalem. And James was the second leader. And the Jerusalem church, who many
people in that church had difficulties with Paul's mission to the Gentiles that early
on three years after his conversion they are embracing Paul as a preacher of the
Gospel.

Title: Galatians- Volume 18 (Gal. 2:1-3)


Subject: Why did Paul make a second trip to Jerusalem and what happened then?
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1242
Time: 9:42

Galatians 2:1-3
English Standard Version (ESV)

Paul Accepted by the Apostles


2 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with
me. 2 I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who
seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was
not running or had not run in vain. 3 But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be
circumcised, though he was a Greek.
Q: I see that Paul made a second trip to Jerusalem. Why? Who were the major
players at this meeting?
A: DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:
2:1 This is a good point to just pause before we get more deeply embedded in the
epistle to the Galatians to reflect a little bit about what's going on now. I think you
can see that this is a deeply historical book. I mean, if you look at a lot of the
epistles of Paul, there are no real historical references until the end when he refers
to people and places. But this book of Galatians is embedded in the church's
earliest history.
Now, up until this point we can see that Paul is defending his apostleship. He's
talked about his conversion. He's talked about the early years. And now we're
coming to a point, the beginning of Chapter 2, where we see what many people
believe is the report by Paul of what happened in Acts 15 and the Apostolic Council.
Now, if that is the case, that means that this letter to the Galatians was written after
the Apostolic Council, say in 49 or 50. And that could very well be the case. Many,
many scholars believe in a later dating of Galatians.
But in teaching this class and in teaching Galatians over the last ten years, I have
come to believe -- and it took me awhile to come to this point. And this is the more
conservative position. Or at least it used to be. But I have come to believe that the
letter to Galatians was written before the Apostolic Council. And that here in
Chapter 2, this is not a record of the Apostolic Council. But is a private meeting

between Paul, Barnabas, representing the church in Antioch and Peter and James
representing the church in Jerusalem.
Now, I did mention before at the Apostolic Council that the whole church was
represented. And that's true here, as well. Now, let's walk through this. Paul, John,
Peter, James. I've included John here as the son of Zebedee. Because we know he's
referenced in Verse 9 I believe. These are the major players in Jerusalem at this
time. And as I said, they really represent in terms of authorship 21 out of the 27
New Testament books. And 24 out of the 27 if you include influence. So let's just
walk through that.
Paul wrote 13 letters.
John wrote three letters, Revelation and the Gospel. So that's 18.
Peter wrote two epistles, that's 20.
And James one epistle. That's 21.
So 21 out of the 27 books are represented here by the authors of those books. Now,
if you believe as I do that Paul influenced Luke and Acts and that Peter influenced
Mark, you can add really three others by influence. So 24 out of the 27 books are
represented. And as I said before only Matthew, Hebrews and Jude are not
represented. Now, that's the New Testament. I mean, this is a major meeting of the
great minds and the great leaders of the early Christian church.
Now, this is perhaps the second trip to Jerusalem. But it's not the final trip. The
final trip is going to be the trip, of course, when he's arrested. And before that the
Apostolic Council. So these are a number of different trips that Paul takes to
Jerusalem. It shows you how important Jerusalem is. But when he goes to this
private meeting, I believe this is a result of what happened in Antioch and a result of
his missionary journeys. And I think you can see very clearly here that he wants to
lay before the apostles the Gospel that he has preached with Barnabas on his first
missionary journey.
2:1a Now, look at what he does. At the very beginning he says: Then after 14
years again I went up into Jerusalem with Barnabas taking along also with me
Titus. Now, this is important. 14 years. Now, if you take 14 from 36, that's about
the year 50. And if you actually count from the year 36, you're in the area that
we're talking about. 49, 50. Thats when most people date the Jerusalem Council.
I'm claiming that this is right before that. Now that puts us into a little bit difficulty
in dating this. But I think if you actually look at the way they added years, you can
see that this Council occurred perhaps at the end of 48, the beginning of 49, before
the Apostolic Council. What I'm suggesting to you is this: That these two meetings,
the private meeting recorded here in Galatians 2 and the public meeting in Acts 15
occurred within a very short period of time in reference to each other I should say.
So one may have been -- this is just an example. But the private meeting may have
been in January of 49. And the Apostolic Council may have been in the fall of 49.
Something like that. Within six months or even less.

2:2 Now, what's interesting is what Paul goes onto say here. And I think it's
important that he says he went up -- and here is that same word again -according to revelation, the Apocalyptic revelation. So in other words, this wasn't
as it says in Acts 15 that the churches got together and particularly Antioch said hey
we better send Paul and Barnabas. This is something that's revealed to Paul. And I
think it happened to him while he was on the second missionary journey. That he
says: You know I think Jerusalem needs to hear about the successes we are having
with the Gentiles so we have a clear sail in preaching this Gospel.
And God revealed this to him. He said: Go to Jerusalem and tell them. And that's
exactly what he does. It says: He lays before them the Gospel which I was
preaching among the Gentiles. Notice, again, the Gospel is a preached event. The
Gospel is something that happens in the preaching of it. So as Paul went from
church to church, from town to town preaching the Gospel, people were being
converted and that happened, also, I think in that first missionary journey in Galatia.
And notice that in Verse 2 -- and here I think is the key to distinguishing this
meeting from Acts 15 he went up privately to those who seemed to be something
lest somehow in vain I am running or had run.
Now, Paul is not worried about the apostles in Jerusalem as to persuading him to
change the Gospel that he preaches. What Paul is worried about is a split in the
church. Paul is deeply, deeply concerned that because the Gospel he is preaching
to the Gentiles might be controversial amongst some of the Jews in Jerusalem, that
they would cause the church to split - so that there would be a church of the
Gentiles and a church of the Jews. And for Paul, because the Gospel is inclusive, in
other words, it includes and embraces all people as he's going to say in Galatians 3,
slave or free, male and female, you know, rich and poor. It embraces all of them.
Paul is just very, very concerned that this Gospel is somehow going to be broken
into two different churches.
2:3 I think it's very, very important to see that it's not that this church has a Gospel
and this church has a Gospel. In other words,
the Gospel, salvation by grace alone through faith to the Gentiles.
Salvation by grace through faith plus the law for the Jews.
But for Paul there's one Gospel. There may be two missions. One Gospel. One
church. Two missions. And he says very clearly that not even Titus -- this is Verse
3 of Chapter 2 not even Titus, the one who was with me, even though he was a
Greek, was compelled to be circumcised.
Now its important to see this for what it is. Titus is not a Jew. He is a
Greek. He is uncircumcised. Paul brings an uncircumcised Gentile to this private
meeting with Peter and James. And if they felt it was absolutely necessary that
circumcision be part of the Gospel, they would have insisted, they would have

compelled. And notice that language because he's going to use it again. They
would have compelled Titus to be circumcised. But Titus is an object lesson that
the Gospel is for Gentiles. Titus comes and confesses the faith that Peter and James
confess. And they do not force him to be circumcised. So in Titus, who really is a
wonderful example of the freedom of the Gospel to reach to Gentiles without
requiring circumcision, there is an opportunity for Paul to place before the apostles
the fruit of his preaching. And so Titus goes along with Barnabas and Paul. Because
he shows that the Gospel is for the uncircumcised.
Title: Galatians- Volume 19 (Gal. 2:4-6)
Subject: How did the Jerusalem Council compare to other councils?
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1243
Time: 7:27

Galatians 2:4-6
English Standard Version (ESV)

Paul Accepted by the Apostles


4

Yet because of false brothers secretly brought inwho slipped in to spy out our
freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery 5 to
them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the
gospel might be preserved for you. 6 And from those who seemed to be influential
(what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)those, I say,
who seemed influential added nothing to me.
Q: Thank you. And I want to follow up with another question. What happened at
Antioch that influenced the meeting in Jerusalem? What were the issues that they
discussed? Later in the history of the church, the first Ecumenical Council is held in
Nicaea. Is the meeting in Jerusalem similar? Does it have a formal name?
A: DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:
This is a very astute question because most people when they read Galatians,
especially Chapter 2 verses 4 and 5 do not see that what Paul is talking about there
is the church in Antioch and not the church in Galatia. You see, Paul was concerned
about what happened in Antioch probably during his first missionary journey.
2:4
Now, we're going to see that there's an incident in Antioch that comes right after
this. This is the confrontation between Peter and Paul. But this is a previous
incident that indicates that something is wrong in the Jerusalem church. Now, this
is how Paul puts it in Chapter 2 Verse 4 he says: Yet because of false brothers

secretly brought in who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ
Jesus so that they might bring us into slavery, to them we did not yield in
submission even for a moment so that the truth of the Gospel might be preserved
for you.
Now, Paul here is speaking about Antioch. And here comes some of the major
themes of Galatians. First of all, we've already seen that circumcision has been
referred to in Verse 3. But it is referred to again here. Because the false brothers
are compelling circumcision. Now, circumcision is used in Chapter 2, Chapter 5 and
Chapter 6. There are more references to circumcision here than in any other of
Paul's epistles. And what we're going to see is that at the very end of the epistle
you think Paul was finally done with circumcision, he comes back to circumcision
because it's a major issue here in Galatia. And it was a major issue in this meeting.
These false brothers -- and that's quite a very derogative thing to call them. They
are brothers. Namely, they are Christians or claim to be Christians. But they are
teaching false doctrine. They are teaching a different Gospel as he says in the first
chapter. Notice how he describes them. He describes them as secretly brought in.
Slipping in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus. They are not being
up front. They are not honest. They are not coming in and saying things openly.
But they are going around the corner. They are meeting, huddling in the -- kind of
the corners of the synagogue, wherever they are meeting. And they are
undermining the Gospel that Paul and Barnabas and the church has affirmed as
being the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Now, what it is that they are compromising is freedom. This is a major theme in
Paul. And especially in this letter to the Galatians. For freedom Christ has set you
free he says in Chapter 5. Freedom is freedom from the law. And what they are
trying to do is to bind people again to the law. Now, Paul thinks this is absurd.
What Jesus does is he frees us from the law. Why would they want to be bound
again in the law? And that's why he talks about freedom here. And slavery.
2:5
And he talks about how they stood up to them. Now, this may have been Paul
personally. Maybe when he got back from his missionary journey to Antioch, they
were there. And he stood up against them. But his followers did, too. And in this
case they were clear victors in Antioch. They tossed out these false brothers
because they did not want to be in submission to them for a moment because -- and
this is a very important statement in Verse 5. This is the key to this letter. The truth
of the Gospel might remain in us.
That expression, the truth of the Gospel, is significant. Now, in the Greek
language, those two words are juxtaposed, truth, Gospel. And I want you to think of
the truth being the Gospel and the Gospel being the truth. It's not just the truth of

the Gospel. I think the best way to translate that is truth that is the Gospel. Or if
you want to reverse it, the Gospel, that is the truth. What is true is the free
liberating Gospel that Jesus has died for the sins of the world and risen again. And
that we don't have to do anything. We cannot cooperate with God. We cannot
contribute to our salvation. There are no works that we need to do in order to be
saved.
2:6
Now, this is what Paul is saying here. And he's saying very clearly that this is
something that happened in Antioch. He goes on, though. He says -- and here it's
interesting if you read the Greek language. And it's somewhat captured in the
English. Paul's grammar here completely collapses. It's very difficult to translate
this passage because there are no verbs. It's a passage in which you can see Paul
who is just an incredible wordsmith loses his way with the Greek. And I think the
reason is -- and I think this is what I love about this epistle is that as Paul is dictating
this, he is so upset that he loses his sense of grammar. You know how that is,
people when they get agitated the words don't come out right. And that's what's
happening with Paul here.
So look at what he says now in Verse 6. And from those who seem to be influential,
what they were makes no difference to me. God shows no partiality. That's almost
in parentheses. He says those I say who seemed influential added nothing to me.
Now, here he is going back to his visit to Jerusalem. So verses 4 and 5 is the
incident, the first incident in Antioch where false brothers came in and tried to
undermine the Gospel. And then in Verse 6 which is really a new sentence here, he
talks about the meeting in Jerusalem. And those who seemed to be influential,
namely, Peter, James and John. Peter, remember, first among equals. John, son of
Zebedee. James, the brother of our Lord. They added nothing to me, they said.
They did not add to my Gospel. We laid our Gospel before them and they didn't say:
Wait a minute, Paul. You're preaching the wrong Gospel. You have to add
something here or you have to change it.
They simply accepted what Paul and Barnabas were preaching. And he says I don't
care who they are. I don't care if they are Peter. It doesn't make any difference to
me. God shows no impartiality when it comes to Verse 5: The truth of the Gospel.
When it comes to the truth of the Gospel, there is no one who is going to cause me
to compromise for the sake of the truth of the Gospel. And so he makes it very
clear that nobody added anything to them. But then in Verse 7, he goes onto talk
about what happens in the rest of the chapter.
Title: Galatians- Volume 20 (Gal. 2:7-10)
Subject: Similarities with the Council of Nicaea
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1244

Time: 9:37

Galatians 2:7-10
English Standard Version (ESV)

Paul Accepted by the Apostles


7

On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the
uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised
8
(for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised
worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), 9 and when James and Cephas
and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they
gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the
Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10 Only, they asked us to remember the poor,
the very thing I was eager to do.
Q: Please pardon me, Dr. Just. But did you touch upon any similarities with the
Council of Nicaea?
A: DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:
Thank you, Josh. I'm glad you reminded me about that. I was getting as agitated as
Paul was over this Antioch business that I forgot to address that. And I appreciate
you bringing that up.
It's important to recognize at this point that this is not the Apostolic Council. But it
makes the same decisions that the Apostolic Council does. And I think Nicaea is a
good comparison. Even though the issues may have been different, the critical
character of both those councils in terms of directing the Christian church forward in
an Orthodox way is similar. In Nicaea of course it's over the person of Jesus. And
here in the Apostolic Council it's about the Gospel itself. Nicaea wouldn't have
happened if this Apostolic Council in Acts 15 and this previous private meeting that
we are talking about here in Galatians 2, if they had not happened. And Paul sees in
that Antioch situation how fragile the Gospel can be in a church, even among great
people whom he has worked with in his missionary journeys.
Meetings being discussed:
A previous meeting before the meeting at Jerusalem (Gal. 2) in which the
nature of the Gospel is discussed.
The meeting at Jerusalem (Acts 15), the Apostolic Council, also about the
Gospel.
The meeting at Nicaea (later) to discuss the person of Jesus.

Now, that movement from the situation in Antioch in verses 4 and 5 to Jerusalem in
verse 6, then it goes on in 7 to 10 to describe the agreement that Paul makes with
the church. And that agreement is of the same magnitude in terms of its influence
as the Ecumenical Council in Nicaea.
2:7
Now, look at what it says in Verse 7. On the contrary, Paul says -- and that's a
very important point. On the contrary they didn't add anything to me. On the
contrary when they saw -- and this is important -- when I had been entrusted by
God -- this is what we would call in the Greek a theological passive where God is the
subject -- where God entrusted to me the Gospel to the uncircumcised just as Peter
to the circumcised. Now, there are the two missions. Paul to the Gentiles
uncircumcised. Peter to the Jews, the circumcised. Just when God is the entruster
of these missions. When Paul saw that. And they saw it in Paul.
2:8
And in verse 8 he repeats himself. It's this parenthetical but it's very important. He
says: For the one who raised up Peter into the apostleship to the circumcised also
raised me up to the Gentiles. Now, there he doesn't talk about them as
uncircumcised but Gentiles. Now, that's in two verses he refers to the missions, to
the Gentiles and to the Jews. But in Verse 8 there he talks about God raising up
Peter as an apostle to the circumcised.
Now, this may be making too much of it. But I don't think so. Paul refers here to
Peter as an apostle. Everybody believes that. And remember, Paul began by
defending his apostleship. Paul does not refer to himself here as an apostle. And I
think you can see here that in that reference as Peter, apostle, but Paul not referring
to himself. You can infer it from the grammar. But Paul probably should have put it
in there especially if he's defending his apostleship. I think what you see here is
Paul deferring to Peter. And I think he's deferring to the mission to the Jews. Paul
recognized that Peter is the first among the 12. And he's the apostle par excellent.
There's nobody greater than Peter. And Paul would never place himself above Peter.
Nor would he place the mission to the Gentiles above the mission to the Jews. They
are both important. They both have their purpose. The Jews came first. The
Gentiles second. He just wants to make sure that the Gentiles have the same
Gospel as the Jews have. And that the Jews the same as the Gentiles have.
2:9
And so he says: When they saw this, when they saw that there were these two
missions and then in Verse 9 and knowing -- this seeing and knowing. These are
words of perceiving. And knowing the grace that has been given to me by God.
There's another. That God gave him this grace. And here they are: James, the
brother of our Lord, bishop of Jerusalem. Cephas, Peter. And John, the son of
Zebedee. Those who seem to be pillars. Remember I talked about the pillars? Now
we're down to three. James, Peter and John. Not the son of Zebedee. But James,

the bishop of Jerusalem. Those who seem to be pillars. They gave to Barnabas and
me the right hand of fellowship. Now, that just doesn't mean they shook hands.
The word fellowship there means that they celebrated the Lord's Supper together.
They sealed their unity in the Gospel of Jesus Christ but celebrating the sacrament
together.
Now, we know from the early church especially from Corinthians but especially from
the teaching of Jesus that the sacrament of the Lord's Supper was a sacrament of
unity. Which means that brothers or sisters in Christ that did not believe or confess
the same things would not share the cup -- the bread and the cup together. So for
Paul and Barnabas to receive the right hand of fellowship from James, Peter and
John is a significant statement of the unity.
Now, I want to point out something. This is subtle but I think it's true. Look at the
list there. It's James, Peter and John. Not Peter, James and John. James is listed
first. Paul already recognizes what I said earlier about the Apostolic Council. That
James is the main player here. That he's the one who is going to speak and
everybody is going to follow. And why did they have the right hand of fellowship?
And this is a purpose clause. And he repeats it once again. In order that we to the
Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Okay. Again, the third time the two missions
is repeated within three verses. So you can see here one Gospel, one church, two
missions.
2:10
The final verse is important for me. Because I'm director of deaconess studies here
at the seminary. And I think it's important to recognize that the Gospel does involve
concrete expressions of love. This is going to come up later in Paul's epistle. And I
think it's interesting, you can almost see that Paul is a little annoyed here. And I'll
explain what I mean by that here in a minute. He says: Only they asked us to
remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.
Now, perhaps you don't know this. But the place that was considered kind of the -the most focal point of poverty in the ancient world at this time was Jerusalem
because of the famine there. And the saints in Jerusalem were really very, very
much struck by the need to receive gifts from the Gentile churches in order to
survive physically.
That's another way of reading the Book of Acts. The Book of Acts isn't only about
the mission to the Gentiles and the Jews. But it's also about the taking of the
collections by the Gentile churches so that the Jews might survive in Jerusalem. This
is what the poor refers to. It's referring to the saints in Jerusalem who really are in
desperate need of the help of the Gentiles. The apostles reminded Paul that he is
the one that is going to be perhaps most responsible for bringing these gifts, these
tangibles, expressions of the Gospel to the church in Jerusalem to show that there is
unity. And I think that this is another sign of unity. Not just simply the celebration

of the Lord's Supper. But that the gifts of the Gentiles are going to be there to
support the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem.
Now, if you look at the third missionary journey of Paul, one of the things that he
does during that missionary journey is he carries these tangible expressions of the
Gentile's love for the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem with him to Jerusalem and lays
them before James and the church. And the church was able to survive because of
that. And Paul says very clearly here that he recognizes that the Gospel includes
what I call ***diacneus service. That is giving, charity. We sometimes think of that
as being outside the Gospel. But the Gospel itself in our lives because Christ is in us
and his mercy and compassion flows through us, that is expressed in tangible gifts
to those who are in need of those gifts. Paul understands that and so do the Jews in
Jerusalem who are also Christians. And that is why this private meeting is in a
sense a watershed event as well as the Apostolic Council. Because it not only
brings the major players together around the Gospel, but it also shows that charity
is at the heart of what Jesus Christ teaches.
Title: Galatians- Volume 21 (Gal. 2:11-14)
Subject: What happened at Antioch that caused Paul to be so upset with Peter? Can church
leaders be upset with one another without this being a sin?
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1245
Time: 14:53

Galatians 2:11-14
English Standard Version (ESV)
Paul Opposes Peter
11

But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.
For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came
he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.[a] 13 And the rest of the Jews
acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.
14
But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas
before them all, If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force
the Gentiles to live like Jews?
12

Q: Thank you, Dr. Just. I truly appreciate your taking the time to respond to
me. Now I want to ask one more question. At the incident at Antioch Peter
and Paul appear to be at odds with each other. What happened at Antioch that
caused Paul to be so upset with Peter? Can church leaders be upset with one
another without this being a sin?

A:DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:

Those are good questions, Josh. And I'm not sure I can answer the last one. But I
think we can look at the text and see what happens here between Peter and Paul.
And as I mentioned before in Acts 15, I think we see that reconciliation has taken
place. But this is a very disturbing part of Galatians. And in fact it's a very
disturbing part of the New Testament. Because you see that there tends to be here
not just on the surface but deep down a potential break, a potential source of deep
trouble when Paul and Peter in Antioch. Now, this is called the incident in Antioch.
And over the years many have tried to reconcile this or explain it away. But I think
you've got to take these words at face value. That something happened in Antioch
that caused Peter to withdraw. Now, let's look at the text. I think the text needs to
be looked at carefully here. Because it will tell us what it is that we need to know
about this.
2:11
First of all, you have Cephas in Antioch, you've got Paul and you've got Barnabas
and you also have this reference that there were some from James. So in other
words, everybody who was at the private meeting (held earlier) are now at least
referred to here in the Antioch incident. It clearly takes place after that private
meeting. And as I mentioned earlier in my words about the history of the early
Christian church, it appears as if Paul left this private meeting in Jerusalem that was
recorded in the first ten verses of Chapter 2 just elated. There was the right hand of
fellowship. And I think that Peter did, as well. I think Peter runs to Antioch now.
And of course he knew Antioch. He had been to Antioch. This is the first place
where Christians were called Christians. This is a great church. This is a church that
is a significant player. And Antioch of course was in a place where a lot of
commerce came. So it was a place to spread the Gospel everywhere.
I think Peter goes running from Jerusalem to Antioch and just rejoices in being able
to participate in a church now made up of Jews and Gentiles. Remember now, like I
said, he is the founder of the mission to the Jews, founder of the mission to the
Gentiles. So Peter in himself embodies both missions even though he lives more
like a Jew, even though he may be more closely associated with Jerusalem and the
mission to the Jews, Antioch now embraces all of what had happened to Peter in the
first 10, 11 chapters of Acts.
Now, I think when he was there, he loved celebrating the Lord's Supper with the
Gentiles, eating in their houses, eating the foods that they served. Perhaps for the
first time, as I said, eating foods he had never eaten before. But it says -- this is
Verse 11: But when Cephas came to Antioch -- and I think it's important to see
that Cephas, Peter who is coming to Antioch I opposed him to his face because
he stood condemned.
Now, that is a strong statement. And clearly, you know, maybe Peter left for a
while, came back. But what happened happened in Antioch. And when he comes

now back to Antioch, Paul is in his face. Now, remember what I talked about Paul,
short guy, skinny neck, kind of bulging eyes, fierce kind of countenance, long hook
nose, shrewd. High pitched voice. Imagine him getting in your face.
When I played sports in high school, we had a coach who whenever he wanted to
talk to us always got right here in our face. He just violated our space. We called
him Lou the Face because he would always get right in our face. And I can see -you know this is an expression that we have: In your face. I think Paul is in Peter's
face here. And he says -- literally he says: I got in his face because he stood
condemned. Now, condemned. I mean, was Peter destined to hell? Well, I don't
know. But he clearly did something that caused Paul to think that he had
compromised the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
2:12
And then he says this: Before some from James came -- now that's a very
colorless expression. We don't know what that means. And we do not think -- and I
think this is important to state. And we do not think that they represented James.
They may claim they are from James. And that certainly may be something that
someone said to look important. Oh, we're from the bishop. The bishop sent us. But
I don't think that's the case. There's no indication anywhere else in the New
Testament that James held to this position. But it says: Before some from James
came, Peter -- this is an ongoing act in the past was continually eating with the
Gentiles. Now, I think that means both kind of normal meals and table fellowship
at the Lord's Supper. I think it's table fellowship in both the common meals and the
supper of the Lord. Peter was continually over and over again eating with Gentiles.
But it says: But when they came -- and these words are very important he
drew back and he separated himself because he feared those who were out of the
circumcision party.
Now, this is a loaded statement. And I want to explain a couple of the
words here. The word there for drawback is a military word. Remember I said the
Galatians were military men. They were soldiers. And so this is the sense of
retreat. Now, I think you can see this as the Gospel is moving forward, it's taking
ground. I mean, this conference in Jerusalem, this private conference brought all
these players together to show that the Gospel is now to move among the Gentiles.
And Peter is in Antioch moving forward. I mean it's an extraordinary moment in the
church history. And then all of a sudden because these from James came, he began
to retreat. He began to back off. Like an army would as it's beginning to take
territory and then receiving resistance begins to have to retreat because it doesn't
want to have to lose any more forces.
And the word that's next and again it's an ongoing action in the past.
And he was repeatedly over and over again separating himself. Now, that word
separate is a Cultic word.

What that means is, is that it's talking about the context of liturgy. Of cult. Of
worship. He's separating himself from the Lord's Supper. So he's retreating. He's
moving himself away from the Gentile celebration of the Lord's Supper and just
doing a Jewish one. And here is the critical reason: Because he was afraid. Now,
we're afraid of a lot of things. But the word fear both in the gospels and here I think
in Paul has to do with fear that comes from persecution for confessing the true faith.
Peter was afraid of confessing the faith that was agreed upon in that private
meeting in Jerusalem right before this text that he had with Paul and Barnabas and
the church in Antioch. He was afraid of being persecuted by the circumcision party.
Now, I think we have to be a little gentle here on Peter. Not that we want to excuse
his behavior. But I think he's afraid not just of being ridiculed or being considered
somebody who doesn't have a backbone. I think he's afraid maybe not so much for
his life but the life of those who are his followers. Because these are those
terrorists. These are those people who are literally killing people who they do not
think are living like a Jew should live. And in this case that they think a Jewish
Christian should live. So in order to preserve life, Peter retreats, Peter withdraws.
Now, it's important to recognize here that Peter is being condemned by Paul
because he is a leader in the church. And his actions have an impact beyond
himself. I also think it's important to say that Peter perhaps isn't saying: Oh, yes, I
now believe that salvation is by grace through faith alone and works of the law. I
don't think he's saying that. I think if you were to nail Peter down here and say:
What do you believe, Peter? He would say it's salvation by grace through faith. So
he's not making a different confession. But he is by his actions showing that he is
afraid of publicly portraying that in the life of an intermixed church of Jews and
Gentiles. Now, the reason I say that is Verse 13.
2:13
And it says: That the rest of the Jews -- see this the rest of the Jews played the
hypocrite with Peter. Now, hypocrite -- a hypocrite is somebody who puts a facade
up. And if you read the teachings of Jesus, a person is a hypocrite because they are
afraid of confessing the true faith. So Peter and the rest of the Jews put up a facade
now. In other words, they retreat behind a wall because they are afraid of
confessing the true faith with these Judaizers from Jerusalem, the circumcision
party. And his leadership is so powerful. Peter is such a significant figure that not
only do the rest of the Jews go with him -- and this must have just killed Paul -- so
that even Barnabas, even Barnabas -- and I think this is such a word with such
***pathos that even Barnabas was led astray. Was in a sense perverted by their
hypocrisy. Now, this is his traveling companion. This is the man what went with him
on his first missionary journey. This is his good friend. The man who in many ways
taught him to be a missionary. Even Barnabas is swayed by Peter.
2:14

Now, this is Paul's conclusion. And I think it's very important. He says: But when I
saw that they were not walking in an Orthodox way, literally ortho, they were not
walking lightly to the truth of the Gospel -- there is that expression again, the
Gospel that is the truth, the truth that is the Gospel that they were not walking to
what he, Paul, considers the truth of the Gospel.
And notice, this isn't a private thing. This isn't like Matthew 18. This is
a public sin. Public act. It takes a public rebuke. He said: I said to Cephas -that's Peter before all of them, the whole church -- he didn't just take Peter in a
corner and say: Hey, what are you doing? He goes before the whole church and
says to Cephas -- and this is a very important statement here and this shows his
hypocrisy. If you, Peter, though you are a Jew -- your being is a Jew. And he's
admitting there that Peter lives like a Jew. And that's okay. That's what he is.
Ethically he is a Jew. Even though you, Peter, are a Jew are now living like a Gentile
and not like a Jew -- now that shows you that Peter fully immersed himself in the
Gentile life. Which means he was eating their foods. He was participating in things
that would have been uncleaned by Jews. So he's living like a Gentile. If you, Peter,
even though you were brought up as a Jew are living like a Gentile and not like a
Jew -- and here is the killer and here is the same word that was used to compel
circumcision. How can you force to compel Gentiles to live like Jews?
Now, whether or not Peter was fully doing that, it doesn't say. But the
fact that he withdrew and separated himself indicates that he is making a
statement in which perhaps it is necessary as the circumcision party says that these
Gentiles must first become Jews in order for them to become Christians. Now, this is
a serious breach in the church. And it is my guess that after Paul said this, there
was a tremendous tragedy here. That Paul went his way and Peter went his way.
And Barnabas, who knows what. But obviously from Acts 15, there was great
dissension. And even though Luke kind of glosses it over a little bit, it's very clear
that Paul and Barnabas were in great discussion.
Barnabas comes along with Paul. So Barnabas is converted first. And I think as I
mentioned in the Apostolic Council, when Peter stands up and represents the
Gentile point of view, that is his way -- and this is why I think that's such a
courageous move -- his way of publicly repenting to the church in Jerusalem and
really to the whole Christian church that he was wrong in Antioch. But I think at this
moment as Paul writes this letter before the Apostolic Council in Acts 15, Paul
doesn't know what's going to happen to Peter. He is so agitated by the fact that the
Gospel may be compromised now not only in Antioch but maybe in Galatia.
So I think you can see that this situation in Antioch is an extremely,
extremely upsetting one to Paul. And probably upsetting to Peter. Now, is this a sin?
Well, it is a very, very wrong thing to confess something that isn't the truth. But
even though you're afraid, even though it's something that might cause you great
anguish or even may cause the life of some of your followers, at the end of the day,

you've got to stand up for the truth. I think Peter was a broken man here. And so
was Paul. Because he wasn't sure what was going to happen to the church. And as
we now move forward into the final part of this second chapter, we're going to see
that this incident in Antioch is the occasion for the first statement by Paul on
justification by grace through faith.
Title: Galatians- Volume 22 - Gal. 2:15-21
Subject: The theological issues that follow this confrontation between Paul and Peter at Antioch
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1246
Time: 20:07

Galatians 2
English Standard Version (ESV)
Justified by Faith
15

We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16 yet we know that a person is not
justified[b] by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in
Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by
works of the law no one will be justified.
17

But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then
a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a
transgressor. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been
crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now
live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do
not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness[c] were through the law, then Christ died for no
purpose.

Q: I, too, have a final question out of Chapter 2. Paul's first statement on


justification by grace through faith occurs after the Antioch incident. What
are the theological issues that follow this confrontation between Paul and
Peter? And how do they affect the rest of his letter to the Galatians in
Chapter 2 verses 15 to 21. For example what does justification mean? What are
works of the law? What does Paul mean when he says I died to the law through
the law? What does it mean that Christ lives in him? If this is not an
ontological statement, is it at least a dynamic statement? And did Luther
view the believer as being carried by another?
A:DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:
David, I think you have recognized that this section in Galatians is really I
guess you could say the first deeply theological section where Paul reflects
theologically about what the Gospel is. But it is I think the densest section

of Galatians. And it is where we see as you already indicated the first


statement by justification by grace through faith. There is so much packed in
here, we could almost spend an entire course just unraveling the theology that
Paul has here. But let's in the next few minutes try to get at the basic
theological issues, particularly as they develop now in the rest of the
Galatian homily.
2:15
Now, I think Verse 15 sets the stage. And this is, as I said, the first
concerted theological argument in Galatians. And I love what one commentator
says about Verse 15. And I'll just read the verse first and then translate
it. And then I'll explain what I think it means. Paul says now: We -- and
the we is you, Peter and me we are by nature Jews and a not Gentile
sinners. Now, what a commentator says is that he thinks Paul here is
rhetorically putting his arm around Peter. In other words, Paul has just
gotten in Peter's face. Says: You stand condemned. Describes him as a
hypocrite. Being afraid. But I think Paul has some compassion here for
Peter. And he puts his arm around Peter. And he's going to use this as an
opportunity to show what we believe about the Gospel as Jews. And he says:
We are by nature Jews. Peter, I was brought up as a Pharisee. I was the
best in my class. I was in the school of Gamaliel. You don't think I
understand the law? You don't think I understand this? He says: Peter, you
and I, we are Jews. We are not like these Gentile sinners. Look what he's
saying. These Galatians are Gentile pagan sinners. We're not sinners. We're
Jews. Now, you know what he means. He means we are the ones who have been
privileged with the revelation of God. We have the temple. We know what it
means to be holy. And let's not be like them. By resorting to a Gospel
that's not a Gospel.
2:16
And so that's why in verses 16 and following he states the Gospel. Now, Verse
16 is perhaps the most important verse in Galatians. It is the densest at
least. And to translate it carefully is extremely important here. Now, I have
not mentioned this. And I probably should have earlier. But I've given you
as -- if you have the Greek, it's great. But if you don't have the Greek,
I've given you kind of a diagrammed translation of the text here. And here
it's very important. Because what we have is some parallelism going on. And
I think you can see it in the English as well as the Greek.
Let's translate it first and then go back and talk about it.
Because it's very important. Verse 16 -- and I'm going to read a translation
because I want to trust my own translation. I'll read one. And I may make a
few adjustments as we go. Yet we know that a person is not justified by
works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. So we also have believed
in Christ Jesus. In order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works
of the law. Because by works of the law, no one will be justified.
Now, there are so many new concepts here first of all, the
language of <u>justification</u>. And here the translation I'm reading, the
ESV here uses the word justify. Sometimes we translate this <u>declared
righteous</u>. Those are both good translations. We tend not to use the
translation make righteous. And especially it if it's applied to a believer
can be somewhat problematic. But to declare righteous, that's the courtroom.
That's what we call forensic action, forensic language. This is certainly the
language of justification as it's been handed down to us through the
reformers, particularly Luther. And as you know, the Lutheran Confessions and
Luther himself says that justification is one of the principle if not the

principle doctrine of Christianity. And as Lutherans there is a statement.


It's not in the confessions. But it's a statement that we all affirm that
justification is the doctrine upon which the church stands and falls. And we
believe that.
I would like, however, to say this about the Word here in this
verse. That I think one of the ways to translate it is not declare righteous
or justify. And bear with me here. I'll explain it in a minute. But to
translate it this way: That what Paul is saying here is in the language of
justification that God is <u>making right what has gone wrong</u>. Now, we
all know what has gone wrong. We know that God created this creation good.
If you just read the first chapter of Genesis, you see over and over again it
was good, it was good, it was good. And that what happened is our first
parents disobedience infected creation with a virus that all of a sudden that
was so good went so terribly wrong. And we know that ever since the first sin
of our parents that they fell into sin by the temptations of the devil which
they succumbed to, that our world has been infected with this virus of sin
that's caused death and tragedy and suffering and sickness and the most
unimaginable things. And I think we also know at least if we're believers and
if we understand the New Testament that we cannot -- and this is one of the
points that Paul is making. We cannot by our own works, by trying hard to be
good or trying to be righteous or trying to do the right thing that we cannot
make right what has gone wrong. Because as the psalm says our works are like
filthy rags. We can't do it. I think this is what Paul's opponents are
telling the Galatians. Yes, you can. God does a little. You do a little.
But you can help yourself. You can help make right what has gone wrong.
I think that Paul is saying very clearly here that only God
can make right what has gone wrong. And only God can do that by sending his
Creator who created everything good back into this world. Coming into this
world as the Creator come to his creation to make all things new. That when
the Creator comes in Jesus Christ, that it's only then that God in Christ is
making right what has gone wrong. And he does it through a cross. He does it
by being the focus of the Father's wrath. By being the focus of the Father's
wrath against sin. By taking into himself our shame and our guilt. It is
only in the cross where God is making right what has gone wrong. Now, I think
it's also important to say that even though in a way -- in a way -- we can say
that our faith makes right what has gone wrong. But it's our faith in Christ,
in his atonement and resurrection, that makes right what has gone wrong.
Now, there are some issues here in this verse about how to
translate these words. And let me say this: I would translate it this way:
Knowing that a man is made right in what has gone wrong not by works of the
law but through the faithfulness unto death of Jesus Christ. And we believed
in Jesus Christ in order that we may be made right in what has gone wrong by
the faithfulness of Jesus Christ unto death and not by works of the law.
Because by works of the law all flesh cannot make right what has gone wrong.
You see, I think that Paul is speaking here in a cosmic sense.
He's not talking about individual works of the law. He's not talking about
individual faith. He's talking about Christ. And what Christ has done on the
cross in his faithfulness, in his obedience unto death, in giving up his life
for us. Now, the reason why I say that is I think most of the translations get
it wrong when they say: Yet we know that a person is not justified by works
of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. Now, the Greek is ambiguous
there. It can mean faith in Jesus Christ or the faith of Jesus Christ, namely
his faithfulness unto death. The only translation that takes it that way is

the King James. Faith of Christ. And that's interesting. Because I think
in some ways they understood the language better back then than we do now.
But here is the deal: In Verse 16, our faith in Christ stands
at the center of that verse. This in no way discounts that our faith in
Christ is important. But it says: How does God make right what has gone
wrong in the world? It is through Christ and his faithfulness on the cross.
Not by works of the law. Not by our faith. Because all flesh is going to be
declared righteous, justified. That all of this is going to make right what
has gone wrong by means of what happened on the cross of Calvary.
Now, the reason I bring this up is that this is what's being
discussed among the Pauline scholars today. Not only in Galatians but also in
Romans. And I think in both Galatians and Romans, Paul is speaking here in
the bigger picture. I think if you look at the language of faith in Christ, it
individualizes it too much. It makes it too personal. Too subjective.
That's I think a little too moderate. And even though Luther took it that
way, if you read the Galatians commentary you can see Luther understood this
in the context of the larger salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
2:17
Now, Paul goes on. And I think the way in which he goes on helps explain
this. And I think Verses 17 and following are really helpful in clarifying
this. In 17 he says: But if in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we,
too, were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly
not. Now, this is kind of an obvious statement for Paul. But I think what
it says in Verse 17 is that people are calling Paul by his teaching, by the
fact that he eats with Gentiles, by the fact that he includes, himself. And
therefore, Christ and his Gospel with Gentile table fellowship is that he is
being called by these opponents as a sinner. And anybody who has
relationships in terms of both the Lord's Supper and just generally with
Gentiles is a sinner. Then if that's true, then Christ is also a servant of
sin. Because the Gospel is for everybody. And if you're going to go with a
selective Gospel, then you are going to go with a Gospel that makes not only
those who kind of expand the Gospel to include Gentiles a sinner, then Christ
is a sinner, too.
not the case.
Christ.

Now, when he says: Certainly not, he's saying: No, that's


That is not the case. Because that's not the Gospel of Jesus

2:18
And then in Verse 18 he says this: For if I rebuild what I tore down -- and
he's talking about the law there. If I'm going to put up the law again as a
means of salvation, if I'm going to do that, then he says: I prove myself to
be a transgressor. Then I am a sinner. I'm not a sinner if I have table
fellowship with Gentiles and see the Gospel as being for all people. I'm a
sinner if I put requirements on the Gospel. If I make the Gospel something
that I build up now, the law, around it as kind of a wall, then I am a sinner.
2:19
And here is his explanation. And this is very complicated. But it's going to
give birth to a fuller theology later on in Chapter 3. So we have to handle
it now. And Verse 19 is very critical here. For I through the law died to
the law. Now, think about that. I through the law died to the law. Now,
I think we can understand what Paul says: I died to the law. Namely, his
life under the law before the cross, before Damascus. That is something that

Damascus put an end to as well as the cross put an end to.


according to the law. We died to that.

He no longer lives

But how does he die to the law through the law? That's harder
to understand. And I think the reason is this: Because I don't think we
recognize that at the cross there is a collision. There is a collision
between Christ and the law. Now, here you see Paul recognizing very clearly
what happens at the cross. What he says later onto the Corinthians: That he
who knew no sin becomes sin on our behalf.
When Jesus was nailed to the
tree, he is a sinner. He is the ultimate sinner. That's why the Father
forsakes him. That's why the Father curses him as he says in Chapter 3 here
in Galatians. That is why the Father has to forsake him to the point of
death. That's why the Father's wrath is upon him. Because he's a sinner.
Now, what does the law do? The law shows us our sins. When
the law looks at Jesus who is the ultimate sinner there, what must the law do?
It must put Jesus to death. That's what the law demands of sinners. That's
how Paul died to the law through the law. Because the collision there on the
cross between Christ and the law, the law condemning Christ because Christ is
a sinner there, that is how Paul dies to the law. He's referencing here the
cross of Jesus Christ.
2:20

And what happens? That happens so that he might now live to


God. Because he is co-crucified with Christ. He's not the one who is
crucified. It is Christ who is crucified and Paul now in Christ. Here he is
referring to his baptism. How he's baptized into Christ's death and
resurrection. He's going to talk about that in Galatians 3 and 4 and then in
Romans 6. Because he's co-crucified in Christ. And this comes to him in his
baptism. That is why he can now live. That Christ's death and resurrection
becomes his. Not because he dies the death of Christ. Not because he rises
the resurrection of Christ in a literal way. But because in Christ he dies
with Christ. And in Christ, he rises with him.
2:20
Now, that is a profound statement. And look at what happens in Verse 20, what
he wants to expand now is the life. The life. This is the life after the
cross. The life after Damascus. The life after faith. He says: The life
-- and let me get this translation right in Verse 20. I am co-crucified with
Christ. It is no longer -- it is no longer I who live. Me, Paul. But Christ
who lives in me. I'm joined to Christ now Paul says. I have Communion with
Christ. So when you see me, you don't see me, you see Christ. Even though
you see my personality, you see my body, it is Christ who lives in me. This
is that incorporation into Christ that justification brings. That baptism
brings.
Now, this is as fundamentally an important doctrine for Paul
as justification by grace through faith. <u>Justification is for the whole
cosmos where what is wrong out there is made right through God through the
cross. Baptism is how that very reality becomes my own personal possession
where Christ now lives in me</u>. And it's no longer I who live but Christ
who lives in me. And as he says: And the life that I now live in my flesh,
in my body, I live by faith. Now, here, look at this translation. I'm going
to translate it a little differently than yours. I live by faith. The faith
of the Son of God. Namely, his faithfulness unto death. And here this
explains what that faithfulness unto death, the faith of the Son of God is.
That is the one who loved me. That is the one who has -- and this echoes the

opening prologue of the epistle to the Galatians -- the one who has given
himself on behalf of me in death. In the atonement. Just like the body and
blood are given on behalf of you for the forgiveness of sins.
Now, look at what we're saying here. We're saying that at the
cross there is a collision between Christ and the law. And that there Paul
dies to the law. The nomistic world, that means the world of the law no
longer is what defines him. What defines him is the Christ that lives in him,
namely, the Gospel. And that comes to him through baptism. And that he lives
now in the same faithful way, obedient unto death, even death on the cross the
way Jesus lived. The one who loved him and gave himself up for him.
2:21
So finally Verse 21 and this brings this extraordinary rich section to an end.
Paul says: I do not nullify the grace of God. He says he's not going to -that grace, that space in which God is making right what has gone wrong, he's
not going to nullify that. Because he says: If justification were through
the law -- in other words if God made things right in the cosmos by means of
our works of the law which is what the Pharisaical Christians are saying,
then Christ died in vain for no purpose. There would be no point to the
atonement then. Because going back to Verse 19, Christ and the law collided at
the cross. And because that happened Paul and all of us who were baptized
into Christ can say the law no longer defines us. I've died to the law. I
died to it through the cross of Jesus Christ. And so it's Christ who lives in
me. And that life I live is his life.

Title: Galatians- Volume 23 - Gal. 3:1- 5


Subject: What does Paul mean in Galatians 3 when he speaks about the hearing of faith and
works of the law?
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1247
Time: 15:15

Galatians 3
English Standard Version (ESV)

By Faith, or by Works of the Law?


3 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was
publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of
the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now
being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vainif indeed it was in vain?
5
Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the
law, or by hearing with faith 6 just as Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as
righteousness?
Q: Paul seems upset with the Galatians as he begins Chapter 3. Why is he so
disturbed and what does he mean when he speaks about the hearing of faith and

works of the law? I think all of us are curious about the use of the
Scriptures in this regard.
A:DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:
At this point in the Galatian epistle there is a shift in Paul's argument.
And really in a sense at the end of the Chapter 2, we've come to the end of
the defense of his apostleship.
If you recall, we just went through a
deeply doctrinal section. And now Paul is going to switch now to beginning
with Chapter 3 a rebuke of them. This is the second rebuke. The first rebuke
was at the very beginning of the epistle when he asked them who -- I'm so
amazed you're turning from the Gospel to another Gospel. Here is his second
rebuke.
This also now will introduce the most densely doctrinal
section of the epistle. This will run through the fourth chapter. So the
next two chapters, Chapters 3 and 4 will be considered the doctrinal section
of the epistle. It is also a deeply exegetical part of the epistle. And what
I mean by that is you're going to see the use of a lot of Bible passages. I'm
going to be responding to that in this chapter in a moment.
3:1
But let's begin with the opening. There is a rebuke here.
And it is a very, very severe one. Even more severe than the one in the first
chapter. What we're going to see as we enter these two chapters is that Paul
is going to try to apply the doctrine of the Old Testament to the Galatians
once again. And he is going to be in an argument with his opponents. So
we're going to have to kind of read between the lines to see what his
opponents might be saying and why Paul responds in the way in which he does.
But you can see Paul, the pastor here. And here not kind of the gentle
shepherd leading his flock. But the very stern shepherd who is rebuking his
flock as he did in the first chapter for even considering going into different
direction from what he taught.
Now, the first two lines: Oh, foolish Galatians, who has
bewitched you? That's how we usually translate it. The word there for
foolish is the word that Jesus uses of the Emmaus disciples when they didn't
read the Old Testament carefully to see that he was the center of the Old
Testament. That throughout the Old Testament shot through from beginning to
end Christ is the center. Not just discrete passages. Not just a golden
thread that kind of weaves its way through but the entire Old Testament has to
do with him. And I think Paul is using this expression in a similar way.
Now, I always tell my students here that when I grew up, we
were not allowed to say at home. If we were to translate it in the
vernacular, we would probably translate it as stupid. Stupid is -- this is
kind of what I would like to say invincible stupidity. They should be able to
remember the way Paul unfolded for them the Old Testament and its meaning in
terms of the Gospel. And so this is a very, very strong chastisement of them.
And then when he says: Who bewitched you? Literally that is who cast a
spell on you? Who gave you the evil eye?
Now I think we have to stop for a moment and reflect on what I
said earlier. These opponents of Paul are extraordinarily good at
communicating their Gospel. They are great rhetoricians. They are great
preachers. And they are persuasive. And like I like to translate this
sometimes in the vernacular, it's almost as if Paul is saying: You must be

on drugs. You must be out of your mind to submit now as grown men to
circumcision as a means of getting right with God. How can you possibly think
that that is a way in which God is making right what has gone wrong. To use
the language, the paraphrase of justification that we talked about in the
previous question.
And then Paul tells them why they should be chastised. And I
think this is a very poignant moment in the epistle where you can see or get
at least a glimpse into Paul's preaching. Because he says to them very
clearly: Before your eyes, before your own eyes, Jesus Christ was publicly
portrayed as crucified. Publicly portrayed as crucified. There Paul is
talking about his preaching. He's talking about how he laid out for them the
crucifixion of Jesus Christ. In all its horror, in all its scandal, in all
its embarrassment.
Now, I don't think that in our culture today we recognize how
severely scandalous Jesus' death was. Not only for the Jews. But also for
Gentiles. In the ancient world -- and this would have been so true of the
people in Galatia -- honor and shame, a person's honor, how they were
perceived by others, what the world thought of them, was in a sense the
ultimate goal, to have honor. The ultimate shame, of course, is the cross.
And in the ancient world, particularly among the Roman culture, the noble
person, the noble death, the noble virtues was highly exalted. And here Paul
is taking a man, Jesus, who is also he proclaims the Son of God. And showing
that he dies the most shameful, the most ignoble death possible.
Now, I think we had a little glimpse of how horrible it is a
few years back when Mel Gibson had his movie "The Passion of the Christ." And
it shocked people. It shocked people because of its violence. And if you
remember, part of the critique was people were saying the movie was too
violent. But I will say this -- and I think this is what Paul was getting at
here -- that movie, the death of Jesus was the most violent moment in the
history of the world. That movie was not violent enough. It didn't show the
total horror and scandal and absolute depravity of the world sins as it killed
Jesus. And I think Paul in his own preaching showed how in this scandal, in
this shame, in this place where Jesus -- and this is the interesting thing.
You know in a lot of the ancient world shame came from being sinned against.
And that was a big part of it. For example sexually abused or you are somehow
mistreated in a way that wasn't your fault. This is a horrible thing. Here
Jesus who is without sin is the most sinned against man in the world. He is
the ultimate shame there. And yet in his shame, he brings honor to the world.
He brings honor to those who live in shame.
Paul preached that Gospel. And he publicly portrayed Jesus
the crucified one. Now, that language is so important. The crucified one.
That he is the one who has given his life. This is the antidote for
foolishness, the proclamation of Christ crucified. Now we can see later on in
his epistles, this is the center of what Paul preaches.
And after talking about how they've been bewitched, after
talking about how the antidote of that is Christ crucified a total irony.
What we call in Lutheran theology, the theology of the cross. That things are
exactly the opposite of what we would expect humanly speaking. After that
Paul gives five rhetorical questions. And these five rhetorical questions are
absolutely critical to understanding the rest of the epistle.
3:2

In Verse 2, he states it very plainly. He says: Let me ask


you this -- he says: This only I wish to learn from you. And this is the
first time that we see the use of the Spirit. Now, isn't that interesting of
the third chapter we've heard about the Father and certainly about the Son.
And now we have the Spirit for the first time. He says: Did you receive the
Spirit by works of the law or by the hearing of faith? And I would like to
translate that. Not as the hearing of faith. But by the proclamation of the
Gospel that elicits faith. I think that's really what he means there.
Now, look at what he's talking about here. He's talking about
the reception of the Spirit. The Spirit of Jesus. The Spirit that gives
life. How does that come? Does it come by our own works? By circumcision?
By keeping the law? Or does it come by hearing the Gospel that then elicits
faith in us? Now, I know that translation may not seem to jump out at you
from the Greek. But that is -- I mean it's a good Lutheran translation. But
that is what Paul is talking about. He just talked about publicly portraying
Christ as crucified. He's talking about the proclamation of the Gospel. And
when you hear the Gospel preached, people believe. That's what the hearing of
faith is. It's a response to the preaching of the Gospel. And here you have,
again, repeated in different language what we heard in the previous section
where he was talking about justification. Works of the law or Christ's
faithfulness and our faith in Christ. There are the two categories. And he's
going to repeat it again in Verse 5. But before he does, he returns to
foolishness.
3:3
foolish?

He says in Verse 3:

Are you so foolish then?

Are you so

And this is again an interpretation now. This is the way Paul


argues. And I think you have to see this. He is a good rabbi. He'll state
something. Then he'll state it again with a tone of interpretation. Now he's
going to interpret a little bit of what he said in Verses 1 and 2. He says:
Having begun in the Spirit -- the Spirit is repeated -- are you now going to
bring this could conclusion in the flesh? Now here you have to have the key
where he refers to flesh here, he means circumcision. So if you've received
the Gospel and believed in the Gospel by means of the Holy Spirit who
proclaimed Christ to you through the preacher, if that is how you received the
Spirit, are you now going to bring all of this to conclusion by being
circumcised? He's going to get even more graphic in a sense and talk in more
kind of even derogative terms of circumcision. But here he is putting the
question plainly. Is it Spirit or is it circumcision? You can't have both.
3:4

And then he goes on in Verse 4. Did you suffer -- and I


think this is an important word -- did you suffer -- meaning did you kind of
bear the humility of Christ after receiving the Spirit in vain? I mean was
this something that was just you know this preaching of the theology of this
cross, this embrace of Jesus and me as he's going to say in Chapter 4 as a
sick man, as a man who is broken and Jesus in his cross, did you embrace that
in vain, if indeed it is in vain he says?
3:5
Really you can see Paul is still rebuking them. And then he
comes back one more time, Verse 5, and he's going to refer to the Spirit
again. But he's going to take it up to the next level. Notice that in Verse
2 he's talking about the reception of the Spirit. Their reception of the
Spirit. Now he's talking about the one who gives the Spirit.

So Verse 5: Does he -- namely, I think the Father here


who supplies the Spirit to you and works powers in you by the Spirit -- and
these are present participles -- even now the one who is supplying the Spirit,
even now the one who is working these powers in you -- and then he comes back
into it again. And they are just beautifully paralleled. Is it by works of
the law or is it by the proclamation of the Gospel that elicits faith? Which
one is it? How does the Father work? Does he work through works of the law?
Does he work through circumcision? Or is that the old dispensation? And now
in Christ, it's a new one.
So you can see in these first five verses, Paul puts it
plainly to them again. Now, I want you to see the brilliance of Paul here.
And as I said earlier, he's one of the most extraordinary intellects in the
history of the world I think. But I want you to see his rhetoric. At the end
of Chapter 2 he puts on the table works of the law and faith. Faith in Christ
and Christ's faithfulness. He now comes back to it but in a little different
way. So he's giving you another look at the same issue but from a different
way. And he brings the Spirit in. And how do you receive the Spirit and the
one who supplies you the Spirit, how does he do that?
So you can see, this is a deeply Lutheran text. You can see
why Luther loved this text. The end of Chapter 2 is objective Gospel. It
also has subjective Gospel, faith in Christ. But now Paul makes it more
personal, the reception of the Spirit, the one who supplies the Spirit. Is it
by your own works or is it by the proclamation that elicits faith? Those are
the two alternatives.
And you can see if you read the history of Christianity, those
are essentially the two issues that are always before us. Many years ago when
I was a seminary student I used to think that it was much more complex than
simply works of the law and Christ's death and our faith in Christ. But you
know what? It's that simple. And the simplicity here of Paul's categories,
two simple categories, one is all God's doing, the other is when we begin to
cooperate with God in some way. Those obtain today. And all you have to do
is turn on the Christian radio stations. All you have to do is tune into our
American Protestant religious culture and you will see that within
Christianity I'm talking about, within Christianity, these two categories are
critical to the way in which we come to understand our God and he comes to us.
Title: Galatians- Volume 24 (Gal. 3:6-10)
Subject: How does Paul structure his response to the arguments about the issues confronting
the Galatians? Does James do this differently?
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1248
Time: 16:35

Galatians 3
English Standard Version (ESV)
6

just as Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness?

Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing
that God would justify[c] the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham,
saying, In you shall all the nations be blessed. 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed
along with Abraham, the man of faith.
The Righteous Shall Live by Faith
10

For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, Cursed be everyone
who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.

Q: How does Paul structure his response to the arguments about the issues
confronting the Galatians? And what does this tell us about how Paul
interpreter interprets Scripture? Did Jesus interpret Scripture differently?

A: DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:


Eric, the question you ask is one of the most important questions for
understanding this next section of Galatians, Galatians 3 and 4. Because what
we're going to be seeing now from this moment on is the way in which Paul
interprets Scriptures over and against his opponents. The arguments from
Scriptures now begin. And I think we need to reflect for a moment on the way
in which Paul understands the Scriptures and argues from them. The way Jesus
does. And the way his opponents do.
Remember what we said about Paul. He was brought up in the
most conservative Pharisaical school in Jerusalem, the No. 1 school, the
school of Gamaliel and he learned a Pharisaical way of interpreting the
Scriptures. It's a rabbinic manner. And by rabbinic we simply mean that they
use proof texts. They go back to the Scriptures. And they pick out passages
that they use to mount an argument. They do what we call Midrash, which means
interpretation of the Scriptures oftentimes by stringing together a number of
Scripture passages. Now, this is typical. This is the way Paul learned. And
this is in a sense the way Jesus argues Scripture.
Remember I said Jesus was closer to the Pharisees and their
conservative interpretation of Scripture than he was to anyone else. And so
Jesus and Paul would be very much at home with one another in the way in which
they interpreted Scripture. So also would Paul's opponents. They all went to
the same school. They all have the same teachers. They all learned the same
method. In fact, this is the method that endures after the fall of Jerusalem
in 70 AD when you have the rabbinic traditions developing in what is called
the Mishnah, which is a great huge volume of rabbinic literature,
interpretations of the scriptures and the ordering of Jewish life after the
destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. So we have a great window into the
mind of those who would have followed in the tradition of Paul and Jesus.
Now, we learn a lot about how they interpreted Scripture here
from Galatians. And I think it's important to recognize that Paul is up
against some people who know how he argues Scripture. And he knows how they
argue Scripture. Now, it's probably difficult to say this with 100% surety.
But we need to look at the passages and ask ourselves: Which ones did Paul
choose and which ones did his opponents choose? Sometimes we'll see Paul

responding to passages that he might not have chosen in his argument about
what the Gospel is. But we know that his opponents have been there. That they
have been using arguments in their own effort to bring about an understanding
of the Gospel plus the law. So it's a very helpful thing to try to read
between the lines as best we can.
Now, the most intense use of Scripture is in the next
paragraph. Verses 6 through 14. And look at it with me. And I want to list
out the passages for you because I want you to see in doing that how many
times Paul quotes Scripture.

In Chapter 3 Verse 6 Paul is citing Genesis 15:6. Exactly as Abraham


believed in God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Now this
is going to be an important passage. I think this is a passage that his
opponents have cited. And I think we need to unpack that a little bit
in a minute.

Then if you drop down to Verse 8, this is two verses later, you will see
that it says that: The Gospel was preached before him to Abraham that
all nations will have their blessing in you. That's Genesis 12 Verse 3.
Genesis 12 Verse 3. Important to recognize that that comes before
Genesis 15.

Then if you drop down to Verse 10 when we talk now about the curse of
the law, Paul is citing here Deuteronomy 27:26. Cursed is everyone who
does not remain in all the things written in the book of the law in
order to do them. And it's important to see that this is the only place
in the Pauline corpus -- and I think this is important to point out I'll
make this again the only place in the Pauline corpus where he cites this
verse. And he talks about a curse. This is also the only place in the
Old Testament where the law and a curse are put together in the same
verse. Now, that's an interesting phenomena, too. Paul didn't have a
computer where he could go through the whole Old Testament and look at
where law and curse come together. But he knew it. And that's part of
his argument. I think this is one of Paul's quotations. Just as I
think Genesis 12:3 is as well.

Then in Verse 11 he quotes Habakkuk 2 Verse 4. The righteous will live


by faith or the righteous by faith will live. Depending on your
translation there. In Genesis 15:6 -- I didn't mention that before
because I wanted to wait until this moment -- and Habakkuk 2 Verse 4,
these are the only two places in the Old Testament where faith and
righteousness are linked in the same verse or in the same context. Now,
that's amazing, too. Genesis 15, Habakkuk 2, the only place those are
mentioned. I think that shows you that Paul is choosing one of the two
texts, I think it's this one that he's choosing in order to counter the
argument of his opponents.

In the next verse, Verse 12, Paul -- and I think this is a Pauline verse
-- quotes Leviticus 18:15 which we would translate: The one who does
them shall live by them. And of course I think he's thinking there of
the law. The one who does the law shall live by the law. That's
Leviticus 18:15.

And then finally, Verse 13, Deuteronomy 21:23: Cursed is everyone who
hangs upon the tree. There the word curse is used again. And I think
this is a uniquely Pauline verse. Going back to Verse 12, the Leviticus
one, that could be his opponents verse, as well. And Paul may be having
to cite it in order to respond to it. But I think when we get to it, we
can discuss whether or not that is the case.

Now, look at that: Genesis 15, Genesis 12, Deuteronomy 27,


Habakkuk 2, Leviticus 18 and Deuteronomy 21. Six citations from the Old
Testament within eight verses. Now, that's extraordinary. What we call that
is a ***catana, in other words, a string of Bible passages in which he's
mounting an argument by means of the text that he cites.
3:6
Now, what's going on here? Well, first of all, in Verses 6 to
9, the issue here is descent of Abraham. And we're going to put on the table
right now at the beginning of this exegetical argument the fact that identity
is the key. Whose are you? To whom do you belong? And I think you can see
his opponents are going to be using the covenant of circumcision with Abraham
as a key -- as a key in their argument to promote circumcision. And they are
going to trump the covenant that was given to Abraham by means of
circumcision. And so Paul has to begin there. And so as I said, I think this
is a passage that Paul would not have normally cited. But he cites it because
it's a passage his opponents cite. And that is that Abraham believed in God
and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.
Now, there's always been a problem for some in this verse
because it looks as if Abraham's faith is the means by which he's reckoned his
righteousness. But I think it's important if you go back to Genesis that the
promise comes before this and the promise is assumed. And so Abraham believes
the promise. And it was reckoned to him as righteousness.
3:7
Now, I think his opponents, Paul's opponents, are playing fast and loose with
the text. Because what they are trying to claim is the covenant of
circumcision trumps the promise that all nations would be blessed in Abraham.
That precedes the covenant of circumcision. And Paul wants to make that very
clear. And so that's why in Verse 7 he goes to the question of identity.
This is a question not only for the Galatians but for us. And again, he uses
that language that I referred to before. And this is very important.
You know he says, you know Galatians, because we've talked
about this. I've preached on this. I've catechized on this. You know then
that those who are by faith -- it's a very simple statement -- they are the
sons of Abraham. Okay. Now, I think by faith here, we have to now see that
when faith is used, it begins with Christ's faith, which means his suffering,
death and resurrection. And our faith in Christ. Now, this is a unique
statement in the Pauline corpus. That our identity is by faith. How do we
know who we are? Because we are like Abraham. We are defined by faith.
Faith in the promise. The promise that God would send a Messiah. Not by
circumcision. But by faith. Now, you can see he's working off that works of
the law hearing that -- hearing of faith, proclamation that elicits faith.
He's working off that now by going to identity is faith.

3:8
And then Verse 8 he really begins to mount his own exegetical
argument. And Verse 8 is a really interesting passage for those who are
interested in how Scripture is to be understood. Knowing that, he says, the
Scripture -- and here this is actually a difficult passage to translate
because Paul goes back and forth between clauses here. In the Scripture
foreseeing that God would declare righteous -- would make right what's gone
wrong. There's justification would declare righteous the Gentiles by
faith, preach the Gospel before them to Abraham saying in you shall all the
nations be blessed.
Now look at what it says. First of all, it says that
Scripture has foresight. Scripture is like kind of like a being here. It's
not kind of like a disembodied word. But Scripture is like alive. It
preaches the Gospel ahead of time. And what it does is it preaches the Gospel
that all nations will be blessed in Abraham. And that includes Gentiles. And
that God is going to declare righteous. God is going to make right what has
gone wrong not only in the world for Jews but for Gentiles, as well. Now,
this precedes the covenant of circumcision. That's Paul's argument. And it's
really quite brilliant. He's going to bring it up later, too, because it is
such a great argument. But you can see that his opponents are ignoring a part
of Scripture. And Paul needs to bring out the full context of Genesis so that
they fully understand what it is that's happening there.
3:9
And then in Verse 9 he goes back now to identity. So that
those whose identity is by faith will be blessed with the faith of Abraham or
with faithful Abraham. Now, notice how do you become a child of Abraham?
Remember that's the big thing about the Jews. We are children of Abraham the
Pharisees say to John the Baptist. And John of course says God can raise from
these stones children of Abraham. And stones there is a reference to
Gentiles. You know, being a child of Abraham is what a Jew is all about.
Paul is saying that it's not by circumcision which the Jews would have claimed
as being the way in which one has descended from Abraham. It's by faith.
It's Abraham's faith. He believed in the promise. And that was reckoned to
him as righteousness. So those whose identity is by Christ's faith and our
faith in Christ, they are the ones who are blessed in the same way as Abraham
was blessed because he was the faithful one.
3:10

And then Verse 10. Verse 10 in a sense starts a new section.


But let's look at that and then we'll take another question. Verse 10 says:
For all those who are relying-- I guess we would say on works of the
law. They are under the power of a curse. Now, I want you to look at that
language. It's very clear. It's a technical term. It's a preposition hupah,
which means under the power of. And this is the first of ten uses of that.
And here -- remember we were talking about how the incarnation is an
Apocalyptic event. I think we have to see that Paul is very much aware that
there are powers out there. God is a power. The devil is a power. The law
is a power. The flesh is a power. Here he is talking about the works of the
law is kind of a cosmic power. And those who kind of bind themselves to that,
they are under the curse.
Now, this would have been scandalous for Paul's opponents to
hear Paul speaking of the law as a curse. But then Paul cites the Old
Testament. This has got to be Paul. His opponents would never have cited

this passage. And as I said, this is unique in Paul. Cursed is everyone who
does not remain in all of the things written in the book of the law in order
to do them. Now, I'm sure you heard this before even in our own culture.
But I think what's happening here in Paul's context is this: The Old
Testament is a big book. There are lots of laws to keep there. And to keep
all of those laws is practically impossible. In fact, it is. And we know
that. I think even his opponents knew that as sinners it's impossible to keep
all of the laws.
Paul is going to say that you can't just pick and choose. The
opponents were doing that. You don't have to keep it all they said. That's
not necessary. Only people like Paul keep all the law. Or James. You know,
you get circumcised, you keep the Sabbath, follow the calendar events, keep
the purity laws, eat kosher foods, you do that stuff, you'll be okay. Paul is
saying no. Once you bind yourself to the law as a means of salvation, you've
got to do it all. And if you don't, you're going to be cursed. That's what
the Bible says. That's what Moses says in Deuteronomy. Now, that is a
powerful statement. And he's going to repeat that later on. But he's saying
very clearly here that the law and the curse are together. Now, keep that in
mind. Because at the end of this chapter it's going -- at the end of this
section -- excuse me -- it's going to talk about how Christ is cursed on the
cross. But cursed is everyone who does not remain, who does not continue,
abide, in everything. Notice, it's everything. All the things that are
written in the book of law, that's the torah, in order to do them.
And that is a very, very powerful statement over and against
his opponents. Because even the Galatians who may not be as sophisticated in
interpreting the Scriptures as Paul and his opponents would, they would
understand in their own lives being somewhat self aware that it was impossible
for them by their own efforts to keep everything in the law. Therefore, they
would be cursed.

Title: Galatians- Volume 25 (Gal. 3:11-14)


Subject: What does it mean that Jesus is cursed on the cross?
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1249
Time: 10:51

Galatians 3
English Standard Version (ESV)
11

Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for The righteous shall live by
faith. 12 But the law is not of faith, rather The one who does them shall live by them. 13 Christ
redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for usfor it is written, Cursed is
everyone who is hanged on a tree 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might
come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

Q: Thank you. I have a different question from this portion of Paul's letter
to the Galatians. What does it mean that Jesus is cursed on the cross?

A: DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:


Josh, you are anticipating here Paul's own argument. And I think you can see
from what we said before about the series of Bible passages that Paul is
referencing here, that he is building his argument. Now, we just talked about
how Paul in quoting Deuteronomy 27 talks about how everyone is cursed who
tries to keep the law. And he now kind of puts before them kind of the
reality of what the Scripture is really teaching. And this is a passage we all
know very well.
3:11
Verse 11 Paul says that no one in the law will be declared
righteous before God. It is evident. He puts that at the end. We have to
translate this one. It is very clear, it is very evident, that no one is
declared righteous before God because -- and here he quotes Habakkuk.
Remember this is only the second place in the Old Testament where
righteousness and faith are together the righteous one by faith will live.
Not by works of the law. But by faith. Now, some translate the righteous one
will live by faith, putting living as kind of the ac September. Righteous by
faith will live. In a sense it amounts to the same thing. But what it does
is make clear -- later on in the prophets when they go back and interpret
Genesis 15:6 where righteousness and faith are in the same verse, the only
other place, that the way in which one is saved, the way in which one is made
righteous by God is not by works of the law but by faith. I should say
declared righteous by God is by faith, not by works of the law.
3:12
Now, that leads into I think a statement which I think perhaps
his opponents used. But Paul was very happy to use, as well. Here is a
passage that if he didn't hear it from his opponents, it's one that Paul would
have cited. And this is Leviticus 18:15. And I think you can see why he
cites it at this point. Having said that the righteous one by faith will
live, he says: But the law is not by faith. Now, this is going to be a
point he's going to make later on. Why then the law? Don't pit the law
against faith Paul is saying. Because he's saying: The Old Testament doesn't
do that. He says: Recognize that the law has its work to do. And faith has
its work to do. But don't make them try to do the same work. We're going to
see how carefully he's going to argue that in the later part of this
doctrinally section of this epistle. But here he puts it before us: The law
is not by faith. These are two different things. And here he quotes that
Leviticus passage that I think is very penetrating: The one who does them
shall live by them. What he's meaning here is but on the contrary. But on
the contrary. The one who tries to keep the law, the one who does the law, is
going to have to live under that.
Now, this is something that I think is pretty evident but I
think we need to illustrate it. Once you go under the law, then that's it.
There's no out. In the ancient world if you were thrown into a debtor's
prison, that was it. There was no way you could pay your way out. Because
there was no way to earn anything unless someone liberated you by paying off
your debt. But you yourself could not work your way out. Because he was in
prison. There was no way for it to happen. I always use this illustration.
I'm a from the East Coast and I'll never forget on the fifth reunion of
college, one of my classmates who was working in Boston came back for the
reunion. And he was a deeply distressed and very, very depressed man. And it
took us a while to get out of him what it was.
And here is the deal:

He had within, you know, the first years out of college had found himself
working for the Mafia. And once you're in the Mafia, that's it. You can't
get out. Your life is there. And he knew that. And he was deeply distressed
that for the rest of his life, he was going to be under their thumb unless
somehow he would simply disappear. But then he would never see his family or
anything like that. You know, once you're in the law, once you try to make
yourself right with God by means of the law, that's it, you're in it forever.
And Paul wants that to be clear. That's why it's a curse. Because there is
no out.
3:13

And so Paul gives the antidote now. And this is the answer to
your question, Josh. Verses 13 and 14 I think are some of the most marvelous
Gospel there is. And it's anticipated in Chapter 2 as we said in the previous
part of the study here that: I died to the law through the law. This is
now where it's explicated by Paul what that means. Verse 13 says: Christ
snatched us, rescued us -- this is the same word that's used in the beginning
of the epistle snatched us out of the curse of the law. The law's curse.
Remember, the law is what curses. Cursed is everyone who does not remain in
all the things written in the book of the law in order to do them. They are
cursed. But Christ snatched us from that curse by becoming on our behalf
cursed. Now, there is the same language Paul uses later on where Christ who
knew no sin, became sin for us. Christ who knew no shame -- I think this is
what we might want to say here became a curse on our behalf. And Paul
cites Scripture here. And it's the most famous passage I think about the
crucifixion in the Pentateuch. For it is written: cursed who is everyone
that hangs on the tree. That's Deuteronomy 21. Notice, that it comes right
before Deuteronomy 27 where the curse of the law is mentioned. Now, the
ultimate curse was the shameful death of being crucified. And there Jesus
redeems us, snatches us back, rescues us from being cursed by the law by
becoming on our behalf a curse. Now, why is that? Well, let's go and
rehearse that again.
On the cross there is this collision between Christ and the
law. Christ who knew no sin becomes sin, becomes shame. And when the law
sees a sinner, it condemns them, it curses them. And it killed him in a
sense. The law killed Jesus. Because it had to bring him to death because he
was the embodiment of the sins of the entire world. It was all laid on him.
And as he collided with that law, it had to result in death. So Jesus becomes
the most accursed man on the cross so that we don't have to be cursed. So
that the law's curse is now fulfilled, satiated, completed in him. That's why
in a sense -- now we're going to see how Paul nuances this -- in a sense the
law no longer obtains for us. The law has been fulfilled, brought to its
complete fulfillment as Paul says in Christ's act of love -- that's what Paul
is going to call it later on. The act of love of giving up his life for us
and becoming a curse for us.
3:14
Now, that is I think one of the most extraordinary statements
of the Gospel, that the law's curse and Christ meet at the crucifixion and
results in the death of Jesus. Now, look at what he says in 14 and this is a
beautiful statement of purpose why this happened. He becomes cursed for us
so that, in order that, in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham -- notice
the blessing of Abraham, he comes back to Abraham where he began, might come
to the Gentiles. So the curse of Jesus on the cross results in the blessing
of Abraham extending to all nations. Exactly what God promised to Abraham in
Genesis 12 cited earlier by Paul. And in order that -- and this is a second

purpose clause in order that we -- notice now he talks about we. We


might receive the promised Spirit -- remember how he talked about the
receiving of the Spirit. We might receive the promised Spirit through
faith. How did you receive the Spirit? Works of the law or the proclamation
that elicits faith?
Notice that he goes from the blessing of Abraham to Gentiles.
So he's not talking about Jews. Just the Gentiles but Jews are of course
included. And then he says we might receive. Now you have to look at Paul in
his personal context. Paul is a Jew. Pharisee of Pharisees. Top in his
class. Greatest exegete in the world. And here he's saying alongside these
Gentile Galatians, there's mercenaries, these pagan sinners, that he, Paul,
the Jew of Jews, and these pagan soldiers receive the Spirit in the same way.
They receive the promise of the Spirit by faith.
He uses the word promise there to go back to Abraham. The
promise that was given to Abraham that in his flesh all nations would be
blessed. That promise trumps the covenant of circumcision. So that even
though in the Old Testament you could tell you were a Jew by means of
circumcision. The larger promise to all nations as we saw in the Acts 15
citation of Amos by James, the bishop of Jerusalem, the teaching of the Old
Testament is that the promise to Abraham that all nations including Gentiles
would be blessed in his loins is now what is brought to fulfillment when
Christ is cursed on the cross.
Title: Galatians- Volume 26 (referring back to the OT Scriptures cited in Gal. 3:6-14)
Subject: Would the Galatian Christians would have known of the Scriptures Paul is quoting?
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1250
Time: 4:12

Q: I want to ask about the giving of the law on Mt. Sinai, but before I do
so, may I ask if the Galatian Christians would have had prior knowledge of the
Scriptures Paul is quoting?
A: DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:
Eric, this is a great question and one that I probably should have referred to
earlier. You know, it's always hard to know how much Paul preached and
catechized the Galatian Christians. And even to, you know -- the duration of
time that he was there. If what I said is true -- and I firmly believe that
it is, namely, that the Galatians who are Gentiles, they certainly would have
been familiar with Judaism. But not the Scriptures.
And so anything they learned about the Scriptures would have
come from Paul. Now, Paul would have been as a rabbi, as a teacher of the
Scriptures, as a teacher of the law, would have been intent on teaching the
Scriptures to them. And I think that what -- I mean obviously he couldn't
teach the whole Old Testament. But he would have given them a full glimpse of
what it's like to understand the essence of the Old Testament in terms of its
messianic, namely, what it said about Christ and what it said that would have
been pertinent for their life.
Now, I don't know if you're familiar with these groups that do
the Bible in an hour kind of a thing. I mean, if you sit down with somebody
intensely and talk to them about the Scriptures, you can communicate quite a
bit. I know that in one week of intense, you know, teaching, I can portray an
awful lot about the New Testament for example to give people a big glimpse

into it. So I think that they were very well versed in the Scriptures. Now,
obviously not like Paul or his opponents. But they would have recognized
these passages. They would have been able to capture the nuances he was
speaking about. They would have heard echoes in what Paul was saying here in
his teaching before among them.
And I think it's important to recognize that these folks would
have been very, very able and agile in getting at the meaning that Paul was
after. Now, I think just translating that to our day today, I think everybody
says and I think to a certain extent this is true, we live in a biblically
illiterate culture. At the same time, however I think we don't give our folks
credit enough of their intelligence and their ability to grasp the Scriptures.
I think one of the reasons why people don't understand the
Scriptures is that people who teach it don't teach it or understand it in such
a way that it comes across. I have found that whenever I've been able to open
up Scriptures for folks, that they just drink it up. And they remember it,
too. And it's a part of their formation as Christians. And I'm talking about
people who are being catechized towards baptism or towards entrance into the
church. They drink it up. And they remember it. And when I preach on
something or when I refer to it, they do recall what was taught to them by me.
So I think we need to not only step up the level of our biblical instruction
in our churches. But we should give our folks credit for having the capacity
to learn these things.
Certainly there's a lot more kind of noise out there with all
of the media that we're bombarded with so that unlike at the time of Paul
where there was really very, very little media, you know Paul would have been
the main attraction to a great extent. But at the same time I still believe
very strongly that congregations can come to an understanding of Scripture,
both then and now, so that they can grasp the meaning of these texts as they
are being interpreted to them by Paul and by us.

Title: Galatians- Volume 27 (Gal. 3:15-18)


Subject: What is the point of Paul's argument where he appeals about Abraham and the giving
of the law to Moses?
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1251
Time: 14:32

Galatians 3
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Law and the Promise
15

To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds
to it once it has been ratified. 16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It
does not say, And to offsprings, referring to many, but referring to one, And to your
offspring, who is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does
not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void. 18 For if the

inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a
promise.
Q: Thank you. Your comments helped to clarify the position of the Galatian
Christians. Now, to move us forward, let me ask you a larger question: Paul
clearly seems interested in the law in this letter to the Galatians. He even
goes back to the institution of the law on Mt. Sinai. What is the point of
his argument where he appeals about Abraham and the giving of the law to
Moses? Are Paul's references to law in this letter identical to his
references to the law in his letter to the Romans?
A: DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:
At this point in Paul's argument, after the statement about Jesus being cursed
on the cross, Paul now in a sense retreats a little bit. Not in terms of his
confidence that his argument is going to make it's way with the Galatians.
But he retreats by going back and rehearsing with them the meaning of the law
and what the law is all about. And he needs to place this in the context of
salvation history. Now, this is a very, very important part of the argument.
And I think you can see here that Paul is somebody who sees the larger
historical context in a different way from his opponents. And what the law
and the giving of the law to Moses on Mt. Sinai means is different to Paul
than it is to his opponents. And this is where he, in a sense now, lays that
out.
Now, he begins -- and this section needs to be divided into
two sections. I'm talking about 15 to 25. 15 to 18 he's talking about the
difference between law and promise. And then in 19 to 25, he's talking about
the difference between law and faith of Christ. And he's in a sense here
going to bring forward two motifs. One is what is the precise nature of the
covenantal promise made by God to Abraham. What was that all about? And then
secondly, the sharp differentiation of the promise from the law. Now, he is
going to make a very simple point. And that is that the law came much later
than the promise to Abraham. And therefore, is secondary. That the blessing
given to Abraham in Genesis 12, the inheritance is for Jews and Gentiles, that
takes precedence over the law.
And I mean here you've got to go back and read Genesis 12,
Genesis 15, and then Genesis 17. Genesis 17 is what he's going to be citing
in Verse 16. And before we get there, I think we have to talk a little bit
about the context of Genesis 17. Genesis 17 is the key chapter because there
you are going to see that there are three promises. Three promises given to
Abraham:
The first promise is that he would inherit the land of Canaan. Now
that's very important for the Jews. And of course in many ways, that
is what kind of drove their understanding of who they were. That they
had inherited this land given to them by God.
The second promise is related to the covenant of circumcision. Now,
this is the promise that Paul's opponents are highlighting. That this
is the key to understanding Abraham, the circumcision covenant.

The third promise is that the Gentiles are all blessed in Abraham.
Now, that is the promise that matters to Paul.
Of the three promises, Paul picks one. His opponents pick one. But they are
different ones. All three of them are there. And I think historically
speaking -- and I think here we would agree with Paul, the land of Cana and

the promise of circumcision are historically conditioned. But the promise


that all nations will be blessed in Abraham is an eternal promise. Now, that
is a very important point because if you don't see that you'll have a very
difficult time differentiating the two arguments between Paul and his
opponents.
3:15

Now, let's look at the text here for a moment. Verse 15, Paul
calls them brethren. Remember, that's an endearing term. Part of the family
of God. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. God is our Father. Jesus is
our brother. And together in the church we are brothers and sisters in
Christ. And he says: I am speaking according to man literally, but he says
what I'm going to do is I'm going to give you a human example here that
everybody can understand. And it's a very simple one. He says: When there
is a covenant, a man-made covenant -- we're talking now just about a simple
covenant or testament, you know, or if you want to call it will or testament.
And I think will or testament is a better translation here. A man-made will,
no one can annul it, no one can add a codicil to it.
Now, that's not only true for the time of Paul and the time of
Abraham, that's true today. You know, just the other day my Father and I went
down to the lawyer to talk about his will. He's moved to Indiana. There are
some different things going on here. So he wants to revise his will. I
cannot add to that will. I cannot annul it. Only my Father can. No one can
do that. That, humanly speaking, is a given. We all can understand that. And
Paul wants to say then that that's the same thing if you translate it over
into the covenants that God makes with us.
Now, remember what a covenant is. A covenant is where God -I mean -- let's back up and say what is a covenant between human beings. A
covenant is where we make an agreement. And usually they would call about it
as cutting a covenant. And they would take the animal. And they would cut it
in two. And there would be a space between them. And if you and I were to
make a covenant with one another, you know, an agreement of some sort, then we
would both walk between the animal. And by doing that, we would say to one
another that if any one of us broke that covenant, we could render the other
like this animal. We could cut them in two. Which is kind of an interesting
thought, isn't it? When God makes a covenant, though, he's the only one that
goes through the animal. And if you remember in Genesis the covenant with
Abraham with the smoking pot, which was the presence of God. And Abraham
didn't go through there because it's a unilateral covenant.
3:16

Now, Paul is building on that concept, this unilateral


covenant, when he's talking about the covenant made with Abraham. And look at
Verse 16. And here you have to notice that the promises is in the plural.
Like I said, there were three promises. Verse 16 says the promises that were
made, that were added to Abraham and to his seed -- now, that's singular. The
promises is plural. Three promises, Cana, circumcision, all nations blessed
in Abraham. And to his seed. Singular. It does not say and to seeds, Paul
says as to many. But as to one and to your seed, who is Christ.
Whoa. Now that's an amazing interpretation. Nobody else I
think up until this point had ever made an interpretation of that text like
had this one. And what he is doing here, Paul is, is showing the kind of
interpretation of Scripture that he and Jesus are doing now after the

incarnation of Jesus. And that is a radical <u>christological namely


interpreting the Scriptures in terms of Jesus</u>.
Now, I think the Jews may have seen this as a reference to the
Messiah. But they saw these promises being fulfilled through the generations,
through the loins of the people in Israel who contain the seed of the Messiah.
I don't think they saw that there was a direct link between the promise given
to Abraham and Christ that kind of jumped over all of Old Testament history
and found it's place then in Christ. Now, that's what Paul is saying. Paul
is saying that the promises are given directly to Christ. And if you think
about those three promises, they all come to fulfillment in Christ.
Jesus coming to the Promised Land is himself now the Promised Land.
He's heaven it self. He is where we now have our being.
Jesus in his circumcision brings an end to circumcision. Jesus sheds
his blood on his eighth day and for all intents and purposes, all of
humanity is circumcised as him. And that's the end of it.
And Jesus dies not just for the Jews but he dies for all of the people
of God. And that promise, that the seed of Abraham, who is Christ, now
brings salvation to all people is the promise that matters.
And that is exactly, exactly what Paul wants to say here. That it's not to
the many seeds, but it's just to the one seed. But it's all about going from
Abraham to Christ. Now, if you do that, if you go from Genesis to the New
Testament, what you skip over is the law. And that shows you that the intent
of the promise of Abraham was to find it's end in Christ. Not in the law
given to Moses. That is the point of his argument.
3:17

Now, if you go onto Verse 17 and 18, you're going to see that
he now explains this. And this is where you can see very clearly that Paul's
interpretation of God's promise to Abraham finds it's end in Christ and then
the salvation of the Gentiles. This is what he says. And this is now -- I'm
in Verse 17. He says: This is what I mean. This is what I'm saying.
The law which came -- and this is interesting 430 years afterward does
not annul a covenant previously ratified by God. So as to make the promise
null and void. Now, this is where he tells you how he sees the law. The law
is a parentheses. The law comes 430 years after the promise given to Abraham.
And it is not something that like a will and testament of a human being, when
it comes, annuls or adds to the promise. It is simply a parentheses. And he
is in Verse 19 going to explain to us what it is, that the law is all about.
But here he puts it in its historical context. And it's important to
recognize that the law does not annul the promise, the covenant, given to
Abraham that came 430 years earlier.
3:18
And he goes onto explain what he means by that. And here in
Verse 18, you can see that he uses now for the first time the language of
inheritance. For if the inheritance of Abraham -- and these are the progeny of
Abraham. And these are both uncircumcised Gentiles and Jews. In other words,
that which creates -- or let's put it this way: The church creating spirit of
Christ, that's the inheritance. That if this inheritance comes by the law,
then it is no longer by the promise. But God has gifted it to Abraham by
means of the promise. Now, here you've got to see that the law is not
opposed to the promise in a sense that's what Paul's opponents are doing.
They are setting the law and the promise against one another.

And Paul is saying very clearly: Hey, listen. The law is


great. I'm not against the law. But don't try to make the law the promise or
the promise the law. They are two different things. They came at two
different times. They are historically conditioned. And the law does not in
any way nullify the promise. Now, the law is not opposed to the promise. And
I think it's important to say this. And the reason why the law is not opposed
to the promise is because:
the law is not able to give life. It does not compete with the promise
in giving life. He's going to say that. That's important.
Secondly, it has a different function from the law. It's to shut up
everything under sin's power. This is the argument that he's going to
make in the next section. So that's what the law does. You know, the
law actually points you to the promise.
And then third, and this is related, the law closes every door of
access to God except Christ's faith and our faith in Christ.
So the law is not opposed to the promise. It just does different things. And
as he says: If the inheritance -- in other words, that which creates the
church, that which creates children of Abraham and makes them part of his
inheritance. If that's not by the promise, then it's not the inheritance.
Because God gave this promise to Abraham. Not by means of the law. But by
means of grace. And that's why he uses the word gifted. He granted it. He
gifted it to them.
This is a space in which God is making right what has gone
wrong. That is what the promise is about. The law does not make right what
has gone wrong. It can't. He's already talked about that. And he's building
on that now in terms of his interpretation of the Abrahamic covenant. And so
at this point what we see is that Christ is the true heir of the promise of
Abraham. And if one is united with Christ in his life, then we receive the
same inheritance that was promised to Abraham and is now fulfilled in Christ.

Title: Galatians- Volume 28 (refers back to Gal. 3:15-18)


Subject: How does Paul's speaking of the Law differ between Romans and Galatians?
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1252
Time: 5:57

Q: May I ask that you touch upon my question regarding the relationship of
this material to Romans?
A: DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:
One of the great things about reading the epistles of Paul is to recognize
that like all of us, he is a man who is in process. And if Galatians is his
first epistle, there is a development in the way in which he argues his case
throughout his missionary journeys over a period of ten years. I think all of
us can identify with that. That we are all people who are maturing and
growing and expanding.
I also think it's important to recognize that there is a
different context to the various letters. And I think you can see here that
in the letter to the Galatians, these are people he knows extremely well.
These are people that he has a deep relationship with and a love for, a

passion for. That they are his children and he is their pastor. And this is
-- I mean, I always say this is Paul unplugged. This is Paul, the authentic
Paul. The Paul who is just brimming with pastoral love for this congregation.
The letter to the Romans is totally different. He never met these folks.
He's writing before he had ever gone there. And as you read Romans, you can
see that he is writing it in a totally different way.
But what's so interesting about comparing Galatians and Romans
is that he introduces many of the things that he develops in Romans first in
Galatians president and then Romans becomes a more systematic, a more
detailed, a more doctrinal kind of explication of the things that he has said
in Galatians. Now, with respect to this, you can see that in Romans, he spends
a lot more time developing this relationship between Christ and Abraham. And
I think what you can see in Romans -- and I'm not an expert in Romans so I
don't want to presume here upon my colleagues who are. But I think it's fair
to say that what you can see in Romans is that Paul is taking the Abraham
material that Paul first refers to in Galatians. And he's showing very
clearly that the promise and the law are completely separate things. And what
he's trying to say here in Galatians he expands in Romans in such a way this
it leads into the most profound and developed section on justification by
grace through faith.
as you -Galatians
have said
important

Now, in a sense, they are very parallel. And you can see how
I mean, I always find it so interesting to read Romans after knowing
the way I do. Because a lot of what you were hoping that Paul might
in Galatians to explain himself is found in Romans. So it's really
to read Galatians and Romans together.

Now, when it comes to the Abraham covenant, it's very clear


that that passage from Galatians 15, Abraham believed and it was reckoned to
him as righteousness is what is the -- kind of the founding, you know, source
of both Galatians and Romans in developing the significance of Abraham. And
it's all about righteousness, God making right what has gone wrong, and faith.
And what you can see is that in both Galatians and Romans, the reason why
Abraham is highlighted is because the righteousness, the promise that is given
to him, the way in which God is going to make right what has gone wrong, is
something outside of Abraham. Abraham in no way contributes to it. In fact,
as you read about Abraham in the Old Testament, you're really kind of shocked
that somehow -- the way he deals with things. And you know the story. And we
don't have time to go into it. But it really is. You can see he's a very
human person.
So God does act outside of Abraham. And yet when Abraham sees
that promise -- and especially in his old age the promise that he's going to
give birth to a son, to his wife who is beyond childbearing age. And that
this son is going to be the one in whom all the nations are going to be
blessed. And then when he's asked to give this son up as a sacrifice, and
he's willing to do that. You can see that Abraham embodies the very thing
that Christ is. A man of faith who is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice
so that God's kingdom can come. Now, of course, Abraham doesn't have to make
that sacrifice. Because he is not the Christ. He is not the Messiah.
But you can see in the promise given to Abraham, the
righteousness which is outside of him, which is one of the great Lutheran
themes, and the faith that he has in that promise, willing even to go to the
death of his son is the great model for what we see in Christ. And Paul here
in Galatians does it very simply. You know, the seed. The singular. That

singular seed who is Christ. Romans then takes that and expands it. To show
you exactly what that means. And therefore, in a sense, this is what I would
say is that Romans to use the language of the Jews is a Midrash on Galatians.
And to understand Galatians fully, just read Romans. Because there Paul
explicates it in it's fullness.
Title: Galatians- Volume 29 (Gal. 3:19-25)
Subject: What is the relationship between the law and the promise?
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1253
Time: 17:35

Galatians 3
English Standard Version (ESV)

The Law and the Promise

19

Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to
whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary.
20
Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one.
21

Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that
could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned
everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who
believe.
23

Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith
would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might
be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian,

Q: The question the Galatians ask of Paul is the one we want to ask, as well.
Why then the law? What is the relationship between the law and the promise?
Why does Paul speak of the law as an imprisoning jailer.
A: DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:
David, you're right. I mean, at this point after talking about how the law
comes, we're wondering. Why then is there a law? What's the point of view
the law. And Paul, you can see being a good catechist, a good teacher is just
following along with his congregation here in writing this letter knowing that
this is the question that's on the table. Why then the law?
3:19

And that's what he asks


here you have perhaps one of the most,
that you will see. And it's all based
Paul is doing here is telling us about

in Verse 19. Why then the law? And


oh, convoluted interpretations of Paul
on one simple little word. And what
the genesis of the law. Why the law

comes. And he says very simply: It was added -- and here is how you
translate this: It was added either on account of transgressions or in order
to revoke transgressions or whatever. Let me just look at the ESV here. It
says: It was added because of transgressions. A very simple translation.
Now, that word is a very difficult word. And I want to suggest to you that
there are four ways of understanding Verse 19 here and this particular
statement. And I want to tell you what the various interpretations have been.
And then I want to highlight the one that I think it is.
First of all, this has been translated that the law was added
in order to produce or provoke transgressions. In other words, the
transgressions were there. But the law actually produced them by showing
people their sin. Now, to a certain extent we can go with that. But I think
that's probably not the best way to understand it. A second way of
understanding it is this: That the law was added to identify humanity's
sinfulness as conscious transgression. Now, those of us that learned the
three uses of law, we would say that this is where the law is a mirror. That
when the law comes, we recognize our transgressions. It doesn't produce them.
But it shows us our sin. And I think that's very, very true. Also, I think
the law could be said was added to restrain transgressions. To pose a
restraint to human sin. Again, that's one of the three uses of law. The
first use as a curb to keep people from sing. So here is the law. And whoa.
You look at the law and say: If that's what the law means, then I'm not going
to do that so I'm not going to continue to sin. It's going to provide a
restraint for me from sinning. The fourth interpretation is to provide a
remedy for transgressions. Now, this is very wrong. This is the opponents'
understanding of the law. That yeah, the promise was there. The promise was
great. But it was not enough. So God had to produce the law as a remedy for
transgressions. And now the law was going to be a means of salvation.
Now, there you can see that what Paul's opponents are doing
with promise and law is exactly the same thing that they are doing now with
the Gospel and the law. Promise and Gospel is the same. And the law is
something that's added later on, 430 years later, to restrain people, to show
them their sins. And the fifth one, let me give you that one now. Because of
the transgressions of Israel, the golden calf. That's the historical context.
That's why it was given. It wasn't given to provoke transgressions. To kind
of produce them. And it wasn't given as a remedy as transgressions. It was
given as we would say in it's first and second uses to provide for us a
restraint of sin and to show us our sin. That's why the law was added.
And it was added until a certain point. Look at Verse 19 again. Until which
time the seed came to whom it was promised. So there Paul is going back and
say: Yeah, the law was a parentheses: Until the Christ came. And he tells
us how the law was delivered.
Now, if you might remember in the first chapter: Even an
angel from heaven should preach to you a Gospel contrary to which you
received, let him be accursed. Well, here's that reference to angel. And as
I said, this is not found in Exodus. It's not found in the Old Testament.
This is an intertestamental tradition. But it's one that everybody accepted.
And it was put into place, that is the law, the law was established, so to
speak, instituted by angels in the hand of a mediator. And that's Moses. So
it's the angels who delivered the law to Moses. And instituted it. Now, that
shows you. And Paul makes reference to this. And this is why for law -- for
Paul the law is good. The law comes from God. It comes from angels. And
it's given to Moses, the mediator. But what the teachers are saying, the

opponents of Paul are saying is that because it was delivered by angels to


Moses, now we as messengers of God, as angels, we are now showing that that
same law given to Moses is being given to you, Galatians, as a means of
salvation. Now, this is very important to make this distinction.
3:20
And Paul then goes to Verse 20 here to try to help them to see
that this is a difference of understanding of the law. This is one of the
hardest verses to interpret in Galatians. In fact, one commentator said that
there are 100 different interpretations for Verse 20. I don't think it's that
hard. But he says: The mediator is not one. Okay. The mediator is not
one. Namely, Moses is not one. He is a mediator. But God is one. And I
think what he's saying here, Paul is, is that when you have a mediator like
Moses, and angels who are also in a sense serving as mediators, that this is
not expressing the oneness of God. That this is something that God must do on
account of transgressions. Because the golden calf and the children of Israel
needed a restraint to sin and something to show them their sin. God is one.
His promise is one. And when he speaks directly to Abraham about the promise,
he doesn't use angels. He doesn't use a mediator. He doesn't have somebody
else. He goes directly to Abraham. And that's because Abraham and his seed,
Christ, is one. And I think you can see here that the promise is singular.
The laws are many.
3:21
Now, that's an important point when he goes on in Verse 21. When he
says: Therefore, the law is not according -- no. He says it in a question:
Therefore is the law according to the promises of God? Let it not be so.
See, the law and the promises do not belong together. They are different
things. And he says: Why? Now, this is what I was saying earlier. This is
why the law is not opposed to the promise because they are doing different
things. If a law was given that was able to give life -- now I think that is
a synonym for justification. Making right what has gone wrong. If there was
a law that could give life -- that is, make right what has gone wrong -therefore, out of the law righteousness would be. Righteousness would be out
of the law.
But it's not. It's not. Because making right what has gone
wrong, I think that's why you can make those as synonyms because they are in
the same sentence. The mosaic law never was God's intention, God's gift, if
you want to use it that way, God's grace for making right what has gone wrong.
That is not what it's about.
The law as we're going to see was an
imprisoning jailer. It was something that kind of kept people from sinning
and going away from the covenant. A way of keeping them kind of on the track.
Here is kind of third use of the law in a way. But it was never the means by
which God intended to save people.
3:22

And so in Verse 22 he says: But the Scriptures -- and this


is an important statement. But the Scripture I should say it singular.
But the Scripture in prison shut up everything, all things, all things,
under the power of not law but sin. Now that's a little change here. And
notice the power of. Sin is a cosmic power, too. Just like the law is. Now,
why did the Scriptures shut up all things under the power of sin? And this
is interesting. In order that the promise would be given by the faith of
Jesus Christ to those who were believing.

What the law does is it shows us our sin. And when -- and
here I think the Scripture is in a sense simply a synonym for the law. The
Scripture, which contains the law, shows us our sin and shuts us up in a jail.
So that through the law, we see our sin and in seeing our sin, we see that we
are incapable of making ourselves right with God. And that is done so that we
can see that it's all about -- look at the language here -- in order that the
promise would be given first by Christ's faithfulness. And here he says
Christ Jesus' faithfulness unto death. Even death on a cross. To those who
believe in Christ's death. Now, there are the two alternatives. Law is sin.
And here he says it's shut up, imprisoned. Or Christ's faith and our faith in
Christ. Which is the way of salvation?
3:23

Now, note that language of should get up in prison. Should


get up in prison. Because now in 23, 24 and 25, he's going to explain what he
means by that. And I think this is one of the most really kind of beautifully
crafted sections of Paul's epistle. And we're going to make a little break
here. Not all the translations do this. But we're going to make a little
break after 25. Because I think going into 26 I think we have a whole new
section.
Now, listen to the language here. Listen to how he's now
talking about the era of the law, which is the Old Testament. Even though he
doesn't use that language here. But he's going to contrast it to the era of
faith. He says: Now, before faith came -- before the era of faith,
Christ's faith and our faith in Christ we were imprisoned. You know, we
were held captive under the power of the law. That's the life Paul lived as a
Pharisee before the cross. That's his nomistic life in which he lived
according to the mosaic Sinaitic covenant. That's what happened before Christ
came. And he says very clearly: Imprisoned until the coming faith would be
revealed. Now, look at that. Imprisoned until the faith that was about to
come would be Apocalyptically revealed. Now there faith is invasively
revealed. Just like Christ is invasively revealed in the incarnation.
Here it's faith. And I think that the language here of faith
is simply a metaphor for Jesus. When faith comes, that means Jesus comes.
When he comes, everything changes. The whole cosmos changes. The way in
which we look at reality changes. And of course that finds it's culmination
in the cross as Paul has already said. Where Christ is cursed because he is
under the power of the law there. And the law kills him.
3:24
Now, look at Verse 24. You have first the result clause and
then a purpose clause. So Verse 23: Before faith came we were enslaved,
held captive under the power of the law. Imprisoned until the faith that
was about to be revealed, Apocalyptically revealed came. So that, with the
result that, the law has become our imprisoning jailer. And here it's until
Christ came. Now, that's the point of the law. And the pedagogus, the
pedagogue, pedagogy, the word for education, that's the word that's being used
here. And interestingly in the ancient world, a pedagogue, you know, you say
I'm a Father and I have sons and I gave them over to a pedagogue, he's
basically like a jailer to them. They are considered slaves. Paul is going
to say that later on. You know, they are not a son. They are a slave. Until
it comes time for the inheritance. And that's what a pedagogue does. He kind
of -- he makes their life almost as if they are in jail. And that's what the
law did. It put us in jail until Christ came. It was an imprisoning jailer.

So that, in order that, we might be declared righteous by faith.


faith and our faith? Christ. Because that's the era of faith.

Christ's

So there you can see the law is not a friend. The law is a
power that enslaves us, puts us in jail. And we're freed when Christ, the one
who is the faithful one and who we now believe in declares us righteous,
justifies us if you want to make that statement or declares what was wrong now
right.
3:25
And then Verse 25, this is a conclusion. But again, it uses
that same kind of sense of the coming of faith. But now that faith has
come. I think that's the way. Yeah. But now that faith has come, we are
no long under the power of -- and look at that hupah, same word, under the
power of the enslaving jailer, the imprisoning jailer. That is the law.
Because now we're in the era of faith, that is now that the Gospel has come
because Christ has come, that which we believe, now that that has come, we are
in a position now to see that the law is not enslaving us because we have been
freed in Christ.
Now, I think you can see that this is a very complicated
argument. And yet at the same time it's very, very simple. Is it Christ? Or
is it the law? Is salvation through Christ alone? Or is salvation through
Christ and works of the law? If works of the law imprison us, then why? Why
would we want to be back in prison?
Now, this is going to be a key point to Paul's argument in the
future. He is saying to the Galatians: Before you came to faith, when you
were unbelievers, you were imprisoned under the power of sin. Why would you
want to replace the enslavement of sin with another enslavement? To be
enslaved under the law? That's the way it was for me before Christ came,
before I was converted to Christ at Damascus. Why would you go back to that?
I preach to you the freedom of the Gospel says Paul to the Galatians. I have
set you free in Christ. Christ has freed you by his becoming a curse on
behalf of you. So why would you want to go back to your former lifestyle?
Why would you like to become what is the equivalent of a pagan? It's a
different jail. But it's still a jail.
Now, this is going to be the powerful argument that's going to
be building from this point on. And I think you can see that Paul makes it
very clear that with the coming of faith, with the coming of Christ, this era
of faith, we're now no longer living under the power of the law. And really
we're no longer living under the power of sin. Because through Christ who
took our sin upon himself and was killed by the law, cursed by the law on the
cross, we now live as members of Christ in the era of faith.
Title: Galatians- Volume 30 (Gal. 3:26-29)
Subject: What is the point Paul makes at the end of Chapter 3 and the beginning of 4?
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1254

Time: 14:13

Galatians 3
English Standard Version (ESV)

26

for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were
baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave[g]
nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are
Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.

Q: I've read that some scholars believe that the climax to Paul's letter and
his argument against his opponent occurs at the very end of Chapter 3 and the
beginning of Chapter 4. Why does Paul refer to baptism at this point? And why
is there no mention of law or justification? What point is he trying to make
here?
A:DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:
Thank you, Nick. This is a point that I think all scholars recognize.
Whether they call it the climax or not. But all scholars recognize this as a
real turning point in the epistle. Now, some will include Verses 26 through 29
with Verses 23, 24, and 25. But I think there is a break here. But there's
also a very intimate connection between this section and the previous section.
3:26-29; 4:1-7
Now, if you look at the text with me, I want you to observe
something here that I think is very interesting. Because if you go back to
Verse 16, Chapter 3 Verse 16 where Paul in citing Genesis 17 says: And to
your seed which is Christ, there's a natural move right from there, from
Verse 16 to Verse 26. For all of you are sons through faith in Christ Jesus.
For as many of you as were baptized -- you could go boom, right there. You
can move directly -- you could really move directly even to 27. For as many
of as you were baptized in Christ, you put on Christ. So what happens
between Verse 16 and Verse 26 is a bit of an interlude. And I think that what
he does now in 26 is he goes back and picks up the inheritance of Abraham.
What it means to be a child of Abraham, a son of Abraham. And I agree with
those scholars. That we are in the heart of Galatians. That this is about
descent from Abraham as it is now to be seen as incorporation into Christ.
And this is descent in a radically new way. That you are now
going to be called sons of God. You're going to be heirs. And what you see
Paul doing here -- and I think this is fair. I mean, this may sound a little
strange to you. But he's not only exegeting Scripture, which he's been doing
all along. But now he's going to be exegeting namely interpreting what I
think is a baptismal text. A liturgical tradition. And I think you're going
to see that he's combining Scripture and tradition here, which is something
that the early church did in its liturgical rites, particularly in baptism.
Now, I would break down this whole section Verses 26 to 29 as one section.
And then 1 to 7 as another section. And there I would break it down into 1
and 2 and then 3 through 7. But this is all to be understood as a piece, too.
I think this is one separate passage.

Now, I want to point some things out before we go on.


In Verse 26, Paul talks about them as being sons of God.
In Verse 29, he talks about them as being heirs.

He begins with them as son. He ends with them as heirs. Now, that's a very
important point. So the new identity, the new person in Christ is son and
heir.
Then he picks up with the language of heir in Verse 1. He talks there
about how humanly speaking again what an heir is, even though he is an
heir of the estate, he is also going to be a slave.
And then in Verse 3, it's really a climatic moment in this epistle where
he moves through what it means to be a son, adoption, he uses the
language of adoption.
And he says in Verse 6: Therefore, because you are sons. And then he
ends: That you are heirs of God. So he uses the sonship heir all the
way through here. And that's why I think this is a discrete section.
3:26-29
Now, let's look very briefly at the first four verses here, Verses 26 through
29. A very famous passage in Paul's letters. One that you probably know very
well.
And I want you to observe a few things. And you've already
anticipated some of these things, Nick.
First of all, I want you to see that Christ is used five times. It's
used in Verse 26, twice in 27. It's used in 28 and 29. Five times,
Jesus is used twice. At the very beginning and look -- in the end it's
***incristo yasu but in Christ Jesus. And that same expression is used
at the end of 28. In Christ Jesus. There's Jesus connected with
Christ.
Faith is used in Verse 26. But then is not used again in this entire
section down to Verse 7. Faith is only used in the first verse and then
not used again.
And as you observed, there's no mention here of circumcision. There's
no mention of justification. There's no mention of the law. What is at
the center here is baptism.
And then in Verses 3 through 7 really both the incarnation and atonement
and then our baptism into Christ, which is used -- Paul uses different
language in Verse 6 to describe what that baptism looks like.
3:26
Now, I think what you might say <u>the theme of the first four verses of this
section is incorporation into Christ.</u> What does it mean to be in Christ
Jesus? Now, that is a formula for Paul throughout all his letters. What does
it mean to be in Christ Jesus? And that's how he begins. For all of you are
sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Now, this is talking about our
faith in Christ Jesus. And he calls us sons. The masculine here is very
important we're going to see because Jesus is the Son and we are his sons.
And then what he does after bringing forward kind of the basic statement, sons
by faith in Christ Jesus, he explains what that means and how that happens.
3:27
It happens in baptism. Verse 27. For as many of you as were
baptized into Christ, you see that language into Christ? Faith in Christ
Jesus. Baptized into Christ. There's really a sense of Communion here with
Christ. That mystical union between us and Christ. Christ in us, we in
Christ. He says for as many of you as were baptized into Christ Jesus you
have clothed yourself with Christ. One of the ways to speak of this as if
you have put on Christ as if he were your coat, your clothes. Now, there are
a lot of reverberations here. And what I mean by that is we certainly can
remember the parable from Matthew, the wedding parable where they are wearing

the right garment to enter into the wedding feast, the garment of Christ, the
baptismal robe.
One of the reasons that we think that Paul is exegeting that
is interpreting a baptismal formula here because in the early Christian
churches whether you realized this or not most baptisms if possible were done
by immersion. And they were done in the nude. So when you came up out of the
font, you were immediately -- you had a white robe put on you after you were
anointed with oil. And that robe was a symbol of your righteousness in
Christ. And that's essentially what that means, to be clothed in Christ is
simply to say that one is now a Christ in the world. That one now represents
Christ not in kind of a detached way. But because Christ is in us and we are
in him. And that that union with Christ means that when people see us, what
they see is Christ. That's what baptism means for Paul. Now, remember, this
is one of his very earliest, if not his earliest statement on baptism. And it
is profound in every way.
3:28
Now he describes what that looks like. And you're going to see a pair of
opposites here. And Paul is declaring that these opposites that exist in the
world now because of sin, they are no longer going to be there. And I think
it's important to recognize that there's -- the translations don't always
capture this. That there are some distinctions to be made in these opposites.
Now, let's translate it. For there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is
neither slave nor free -- and here look at the translation there is
neither male and female. Not nor. Male and female. For we are all one.
That's masculine, Christ. Excuse me; for you are all one, masculine,
reference to Christ in Christ Jesus.
Now, Paul declares that in baptism, in the new creation, in
Christ, that there is unity. The key to this passage is unity. Now, many of
you know and if you don't you will come to find out if you listen to any of
the conversation about this, many people who support women's ordination use
this passage in support of it. This passage has nothing to do with ordination.
It has nothing to do with women's ordination. It's about baptism. And they use
it in women's ordination to talk about equality. But this isn't about
equality. This is about unity in Christ. That when we are in Christ, our
identity is not slave or free, Greek or Jew, male and female. Our identity is
Christ. And that's why that masculine pronoun is so important. Our oneness
is in a person. A masculine person, Jesus.
Now, I think -- and in the Greek it's clearer than in the
English -- the fact that it says male and female, not male nor female
male and female indicates that the image of God in the first creation was to
create us as male and female. The image of God is both male and female. And
those continue in heaven. Even though our identity will not be as male or as
female. But as one in Christ. We will continue to be male and female.
Although, I think the reason why it's neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free,
that will not be at all in heaven. I mean, you won't be identified that way.
You will be identified in Christ. But those things are wiped out because those
are a result of the fall. Male and female are not. Those existed before the
fall.
Now, I may be getting beyond myself here. But I think it's
important for you to recognize that there are passages that were written in
the New Testament like this one that are used later on by the church,
particularly in a different cultural context to give a meaning that was never

intended there by the apostle himself. And so to go back to what is the


apostle doing here? He's simply describing that because of baptism, putting
on Christ, we are now one in Christ. All of us. No matter what our identity
is in this world. Mother, Father, sister, brother, slave, free, Jew, Greek,
male and female, none of those things matter. What matters is our unity in
Christ.
And that's why we have to be careful about being too
particular in the church in narrowing the church down in such a way that it
identifies itself with a particular group. I think it's helpful to recognize
that the church is the body of Christ. And what defines us more than anything
else is not our race. Not our sex, our gender. Not our economic status or
social place. What defines us is our baptism. Our unity in Christ.
3:29

Now, Paul concludes in Verse 29 by summarizing this. And in a


sense stating it in a little different way but saying the same thing. He
says: And if you are of Christ -- if you belong to Christ, if you are part
of his possession then you are seeds of Abraham. Now, go back to Verse
16. And to your seed who is Christ. And here he's saying if you are of
Christ, if Christ has become your clothing, if you are connected to Christ in
baptism, then you are seeds. There's plural - seeds of Abraham. Heirs
according to the promise. Now, there's the conclusion to his Abrahamic
argument right there. That really if you look at a chart of how it is that we
see our identity, our identity isn't say through Moses to Abraham, with Christ
as an intercession. It's from Abraham to Christ. And to be Abraham is to be
Christ. And Moses is totally out of the picture.
That's why law is not referred to here. So what he's saying
to us very clearly is this: We are the true children of Abraham. We are the
seed of Abraham. We are heirs of promise. Why? Because we've been joined to
Christ, the Seed. And he is our -- he is our union with God. And if we are
united with Christ, then we are united with Abraham. And we are the true
children of Israel. The very thing that Paul will say to the Galatians at the
end of Chapter 6.
Title: Galatians- Volume 31 (Gal. 4:1-7)
Subject: Is there a central passage for the letter to the Galatians?
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1255
Time: 13:53

Galatians 4

English Standard Version (ESV)


Sons and Heirs

I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave,[a] though he is the owner
of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 3 In the
same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles[b] of the
world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born
under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as

sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying,
Abba! Father! 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

Q: Is there a central passage for the letter to the Galatians, a passage that
seems to capture the theme of the letter?
A: DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:
There is a theme here, Josh. And it's centered here in this part of the
epistle. Verses 1 to 7 of the fourth chapter I think are the climax. And I
think ticking Verses 3 to 6. And I think that you're going to see as we go
through this, we've talked about how we are sons and heirs of God in Christ
Jesus, and therefore, children of Abraham. Paul now goes onto explain what it
means to be an heir.
4:1-2
And in Verse 1 and 2 he uses a human example and then applies
it to the church. It's really quite clever in the way in which he does this.
So I want to look carefully at the Greek. And I think that you'll see that
adoption into sonship is where he's moving for us in this. And it's a
beautiful movement. It's one of the most extraordinary passages in all of
Scripture.
4:1
Interestingly, this is a text that is used during
Christmastime. And I think you'll see why when we get to Verse 4. But let's
begin with Verse 1. Paul says: And I say to you -- and here again he's
using a human example that the heir as long as he is a child -- and that
means really an infant, a small child -- and this is interesting. Remember,
he's an heir and he's a child. As long as he's a child, he is no different
he differs in no way literally than a slave, even though he is Lord of
all. Now this is what a pedagogus is in a sense. Pedagogus is this one who
gets this heir as a child and treats him like a slave. So that language of
imprisoning jailer is now being echoed here in a little different way.
4:2
And then in Verse 2, but he is under guardians and managers.
And that's under the power of. There's that word again. He is under the
power of these guardians and managers. Until the time that is set by the
Father. And that of course in the human example would be the human Father,
who says: Okay, now it's time for him to have the inheritance. Whatever year
of age that might be, 18, 21, 25, whatever. But of course in terms of
salvation history, it's the time appointed by the Heavenly Father for in a
sense the salvation of the world.
4:3
Now, what we have here is a very clear parallel to this era of
faith, this time of faith. And in Verse 3 you can see that he makes the
application. So, also, we. That when we were infants, little children, we
were under the power of the elemental spirits of the cosmos enslaved. I'll
put that at the end because that's the end of the Greek. Literally we would
say we were enslaved under the elemental powers of the universe. Now, again,
these are powers. Cosmic powers. And here I think we have to think of
Luther. Luther when he talked about these powers -- and Luther saw them as

real powers. And I think we need to see them that way, too. He talked of sin,
death and the devil. Sin is a power. Death is a power. The devil is a
power. And I think Paul would add the law is a power. The flesh is a power.
Because sometimes Luther uses the language of flesh. These are the elemental
powers of the universe. And we are enslaved to them.
4:4-5
Now, think back to the end of Chapter 3 when we were held in slavery with this
imprisoning jailer until the time of faith came. Until Christ came. Now,
Paul is going to do the same thing here. And let me just tell you that Verses
4 and 5 is some of the most sublime theology in all of the Pauline epistles.
But look at what he says here. And if you have your grammatical translation I
gave you, I think you'll see how beautifully this language parallels each
other. But when the fullness of time had come -- now that's the time
appointed by the Father. When the fullness of time had come, God sent his
Son, begotten out of a woman, begotten under the law -- the power of the law
-- in order that he might -- again here is that word snatch, grab us,
rescue us -- those of us who are under the power of the law. There's that
same word again. In order that we might receive adoption as sons.
Now, that is sublime. Because this is a reference to the fact
that when the incarnation happened, when Christ Apocalyptically invaded our
world -- and see that sense of God sent his Son. It's like an alien from
afar. It's almost like a movie, an invasion of an alien. Jesus comes from a
different planet, a different place, from heaven. He does break in. And when
he breaks in, everything changes. The whole cosmos changes. The world itself
is different. There were now miracles there that were never there before.
The dead are raised, the lepers walk. The deaf hear. People who are sick are
healed. Sins are forgiven. There are earthquakes at the crucifixion. It gets
dark. The whole cosmos is in a sense fundamentally changed by the incarnation.
That's because Jesus the Creator had come to his creation to bring in a new
creation. That's why everything is different.
And look how Paul talks about it. God sends his Son. He
shows the humility of it. Born just like we were. Nine months in the womb.
Born out of a woman. Born under the power of the law. Jesus doesn't come
immune from the law. He comes under its power. A power we know kills him
because it collides with him at the cross. And he does it so he might redeem
those of us who still live under the power of the law. In order that we might
now be adopted as his sons.
Now, there is that adoption language. And to
be adopted is not in this ancient world to receive the inheritance of a true
son but boy, with Jesus everything is reversed. Everything is different.
Those who are adopted as sons receive the full inheritance as if we were born
out of the loins of our parents. And as if we were the first born. Now, that
is incredible. I mean, that is a concept that would have been very foreign to
this culture. Because adoption, even though it was a step above slavery was
still at a lower level. But here he is saying we are adopted. We are adopted
as sons. Now, this is a remarkable thing. And what we have here is the
incarnation. We have the death of Christ. The atonement. Incarnation
atonement. And we have our incorporation into Christ as adopted sons.
I also want to point out something. This is something you
sometimes miss. Look at how Paul is going to go back and forth between whom
he is addressing. In Chapter 4 Verse 5, he really refers to they, those that
he snatches out. They who he snatches out from under the power of the law.
Then he goes: We have received adoption of sons. And then he says in Verse
6: You are sons. And then he says God sent the Spirit of his Son into our

hearts. And then he says in Verse 7: You. So that you are no longer a slave
but a son. So see how he goes back and forth. They, we, you, we, you. Now
that grammatically is clumsy. But boy, it makes its point. Because he talks
about things in general. Then he talks about us, Jew and Gentile. Then he
talks about you which is very direct, very pastoral. You are forgiven. You
receive adoption of sons. It's really a marvelous kind of way of speaking.
And I think we have to observe that.
4:6

Finally, and this is exactly paralleled to Verse 4. And this


is -- I'm in Verse 6 now. Because you are sons. Not adopted sons. But
sons. God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts crying Abba Father.
Now, look at what he says in 4. God sent his Son. Here he says God sent
the Spirit of his Son. Now, this is sublime Trinitarian theology. One of
the things we forget about the Spirit and this is why people get into trouble
when they talk about the Spirit, we sometimes separate the Spirit from the
Son. Paul doesn't do that. Jesus doesn't do that. The New Testament doesn't
do that. Wherever the Spirit is, there is Jesus. Wherever Jesus is, there is
the Spirit. When the Spirit comes upon the apostles at Pentecost, that's
Jesus coming upon them. That's the Spirit of Jesus. It is very important for
us to recognize that the Spirit is always the Spirit of the Son. The Spirit
testifies to Christ. And where Christ is, there his Spirit gives its gifts.
And then notice: God the Father sent the Spirit of his Son. His Son.
Father, Son and Spirit. This is also the Father sending the Spirit of the
Son. This is not eastern theology. This is western theology and I think you
can see a great support for that.
And notice it's into our hearts. Now we sometimes think of
hearts as the place of feeling and emotion. In the ancient church, in the
ancient world, in the biblical narrative, the heart is the seed of the essence
of the human being. The heart and mind are inseparable. The heart and the
soul are inseparable. The heart is the person. So God sent the Spirit of his
Son into you. You know, like because you're in Christ Jesus.
And I love this crying. Now, here you have to picture this.
In the ancient world -- and I think this it may have been true at the time of
Paul, when you were baptized you went down some stairs into a pool. And then
you -- the idea there is you being buried with Christ. You going down into
the water as you're dying with him in the pool. Immersed three times: In the
name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. You know, one, two, three. But also
for the three days in the tomb. You're buried with Christ. And when you come
up out of the water. And this is true of the early church liturgies, you
would walk up the steps like the resurrection. And what's the first thing you
say when you come out of the baptismal pool? You say Abba, Father. Because
now you know who your true Father is. You can now pray the Lord's Prayer. Did
you know they didn't give the Lord's Prayer to those preparing for baptism
until the very end? And they would say it because only the baptized can pray
the Our Father. So when you come up out of the pool because you have now been
made a Son of God in Christ Jesus by Spirit and water and Word, you now know
your true Father is your Heavenly Father so you speak to him Abba Father. Our
Father. You now know who your Father is.
Now, what we have here is two Apocalyptic invasions. The
Apocalyptic invasion of the son sent by the Father into the world born of a
woman. Born under the law in order to redeem those who are under the law. In
order that we might have adoption as sons. There it is. The incarnation.

The atonement. That objective reality of God's sending his Son, invading his
cosmos, his creation to redeem it.
But then there's a mini Apocalyptic invasion. And that's God
the Father sending the Spirit of his Son into us in baptism. So that we can
now acknowledge him as Father. So what happened in the incarnation of Christ
is what happens to us in baptism. Although it's individualized. It's for us.
For the forgiveness of our sins. For our own rescue.
4:7
Verse 7 is simply a summary of this whole section. And he
says very clearly: So that if you are if you are no longer a slave but a
son -- and I probably stated that too much as a question. It's more like:
You are no longer a slave but a son. And if you are a son, then you are an
heir through God. So you're not a slave. You're a son. If you're a son,
you're an heir. As clear as can be. And that brings this section to a close.
I think what you've seen here is a magnificent place where Paul speaks deeply
to the significance of the theme of baptism, incarnation and atonement. And
shows the relationship to them. He also shows us magnificent Trinitarian
theology. And he shows us that it's all in the context of family. That we
are sons of God in Christ Jesus. And that God, the Father, is our true
Heavenly Father.
Title: Galatians- Volume 32 (Gal. 4:8-11)
Subject: What is the source of Paul's concern for the Galatians after 4:3-7?
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1256
Time: 12:08

Galatians 4

English Standard Version (ESV)


Paul's Concern for the Galatians
8

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods.
But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn
back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want
to be once more? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years! 11 I am afraid I may
have labored over you in vain.
9

Q: You said that Chapter 4 Verses 3 through 7 form the central focal point of
the letter. Immediately following this moment in the epistle, Paul seems to
be in deep distress again about the Galatians. What is the source of his
concern this time?
A: DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:
This is such an astute question because there is a shift here. And it always
surprises me I guess every time I read this letter or teach it that Paul is
making this shift. And you know, the more I've studied it, though, the more I

realize that this is the human Paul. This is the Paul who really -- you know
he's just given the sublime theology, he's talked about who they are, their
birth identity in Christ. And then all of a sudden reality comes back to him.
That he's writing these people who have lost this sense of it. And he says -and it's almost like: I can't believe this is happening. How could you be
doing this?
I think you've had a similar experience like this. You know,
maybe think back on when you had a good friend or maybe an old girlfriend
where you were just thinking about why you liked her or why you had this
friendship. And then something happened to sour it. And you know you're
thinking good thoughts at one point. And the beauty of what it is that God
had given you in this friendship. And then all of a sudden how it had turned
so terribly bad and why that had happened.
Well, that's what Paul is doing here. And this is a section
in which we see his deep distress. And I want to analyze it with you because
I think you should follow along with me so you can see how this works. First
of all, he's been talking about birth identity. And now he's going to talk
about the disastrous developments in Galatia because of his opponents. And he
is going to talk about this with a note of anxiety that is just dripping with
pastoral concern.
Paul speaks about his distress.
Verses 8 and 9 he describes the distress. And it's very, very graphic
language we're going to see. It's very -- very real.
Then Verse 10 is the cause of the distress. Something that surprises us
a little bit. But I think you'll see it.
And then he goes back to saying in Verse 11, his distress. He starts
with distress, the cause of distress. And then he talks about the
distress again.
Then he has a request for them. This was very typical of a letter.
Where they would have a request. In Verse 12. And again it's an
interesting request. It's one you don't expect.
Then in Verses 13 to 15, it's so hard for me to say what my favorite
part is my favorite part is of this epistle. But this one is filled
with such pathos. It's so personal. It's so tender. It is a
remarkable moment for Paul. And I think you'll see, he recollects here
how they received the Gospel in Galatia. The personal experience he had
with them. And he appeals to it. It's a remarkable moment.
And then Verses 16 and following he goes back to his distress now. Not
over what has happened. But what might happen in the future.
So this is Verses 8 to 20 a section in which Paul speaks about his distress.
4:8
Now, let's look at the first three verses. And then we'll pick up on some
other points here about the occasion for Paul coming to Galatians. But let's
look at the distress first. He begins in Verse 8. And it's a then and now
kind of situation. And here he's appealing to their life before as pagans.
He says: :But formerly not knowing God, you were enslaved to those things
which by nature are not gods.: Now, here he's saying, before I came to
Galatia, you were a bunch of pagan sinners. And you know what you did? You
worshiped idols. You worshiped inanimate objects. Now, in light of the
Gospel that I've preached to you, how dumb was that? And I mean I think they
all would have stood around and said: That was pretty dumb. We were really
dumb pagans back then.

And it is an enslavement. I mean, imagine -- I'll tell you, I


had the most extraordinary experience. I'm going to tell you it right here
because I never had an experience like this before. Last December I was in
India. And we were with the seminary there. And the head of the seminary is
an expert on Hinduism. And he took us into a Hindu temple. We didn't get
there until it was dark. It was about 6:00 o'clock. And it was dark out.
And it was very warm and humid. Very hot. And we had to take our shoes off
about a block before the temple. So we're walking through the streets in our
stocking feet. And then when we got to the temple, we had to take our shirts
off. So we go walking into this temple. I can't tell you how vulnerable you
feel without shoes and without a shirt. And it was hot. And they were doing
pilgrimages at that time. And there were all these men running around the
temple in these short little kind of skirts. Bare chested. There was incense
and smells. They were obviously cooking some foods. And there in the middle
of this temple there's this monkey god, this bull god and all these -- it was
really mostly men were throwing themselves on these gods. Idols. I mean, I
couldn't help but think of this passage from Paul. And how enslaving that is.
That there's nothing there. It was frightening. I felt the palpable presence
of Satan in that temple. And we were with two women. One who was an Indian
woman, a deaconess who works in our central office. And one was a student
from St. Louis. And I was scared to death for them. The Indian woman not so
much because she certainly blended in in India. But the American girl was a
blond girl. And there were people following her. I have never been so
unnerved in any place as I was there. And it's because it's the first time I
faced directly and saw what idol worship is like. And it is -- it is from the
devil. That's what they were enslaved to here in Galatia. That's what they
are enslaved to in those Hindu temples in India.
4:9
Paul tells us now in Verse 9 what that means. And he tells us
this by showing us how it's different in Christ. Remember, he says:
Formerly not knowing God you were enslaved to those things by nature which
are not gods, idols. But now but now, knowing God -- and here he makes a
move that I think is great rather being known by God. We can't know God.
God knows us. Now there's the difference between a lot of theology. Lutheran
theology says God knows us. Other theologies may say that we can know God.
But Paul, I don't think he made a mistake and then corrected himself. I think
he does it purposely to point out that we can't know God. Only God can know
us. And in knowing us, then we can know who he is. Look at what Paul says:
But now knowing God, rather being known by God, how can you turn -- this is
a word for repentance -- turn again to those beggarly weak, beggarly poor,
***stoicaous spirits. Impotent is what we're saying. Impotent spirits. You
know, spiritual things. To whom again once more you wish to be enslaved.
Now, I'm not sure that you caught it. I didn't when I first
read this. But what he's talking about here when he talks about the weak and
worthless elemental principles of the world whose slaves you want to become,
he's talking there about those cosmic powers. And I think he's talking
specifically about the law and circumcision. If you were enslaved to idols
before, why are you making the law and circumcision new idols? They are as
enslaving. Because they are powers, elemental powers, that are absolutely
opposed to the power of God.
Now, this is very important. They can't grant life. And I
think the way to see these things is to see them as impotent. Now, I think

he's playing off the circumcision thing. And that if you're circumcised, that
is a way of rendering yourself spiritually impotent. And I think I don't need
to go farther with that illustration. I'll let your mind have its way with
that. But I think that's exactly what he's doing.
4:10
And then he says the cause of his distress, I think he's already referred to
circumcision. But now he brings on more. He says in Verse 10: You observe
days and months and seasons and years. They are venerating the cosmic
elements. Now, as pagans they did it by worshiping the sun, the moon, the
seasons, those kinds of things. Now under the influence of these Jewish
opponents of Paul, they are worshiping it through the old Jewish calendar.
Now, there's nothing wrong with their calendar. There's nothing wrong with
their church year, so long as it's focused in Christ. But this calendar is
not. It's the old Jewish calendar. And Paul is saying: Why do you want to
go from one calendar that was enslaving to another calendar that's enslaving?
You're simply talking about Gentile observance of the law, which is the
equivalent of idol worship. You can imagine how this is going to be heard by
Jewish opponents. They are going to be infuriated that Paul is comparing
paganism with their Judaism.
4:11
And then Paul goes back to his distress. And here is that language of
fear again. He says: I am afraid for you continually. And I think this is
one of the most extraordinary statements. Because Paul now describes himself
in a sense as the one who gave birth to him. Which he was. He's like their
mother. He says: I am afraid for you. Lest somehow I may have labored over
you in vain. That I gave birth in a sense to stillborns. That I thought I
was giving birth to those who are alive in Christ. But maybe I'm not.
Now, that is a very, very powerful image. And one in which
you can see Paul is speaking here pastorally, lovingly, and yet as -- think of
yourself if you're a father. Or think of your own father. When a son or a
daughter kind of rebels or goes away. Think of the distress you have. Think
of the prodigal son. How that father stood there day after day after day
waiting for that son to come home. And then once -- my favorite part of
Luke's Gospel. One of my favorite passages in the whole New Testament. While
he was still afar off, the father sees him, runs, has compassion on him. This
is the distress Paul has. As one who has really kind of given birth to them
as their father in the faith. And now they are abandoning him for things that
enslave. They are going back to their old life for all intents and purposes.
Yeah, they are not pagans anymore. But they are living under a law that they
were not given to live under.
In a moment you're going to see there's going to be a new
shift here. Not dramatic. But Paul is now going to get very personal with
them about the reason, the occasion, for his coming to Galatia.
Title: Galatians- Volume 33 (Gal. 4:12-18)
Subject: Why does Paul at this point in his letter rehearse with the Galatians the occasion for his
coming to them when he first preached the Gospel to them?
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1257
Time: 16:52

Galatians 4

English Standard Version (ESV)


Paul's Concern for the Galatians

12

Brothers,[c] I entreat you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no
wrong. 13 You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first,
14
and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me
as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. 15 What then has become of your blessedness? For I testify to
you that, if possible, you would have gouged out your eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I then
become your enemy by telling you the truth?[d] 17 They make much of you, but for no good
purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them. 18 It is always good to be
made much of for a good purpose, and not only when I am present with you, 19 my little children,
for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you! 20 I wish I could
be present with you now and change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.

Q: I would like to follow up on Joshua's question. Why does Paul at this


point in his letter rehearse with the Galatians the occasion for his coming to
them when he first preached the Gospel to them? And why does he become
distressed a third time?
A: DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:
I think it's been all of our experience at some point in our life, and maybe
more often than not, that in order to really kind of make a point to someone,
we have to reach back into our own personal lives. And show them that we
understand because we have experienced something that can relate to them. And
we can relate to them in that experience.
I think Paul recognized that at this point, especially after
the sublime theology that he has kind of unveiled here, and after then his
kind of moment of describing his pastoral distress for them, that he wants to
connect to them again. He wants to go back to that moment when they first
met. Now, we don't know the historical circumstances here. And we aren't
sure of exactly what Paul may be referring to. And it's somewhat problematic
to try to take a guess here. But I think we can, if we look back into the
Book of Acts, if you go back to Chapter 14 of the Book of Acts, it says that
Paul was stoned in Lystra. And let me just read you that. Because I think
it's helpful to see that this might have been the occasion for Paul's coming
to the Galatians.
It says: But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium -- I'm on
Chapter 14 of Acts Verse 19. But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and
having persuaded the crowds they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city,
supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples gathered about him he rose
up and entered the city and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe.
But when they had preached the Gospel to that city and had made many
disciples, they returned to Lystra and Iconium and to Antioch strengthening

the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith and
saying that through many tribulations, we must enter the kingdom of God.
4:12
Now, as I said, we can't be sure that this is in fact the occasion for what
Paul is talking about here in Chapter 4 of Galatians for his coming to
Galatians. But it certainly could be. And Paul says something here in Verse
12 to introduce his personal recollection, which is a request to them. And
this is a common type of request in the ancient world in which he is appealing
to them to imitate him. But in many ways for him to imitate them, as well.
Now, listen to what he says, this is Verse 12: He says: Brothers, I beg
you, become as I am just as I am as you are. You did me no wrong. Now, listen
to that again: Become as I am. That's really how the Greek starts.
Because I have become as you, brethren. I am begging you.
Now, this is mutual imitation. And I think Paul speaks not
only of the Galatians and himself in the same context. But that they are to
actually exchange places. Now, what does that mean? Well, I think here you
have the Jew-Gentile thing. And that they are one in Christ. And because
they are one in Christ, they are in interchangeable ways. A Gentile becomes
like Paul, a Jew. Paul, a Jew, becomes like a Gentile in Christ. And he's
begging them to consider that. To consider how important that is. Don't
become a Jew. Don't leave the fact that you are Christian now, in which there
is neither Jew nor Greek. But become as I am. I am all things to all people.
Just as I became like you. I became one with you. A Jew becoming one with
Gentiles in Christ. And then this extraordinary thing he says: You did me
no wrong. I mean, why does Paul say that? Why does Paul say that the
Galatians did him no wrong? Now, clearly, with these opponents there is
animosity towards Paul. That Paul is concerned about the fact that he is no
longer in the situation that he was before when he was with them. That there
is this animosity between them.
4:13-14

And this is when he launches into this personal recollection.


And here it's really quite extraordinary. He says: You know that -- and
here he's appealing now to the time when he came to them. He says: You know
that on account of weakness of the flesh. Now, this is obviously a sickness
or what I think is this beating in Lystra. On account of the weakness of the
flesh I first preached the Good News, the Gospel, to you. That was the
occasion. That his weakness in the flesh became the occasion for the Gospel.
And then he goes onto say -- and this is an extraordinary statement in Verse
14: And through my trial, my temptation, my trial, in my flesh, you did not
despise me and literally you did not spit me out. I love that word in the
Greek. It's ***ec patu. The word itself is pttt (phonetic). You did not
spit me out. But you received me. You welcomed me as an angel of God, as
Christ Jesus himself.
Now, here is the deal, this is what I think is going on: Paul
is left alongside of the road, beaten to a pulp. To the point of death as it
says. Now, I don't know if you've ever seen anybody beaten. I have. When I
was a high school kid, I went to school outside of Boston. We used to go into
the trail way station there. And one day a whole bunch of us prep school kids
were on our way back to school. And there was a man who was totally beaten on
the side of the bus station. I mean, bleeding, eyes bulging, pathetic mess.
And he smelled. And it wasn't just because he was kind of a street person.
The sickness of his beating had an aura to it. I think that's what's meant by
Paul saying: I could have spit you out. Paul smelled. You know how you get

sulfur in your nose and all of a sudden you just want to spit it out. You
know, terrible. I'll never forget when my dog got hit by a skunk in the face
and you had to put vinegar and tomato juice in its mouth and the dog was
spitting it out because it smelled bad and it tasted bad and it was horrible.
And that's Paul was. Paul was a pathetic horrible figure. Weakness of flesh.
In shame. And great suffering and sickness. And yet these Galatians, they
welcomed him. They received him as a messenger of God. They did not despise
him in his weakness. They weren't tempted to cast him out and say: What a
pathetic human being.
You know, in that culture, a person who was in that condition,
they must have said something was wrong with him. A spirit has gotten him. A
demon has gotten him. But no. They accepted him as Christ Jesus himself.
You know why? Because Christ's sufferings were seen in Paul's sufferings.
When they saw Paul in his state of humiliation and shame and suffering, they
saw Christ. And Paul's very body preached the Gospel to them. In weakness.
Not in strength. But in weakness they saw the Gospel.
4:15
And in fact, Paul goes on to say in Verse 15 -- and again, this just continues
to show the ***pathos of this. What then has become of the blessing you felt
by me? And he says: I testify to you, I bear witness to you, I make myself
a martyr for you literally. If you were able to, you would have plucked out
your eyes and you would have given them to me. Now, here is where we think
this weakness of the flesh was that he was beaten. And you remember I said he
had bulging eyes. His eyes were all puffed over. You know how your eyes get
when you're beaten? They were puffed over. They were oozing and swollen and
ugly. And they would have taken out their eyes. That's how much they loved
Paul. And given them to him if they could. Now, this shows you the love
between the Galatians and Paul. And how in weakness Paul preaches the Good
News. In weakness they see Jesus. In weakness and suffering they understand
the Gospel. Now, these are mercenaries. These are soldiers. They are used to
seeing people beaten up. People who are probably even worse off than Paul. So
I mean, in some ways it wouldn't have been a great shock to them. But they
also would have seen that as a sign of weakness and would have rejected it.
But instead, they embraced Paul.
Now, this is -- this is a moment in which Paul now is letting
his hair down with them. He's looking them in the face and saying: Don't you
remember me? Don't you remember the occasion I came here? Don't you remember
how you treated me? And you didn't have to. But you did. Because you saw in
me the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You saw in my very body, in my sufferings, in
my sickness, in my brokenness, the fact that Jesus became broken for us on the
cross. This is perhaps one of the ways in which Paul publicly proclaimed
Christ crucified.
This is a great moment in this book. And I think you're going
to see at the end of the book when Paul shows them the marks of Jesus in his
body, that he's appealing here to this moment. Remember, also, when he said:
Even if an angel from heaven should preach to you a Gospel contrary to what
was preached to you, let him be accursed. Now he says: You receive me as an
angel of God, a messenger of God. Why? Because I was pompous, a great
rhetorician, because I was handsome. Because I came to you with great
eloquence. No. You received me an angel of God because you saw in my
weakness the Gospel of a crucified man, who is also the Son of God.
4:16-18

Now, this recollection leads into his distress over the future. And
here again you can see how deeply distressed he is. In Verse 16 he says to
them: So now have I become your enemy? You hate me. Do you now hate me
essentially. Because I have told you the truth. I've told you the truth of
the Gospel by speaking this truth to you. And then Verse 17 which is kind of
a difficult verse to understand. But I think it's really -- if you think
about it, it's not that hard. He says -- and let me get a translation here.
Because the Greek is really difficult to translate. They make much of you.
That is the opponents of Paul. But for no good purpose. They want to shut
you out that you may make much of them. Now, let me translate it literally so
you can see why it's difficult. They are seeking you -- this is the
Galatian opponents. But they are not doing it well. They are not doing it
for the right reasons. But they wish to exclude you, to shut you out, so that
you might seek them. Now, Paul goes onto say in Verse 18: It is good to be
sought by someone always in a good way, for the right reasons. Not only, you
know, when I am with you he says. So it's not that it's bad to seek somebody.
But it's when the motives, the ulterior motives are such that they are
actually trying to in a sense seduce them into something that they really
shouldn't be in.
Now, here is what I think is happening: These opponents are
coming to these new Christians in Galatia. And remember what we said, they
are saying: Paul preached to you the Gospel but he didn't tell you the whole
truth. He didn't tell you that you have to be circumcised. You have to keep
the law. Now, they are saying to them: If you don't keep the law, then we're
going to keep you from coming to the Lord's Supper. We're going to
excommunicate you. We're not going to let you participate in this Christian
community. And <u> we're going to pursue you so that you might come to
understand how important it is to believe that the law is a means of
salvation. </u> And then to do it by submitting to circumcision. But if you
don't, we're going to exclude you. Because this is a very special club. And
only those who are willing to submit themselves to this very bloody act of
circumcision are welcome.
Now, you know how it is when somebody makes something
exclusive. People want in. And that's what they are doing here. They want
those Galatians to come to them and beg them to let them enter into this kind
of covenant, so to speak. This new relationship with God. By means of not
only the Gospel of the crucified and risen Christ. But also the works of the
law. And Paul would say: Hey, I was seeking you. I came to Galatians and
preached the Gospel to you because I wanted you to be part of the kingdom of
heaven. But I'm not doing it in a way that is providing with you a false
Gospel. And that's what these men are doing. So Paul is really trying to
speak as clearly as he can here to the situation that is facing these
Galatians.
4:19-20

And at the end Paul speaks to them in as tender of words as


you're going to hear him speak. He says to them: My children, my little
children. These are tender words. My little children, for whom I am again
in anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you. Remember that birth
imagery? Have I labored over you in vain? Here he uses it again. I am in
birth pains until Christ is formed in you. And there he means not in you
personally but in your congregations. So that Christ is preached as the
crucified and risen one. And that alone is the Gospel that's preached. And
then Paul says something where you can see as a pastor he knows his presence
is important. He says: I wish to be with you now. He wants to be present

with them. And change my tone. And that's a very important thing. Because
he could see the tone of his letters, there's a harshness there. There's a
distress. They can hear it in his letters. But he wants to be able to
communicate with them personally. He wishes he were there present with them.
And he says: For I am perplexed about you. Literally I am at my wit's end
over you.
Now, this is a wish that can't be fulfilled. He can't be
there. He can only be there through this letter. The opponents are there.
And you know what presence is. Presence is everything. You know, when you're
present there, then it's harder for people to reject you. And Paul can't be.
Only through his ***shalia, the messenger, and the catechists who he left
behind. But here his longing to be their pastor again. To reach out to them.
This is what he desires.
Now, I think you can see in this section Paul has let down his
hair. He has shown his real pastoral heart to them. Reaching out to them.
Relating that very personal incident in which he came to them. And in the
process, he preaches what we would call in the Lutheran Church the most
sublime theology of the cross. That in weakness, in suffering, God comes to
us.
Title: Galatians- Volume 34 (Gal. 4:21-31)???
Subject: Why does Paul resort to allegory about Abraham and his two wives in bringing his
argument to a close?
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1258
Time: 19:57

Galatians 4:21-31

English Standard Version (ESV)


Example of Hagar and Sarah
21

Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? 22 For it is written that
Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. 23 But the son of the
slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through
promise. 24 Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is
from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in
Arabia;[a] she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But
the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written,
Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear;
break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor!
For the children of the desolate one will be more
than those of the one who has a husband.
28

Now you,[b] brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 But just as at that time he who was
born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is

now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of
the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman. 31 So, brothers, we are not
children of the slave but of the free woman.

Q: As we come to the end of Chapter 4, we also seem to be coming to the close


of Paul's theological argument from Scripture. Why do you think he resorts to
an allegory about Abraham and his two wives, Sarah and Hagar, in bringing his
argument to a close?
A: DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:
Nick, that is such a fine question. Because it does indicate here that we are
coming to the end of a section. And I can't emphasize that enough. This has
been a long section. And you have been very patient with both Paul and me.
Because it is a dense theological section. And it's -- in a way, it's almost
unnecessary that he have this allegory. And yet at the same time without it,
it would not have the punch that I think it has in terms of his exegetical
argument from Scripture as to why the Gospel is Christ alone and without works
of the law.
Now, these ten verses here do provide an interpretation of
Genesis that is unique to Paul. And I want to point out a few things that I
think you're going to find to be very interesting. But I think the best way
to approach this is simply to work through it. So let's just do that. And as
we work through it, keep in mind that this is the final exegetical section in
which he is talking about Genesis 16 to 21. And the same theme is here: The
identity, the birth identity, the genetic identity of the Galatian
congregations. Who are they? Who are they?
4:21
Now, he starts here with his first imperative in a long time.
And you're going to see that the imperatives are now going to come fast and
furiously to the end of the epistle. And he starts by saying: Speak to me,
tell me, those of you who wish to be under the power of the law. Now, this
is law in its negative sense. As an enslavement. Those of you who wish to be
that way. And he's speaking to the Galatians. And he's speaking somewhat
facetiously, ironically here. You who want to be under the law, if that's
what you want to do, why do you not listen to the law? Now, this is the
first positive reference to the law in Galatians. And he's speaking here
about torah. Why don't you listen to what Moses wrote in the first five books
of the Bible, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Why don't you
listen to what it says? Now, there's sarcasm there. And he's appealing now
to Genesis. Let's listen to Moses. Those of you who wish to live under the
power of the law.
4:22
And here he begins his allegory now in Verse 22. It is written -- notice
that. It is written. So this is Scripture. This is the Word of God.
Abraham had two sons. Very true. Never names the sons. Well, he does name
Isaac. But he doesn't name Ishmael. Abraham had two sons. He talks about
their mothers. One out of a slave woman. And one out of a free woman.
Now, if you want the references there, the slave woman is referenced in
Genesis 16:15. And the free woman is referenced in Genesis 21:2, 9 and of
course in other places, as well. But that's where this language is used. Now,

that's important. Two sons. One out of a slave woman. One out of a free
woman. So slavery and freedom are now going to be the major topics here.
4:23
And he says in Verse 23: But the one who was begotten out of the slave woman
was begotten, born, begotten according to the flesh. And I think here we
would want to translate that: By the power of the flesh. But the one out of
the free woman was begotten by the power of the promise. The promise. Now,
there you have slave woman, flesh. Free woman, promise.
Now, we know who they are talking about. They are talking
about Hagar and Sarah. And what's interesting is Sarah is never mentioned
here. Hagar is. And Ishmael is never mentioned. But Isaac is. So the
mother of the -- kind of the -- not illegitimate son but the son to whom the
promise wasn't given. But the son to whom the promise is mentioned is given.
Now that's not insignificant. And what we see here is the crucial point. The
crucial point are the two mothers and their sons.
Now, let me just speak parenthetically here for a minute. A
number of years ago I had a chance to teach this to what are called the POBLO
students here. These are People of the Book of Lutheran Outreach. These are
a former people from Islam, from Muslim who have become Christians, they are
Lutherans. And they are doing wonderful work particularly in the Detroit area
but all over the country it for all intents and purposes. In Texas.
Everywhere. And when we got to this point in Galatians, they were fascinated.
Because Islam traces its roots through Ishmael and of course Christianity
through Isaac. And so they wanted to know all about what Paul is doing here
in it's allegory. So in other words, this allegory which may seem like an
ancient kind of long, you know -- I don't know what you want to call it. It's
kind of a -- something that doesn't apply to us anymore, for these people who
have gone from Islam to Christianity, this is the most applicable section of
Galatians that they had. And they told me something that I never knew. Maybe
you know this. But I never knew it. That the people of Islam, in order to
become Islam, you must be circumcised. I didn't know that. Now, whether or
not that is insisted upon I think is another story. But that is in fact the
way it should be if you are to become Islam. So they were also interested in
the whole circumcision metaphor. So there's something going on here that's
very, very pertinent today for people that are coming out of another religion
into Christianity. Namely, Islam.
4:24-25

Now, going back to Paul, Paul talks now here in Verse 24 about
how he is speaking allegorically. Now, what that means is is that the two
women point beyond themselves to something else. And allegory here is being
tempered by what we call typology. It's not pure allegory. It is somewhat
typological as well. But it's something that is a symbol or something that
points beyond itself. And here is what he says: These two women are two
covenants. Now, the idea that there are two covenants in Genesis is a new
thought. They are not described. There's only one covenant. And that's the
covenant with Isaac through Abraham and the promise given to him by God.
There is no covenant given with Hagar and Ishmael.
But Paul now speaks of it as two covenants. One he says from
Mt. Sinai, which begets churches, bears children. But really it's churches
into slavery, which is Hagar. Again, this is interesting because Mt. Sinai is
not mentioned in Genesis or in connection with Hagar or Sarah. It's only
mentioned in Exodus. But Paul is suggesting here that Mt. Sinai is the

covenant that is given to Hagar and Ishmael. This is what he's trying to say.
The law. They live under the law. And he even describes that. You know, Hagar
is the one -- and let me make sure I translate this right. Now, Hagar is -yeah, that's exactly right. Now, Hagar is Mt. Sinai in Arabia. Speaking
now of the law. Which kind of has as its parallel here he says Jerusalem now.
This is the earthly Jerusalem. Who is enslaved now with her children.
Now, this is an interesting point of view. Remember, Paul's
opponents are saying they are from Jerusalem. They are men from James. And
Paul is saying: If you want to go that route, Jerusalem now is the equivalent
to Mt. Sinai and Arabia, to Hagar, to Ishmael. Now, you know that the Jews
from Jerusalem who are now Christians who are coming to Galatia trying to get
them to keep the law, they would in no way claim Hagar or Ishmael as their
descendents. They are Abraham and Isaac. And I think it's important for us
here to see what perhaps Paul's opponents are saying.
Now, we don't have this written anywhere. So in a sense you
could say I'm making this up. But I think you can see from Paul's argument
here, we can read between the lines to see that perhaps this is what they are
teaching. They are the ones -- this is Paul's opponents using the language of
Sinai, seed of Abraham. Our mother Jerusalem. So Paul turns the tables on
them.
And this is what they are saying -- and you can see how Paul's
argument goes against this.
Paul's opponents are saying this: That the law observant descendants of
Abraham through Sarah, these are the Isaacs these are the free people.
This is who we are. The law observant descendants. Those who keep the
law. Whereas they are saying the lawless Gentiles, the Gentiles who
have no law, they are descendants through Hagar, the Ishmaelites. They
are slaves. Okay. Did you get that? That's what the opponents are
saying.

Here is what Paul would be saying: The descendants of Abraham through


Sarah are free from the law. They are the Isaacs. They are the ones
who receive the Gospel and the Gospel alone. Whereas the keepers of the
law, they are descendants through Hagar. They are the ones who go
through Ishmael. They are slaves. Now, that's sometimes hard for us to
read through this. Because we don't know the context. But I think what
you're seeing Paul say here is that this is a good example of how
Scripture can be twisted.

4:26-27
Now, Paul goes on in Verse 26: The Jerusalem above is free she, that
Jerusalem, the heavenly Jerusalem, the one above, she is our mother. For it
is written -- and this is the passage that's very difficult from Isaiah 54:
Rejoice, oh, barren one, who does not bare. Break forth and cry aloud, you
who are not in labor. For the children of the desolate one will be more than
those of the one who has a husband. Now, let me read that again. And listen
carefully. This seems to be absolutely contrary to what a Jew would expect.
Rejoice, oh, barren one, who does not bare. Break forth and cry aloud, you
who are not in labor. Now, that's absurd. Nobody rejoices over being barren.
Nobody rejoices over not having children. The greatest blessing for a Jew is
to have children. The greatest blessing for a Jew is to be a man or woman who
had a full quiver of children. So to not bare children is a curse. Remember
Elizabeth? You know when she had John how she had such bitterness but now
that was taken away from her because she bore a child. And then it says: The
children of the desolate one, the whom in whom there are no children will be

more than those of the one who has a husband.


husband.

Desolate meaning without a

Now, this is where Paul is reaching back into the context of


Isaiah and using the same situation in Isaiah to illustrate what's happening
in Galatia. If you go back to Isaiah, you will see that Jerusalem, the city
of Jerusalem, really had two different phases to it. It was a barren phase
and it was a phase that was -- in which it was fertile. Fecundity. In which
it was fertile. Bearing children. When it was with God, it was fertile.
When it was without God, it was barren. It was overrun by enemies that
dragged them away to Babylon in the Babylonian captivity and things like that.
At one time it had a husband. Giving birth to children. And then it had no
husband. So really what you have here is in a sense one woman, one city, but
two pictures. A picture of barrenness and desolation. Or a picture of
fecundity and power.
And Paul is saying that even though it appears as if the
opponents are right, that the Galatians are without a husband, without
fecundity because they haven't kept the law. They haven't submitted to
circumcision, they are in fact in Christ by his Spirit giving birth to
children. They are to rejoice because they are actually bearing more
children, more churches through the Gospel of God's Spirit of the Son of Jesus
-- the Son of the Father than they are as if they were submitting themselves
to the law.
Now, I have to confess, this is a very complicated argument.
Paul is using Scripture in a way that we might not ourselves use it. But I
think his opponents would have understood it. That the Jerusalem, the
heavenly Jerusalem of which Paul is a part is a Jerusalem in which there is
great fertility. That there are many churches being born into it. But if
you're the Jerusalem below, the Jerusalem of this earth, the Jerusalem of the
law, then even though it looks as if you are bearing children, you are really
barren. You are really desolate. You are really without -- and this is what
it means to be without a husband, without the sustaining presence of God. The
presence of God is with the heavenly Jerusalem. With those who are bearing
children according to promise. Not according to the flesh. The children of
Sarah. The children of Isaac. Not the children of Hagar and Ishmael.
4:28

Now, that's how Paul concludes this, Verse 28. He says:


Okay, now, you brothers -- again that familial language. You are children
according to Isaac. Children of promise. Now, that's very important. There
is the connection. You who are baptized into Christ, you're not children of
Ishmael or Hagar. Contrary to what the opponents are saying of you. You are
the children of Isaac, the children of promise.
4:29

And then in Verse 29 and 30, he brings his exegetical argument


to an end. He says: But just as at that time he who was born according to
the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit so also it is
now. Namely, if you go back to Genesis, you may be able to see that the one
born according to the flesh, namely, Ishmael, persecuted the one born
according to the Spirit, that is Isaac. Now, if you read between the lines
very carefully in Genesis, you can see that. But it's not as prominent as you
might think. But he says: So also now. And what he means by that is now
the children of Ishmael, namely, my opponents, are persecuting you, the

children of Isaac.
thing on its head.

Don't let them do that. They are trying to turn the whole
But that is not -- that is not what has happened.

4:30
And so he concludes now in Verse 30 -- and this is -- if you
haven't gotten it so far, this is where it's going to come from. And read
this now in the context of persecution. Persecution is affirming their
identity, showing them that they are in fact children of the promise. And he
says this: Cast out the slave woman and her son. Now, the slave woman of
course is Hagar and her son is Ishmael. But here the slave woman are the
opponents of Paul and all those they have given birth to by means of
circumcision. Throw them out. Because those children, the son of the slave
woman, will not inherit with the son of the free woman. In other words, those
who submit to circumcision now under the powerful persuasion of the opponents,
they will not inherit, they will not be the inheritors of Abraham's promise
with those who are free, namely, those who are baptized.
4:31

Now, that is a powerful statement. And he is taking the text


in Genesis and applying it directly to the Galatians and the situation in
which they find themselves. And so he concludes Verse 31: Therefore,
brethren, we are children not of the slave woman but of the free one. We are
the children of Sarah. We are the children of Isaac. We are not children of
Ishmael and Hagar. And so you can see how they are both reading the text.
The opponents and Paul are both reading Genesis 16 to 21. And yet they are
coming to totally different interpretations. And Paul is saying very clearly
here: Don't listen to them. Because they are saying exactly the opposite of
what you were taught by me. And up until this point I have shown you how the
law enslaves, how the law brings us to our knees. How the law is an
imprisoning jailer. And if you go that route, you are under the law and are
children of Hagar and Ishmael. But if you go with the Gospel that I've
preached, the Gospel of freedom, then your mother is Jerusalem. Not here now.
But Jerusalem above. And you are free. You are free because you believe in
the Gospel, the pure Gospel, of Christ crucified and risen from the dead
without any law added. Without having to do anything to cooperate with God
for your salvation.
Now, if you look at this argument that began in Chapter 3 and
ends here now at the end of Chapter 4, this is as powerful an ending to his
interpretation of Scripture around what faith is, what law is, what promise
is, what ultimately the truth of the Gospel is. This is as powerful an ending
as you can see. And it takes us back into the very heart of the Old
Testament. Abraham. Isaac. The sacrifice of Isaac. And the fact that there
was this division between Isaac and Ishmael. And that division could take
place now in the Christian church founded on the death and resurrection of
Jesus Christ.
Let it not be so says Paul. Because he sees that his preaching is bringing
forth children of promise, which you, Galatians, are. Remember that. Remember
your identity. And that's something we need to remember, too. That we are
the baptized. We are not slaves to the law. We are freed by Christ. And as
Lutheran Christians, we know that the freedom of the Gospel is at the heart
and soul of our faith.
Title: Galatians- Volume 35 (Gal. 5:1)

Subject: What is that freedom Paul is speaking about in the beginning of Chapter 5?
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1259
Time: 5:50

Galatians 5
English Standard Version (ESV)

Christ Has Set Us Free


5 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of
slavery.

Q: If I may move our discussion into Chapter 5, I would like to ask what Paul
means when he says: In the realm of freedom, Christ has set us free. What
is that freedom Paul is speaking about?
A: DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:
That is an excellent question, David. Because what it does is it shows us
that the first verse of Chapter 5 is a hinge. It is a hinge that really in a
sense reaches back into the argument of Chapters 3 and 4 and then moves us
forward into Chapter 5. And in answering what that freedom is that we have in
Christ Jesus, we can introduce the themes of Chapter 5.
Now, Chapter 5 and 6, are a totally different section to
Galatians. And we're going to see that very clearly. And what we're going to
see as this pivot between the two sections -- and I'm going to give you the
technical language here. Because you're going to read these in the
commentaries so you might as well know what they are. The previous section is
called the exegetical argument. The exegetical section. And the section,
Chapters 5 and 6, is sometimes called the paranetic section. Now, that sounds
like a word that you may not have heard before. But what it means is that the
time in which Paul now exhorts the disciples of Galatians, his disciples, the
hortatory section -- these are mostly imperative verbs. Although there are
many future verbs. And they really don't begin until Verse 13. But this is
where he's talking about the future. He's exhorting them to a particular way
of life. It's a completely different section.
5:1

Now, the reason why Chapter 5 Verse 1 is such a wonderful


pivot is because it puts on the table this concept of freedom. Now, we've
seen it. We've certainly seen the concept of slavery. And freedom is the
opposite of that. And we sometimes translate this: For freedom Christ has
set you free. But I want to translate it this way: In the realm of
freedom -- that's what your question had, too. And I think that's an
excellent way of translating it. In the realm of freedom. Freedom is a
realm. It's a condition. It's a space. It's like grace. Where Christ is
present, there is freedom. Freedom is this world in which we live in. That
has been freed and made new in Christ. Freedom is the Gospel as it's lived

out in concrete ways in congregations that are in Christ. Freedom is the way
in which God has made us in baptism. And when we gather together as his body,
the church, we live in this state of freedom.
Now, what is it freedom from? We've seen that in the
exegetical section. This is why it's a pivot. It's freedom from the law. We
are no longer enslaved to these elemental powers. These elemental spirits.
These fundamental powers like sin and death and law and flesh. This is what we
have been freed from in Christ. And this is the realm. It's like a kingdom.
We are delivered from slavery. This is the space created by God who in that
space is setting us free by making right what has gone wrong. That's
justification. In other words, you could say freedom is the realm in which
justification is happening.
Now, Paul goes on here in this verse. He says more than
simply for freedom Christ has set us free. He says -- and here is an
imperative stand firm therefore and do not again submit yourselves to the
yoke of slavery. Now, this is a command. Stand firm. This is the
language of Jesus. You know, when you see the Son of Man coming, don't run,
but stand firm. Lift up your heads and look. Because your salvation is
drawing near. When you live in this realm of freedom, stand there. Stand
firm. Do not budge. And I think he tells you why. Because you are not to
submit. And that sense of yoke comes from the Gospel. My yoke is easy, my
burden is light. The yoke of slavery, however, is not easy. That's what the
Pharisees are accused by Jesus of putting on people. That's what these
opponents of Paul have done. They have put the yoke of the law on them. And
this has submitted them into a state of slavery.
Freedom or slavery. Those are the choices. And they are not
a choice that we can make. Freedom is something that we can't choose. God
chooses it for us. Slavery we can choose. And the Galatians who were pagans
lived in the slavery of unbelief. In the slavery of sin. Do they now want to
exchange that for a slavery of circumcision, a slavery of living under the
law, of having to make oneself right with God by their works? If you have
been set free by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, why don't you want to live in
that freedom, in that space where God is continually setting you free? And so
what is going to happen now in the next two chapters is Paul is going to
describe daily life looks like in a world that has been set free through the
death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Title: Galatians- Volume 36 (Overview of Gal. 5-6)
Subject: How does Chapter 6 relate to the preceding message to the Galatians?
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1260
Time: 9:10

Q: Slow me down if I'm jumping ahead but I'm curious. With Galatians 5 and 6
there's a shift in Paul's homily. What role does the statement "For in Christ
Jesus there is no power in circumcision or uncircumcision but faith actively
working through love" play in the rest of Paul's letter. Does this verse
illuminate other verses here at the close of the letter?
A: DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:
I think you've recognized, Eric, that we are in a shift from the first four
chapters of Galatians, particularly the last two that have been the exegetical
argument now into what we're going to call the pastoral section. And I want

to call it that. I don't like the language of exhortation. I used it earlier,


paranesis, this is language that I think makes us uncomfortable. Because it
has the language of the law in it. I want to call this the pastoral section.
Overview of Chapters 5 and 6
Now, let me begin in answering your question by giving an
overview of these two chapters. You know, as a Lutheran, we have been those
who have kind of exalted in the freedom of the Gospel. And we've always been
afraid of the law. And especially when we talk about how we are to live. The
life of sanctification. This always makes Lutherans very nervous.
When I first taught the epistle to the Galatians, I was always very weary of
these last two chapters. And I didn't like them. Because it talked about
what it means to live in the world as a Christian. And when we start talking
about that, we're very scared of becoming too reformed or to talk too much
about how daily life is a means of salvation. I think it's important to
recognize that that uncomfortableness is something that Paul is aware of. And
I want you to picture the situation in Galatians like this. And then I want
to make a comparison to our situation today.
I think what the opponents to Paul had in Galatia are saying
to the Galatians about Paul is this: They are saying: Paul, we've already
told you how much we admire and respect him. That Paul is a brilliant man. A
man who knows his Scripture better than anyone else. As we said, he was the
top of our class. But Paul made it too simple for you. Paul made it simple
for you because he's kind of like a seminary professor. He doesn't live in
the real world; he doesn't know what it's like out there in the daily life of
Christians. He doesn't know what the battle is like out there. He doesn't
know what it means to live in the world. And so we're helping you to live.
And in order to live this world, you've got to have the law. You can't live
without the law. You have to have the law as a guide in showing you the way
in which you can be obedient to God. So Paul is out of touch with reality. So
don't listen to him. He only gives you part of the story. We give you the
full story. And what we give is good, practical, solid advice on how to live
in the world.
Now, I think that Paul was hearing what they were saying. I
think Paul knew that this is exactly what they were saying about his teaching.
And Paul turns to the Galatians here and he goes: Listen. Don't listen to
them because they don't know what daily life in the church is like. Listen to
me. Because I know what real life is like. And real life is always defined
by Christ. We have the real life in Christ. Not them. So let me talk to you
now about what it means to be a pastor in Christ's church. And let me as a
pastor show you what a map looks like of a world in which God is making all
things new. A world in which freedom reigns. A world in which God in Christ
is making right what has gone wrong.
Let me give you a map of daily life in the Christian church
where Christ is present with his gifts. They are giving you a map of the law.
That's the wrong map. I am now going to give you a map in which daily life in
God's church is constituted by love. Love is where it's at. And love is the
first fruit of the Spirit. I'm talking about faithful and dynamic love. I'm
not talking about romantic love or emotional love. I'm talking about love in
the corporate life of the church. That's not a human deed but a fruit of the
Spirit. And I want to show you now how faith is energized love. Not a
romantic feeling. But a pattern of life. A way of living in Christ. Because
he first loved us and gave his life for us. Love is now going to be the

central theme of these last two chapters, says Paul. Love is what this really
entire epistle is about. The love of Christ in the cross and the love of
Christians in the world.
Now, take a moment and look with me at what Paul is a saying and see if it's
true. And let's just bounce around these last two chapters. You asked the
question, Eric, about for in Christ Jesus there is no power in circumcision
or uncircumcision but faith actively working through love. That is what
Verse 6 says. And we're going to get to that.
But let's just look at that first. For in Christ Jesus, neither
circumcision matters, avails or has power, nor uncircumcision. But
faith actively working through love. Now, that's a profound statement.
He's saying: I don't want to talk about circumcision or uncircumcision.
Those aren't the issues. What's the issue is how faith is actively
working through love.
Now, this concept of love is important. Because then in Verse 14 he
says: The entire law, all of the law, comes to its perfect completion
in one word. And this is really one saying from Scripture. And you
know this from Leviticus 19. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Now, there you can see love being acted out in concrete ways with one's
neighbor. Now, you know that's the second table of the law. That's
what the law is about. Loving your neighbor as yourself. Just as Jesus
loved us as himself in giving up his life for us.
If you look at Verse 22, the fruit of the Spirit is -- what's the first
fruit of the Spirit, the most important one. Love. Then he goes on,
joy and peace and patience and kindness, et cetera. But love is the
first fruit of the Spirit. That's what it's all about.
And then this is extraordinary. He doesn't use the word love. But I think
you can see here that he is talking about something that is parallel to love.
In Chapter 6 Verse 2 he's talking about bearing one another's burdens.
That's what it means to love one's neighbor. That's faith actively
expressing itself, working it self out in love. To bear one another's
burdens. And when you do that, you bring to fulfillment over and over
again not the love of Christ but the law of Christ. Now, that law of
Christ goes back to 5:14. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
That's how the whole law is fulfilled, in Christ's love. And that is
what he now calls the law of Christ. Now imagine how shattering that
would be. He never used the law in a positive way. And now he's
calling it the law of Christ.
And then finally in Chapter 6 Verse 14, remember 5:6 says for in Christ Jesus
circumcision avails nothing nor uncircumcision but faith actively working in
love. In 6:15 he says: For neither circumcision is anything nor
uncircumcision. But what is something? New creation. New creation. That's
one of the great themes of Galatians. And new creation is where the love of
Christ expressed on the cross is now actively expressing itself in faith where
we are loving our neighbors as ourselves. And we are bearing one another's
burdens. And thus, fulfilling the law of Christ.
Now, that takes us back to Chapter 5 Verses 2 and following.
And just take a look at that. And I think as we do, you will see how these
passages now have a context in which we can see the daily life in the
Christian church is what Paul is talking about here.
Title: Galatians- Volume 37 (Gal. 5:2-12)

Subject: What does the future of the Galatian congregation look like from Paul's perspective?
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1261
Time: 15:00

Galatians 5
English Standard Version (ESV)
Christ Has Set Us Free

5 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of
slavery.
2

Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you.
I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole
law. 4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified[a] by the law; you have fallen
away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of
righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything,
but only faith working through love.
3

You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion is not
from him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in the
Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty,
whoever he is. 11 But if I, brothers,[b] still preach[c] circumcision, why am I still being persecuted?
In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. 12 I wish those who unsettle you would
emasculate themselves!

Q: I've given a lot of thought to the future of our little congregation here
in eastern Wyoming. Paul seems to be making statements about the future in
Galatians 5. What does the future of the Galatian congregation look like from
Paul's perspective?
A: DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:
Boy, this is so important to recognize that we need to think about the future.
And even though we live kind of in past, present and future as Christians, we
need to live knowing about what we have in Christ and that it's already ours.
Now, this is what Paul is doing here. And this is what you need to do with
your congregation in Wyoming. You need to make some is statements to them
about realistic reality in the future. Real life in the future. Real life in
the future is defined by Christ. And Paul here is going to be making
realistic statements about the future of the Galatians if they are a community
that lives in Christ.
important.

<u> Now, I'm going to say something here that's extremely


When we now go forward into this, you must see that Paul is not

addressing individuals. He's addressing communities. </u> He's talking to


the church. And that's the case in all of his epistles. We are such an
individualistic world that we tend to look at what Paul says and take it
personally as being addressed to us. Certainly individuals are involved. But
he's talking to communities here. So when he talks about the fruits of the
Spirit, he's not talking about them in individuals, even though they manifest
themselves in individuals. He's talking about the fruits of the Spirit as
they manifest themselves in corporate communities, in communities.
5:2-12
Now, starting in Verse 2 through Verse 12, Paul is going to
throw a lot of impressive images at us. He's going to use images that are
very common to life. And that's good. That's a good preacher. These are
images that anybody can identify with. For example in Verse 4 he's going to
talk about losing our footing. Falling. And you know how when you're
falling, you lose sense of reality. He's going to say: Don't do that.
Christ will ground you. In Verse 7 he's going to talk about running a race.
That's a very common image in Paul. In Verse 9 he's going to talk about
leaven and that's very common in the gospels particularly in the teaching of
Jesus. And he's talking about now a world that is post cross, post
resurrection. And post law. That if the law has in fact been brought to
fulfillment in Christ, then Christ is what defines the world, not the law.
5:2
So look at how he begins this section. He says: Look.
Another imperative. I, Paul, am saying this to you. If you accept
circumcision -- and I think the way to translate this is if you make
circumcision the center of your reality, then Christ avails you nothing. Now,
these are high stakes. You can either go with Christ. Or you can go with
circumcision. If you're going to define your world, if your realistic life in
the future is going to be defined by circumcision then Christ is out of the
picture. He avails you nothing. Yeah, this translation says: Christ will
be of no advantage to you. Now, those are high stakes. And he is saying
very clearly that there's two ways here.
5:3
And then in Verse 3, he continues this. He says: I am testifying to you
that everyone who accepts circumcision, then he is obligated to keep, to do,
the whole law. Now, this is a truth that we have seen before. This is the
way it is. You can't just pick and choose in the law. If you're going to go
with the law, you've got to go with the whole thing. If you join the Mafia,
you're in it for life. That's just the way it is. And I think he's saying a
truth here that flies in the face of what the opponents are saying. You can
pick and choose. Pick the laws you want. We'll give you the ones we think
are absolutely necessary. You don't have to worry about those other things.
But Paul says no. You go into prison, you know, debtor's prison, you're never
going to get out. This is where they lock the door and throw away the key.
Now, that's just the way it is. And he said that's reality. That's a
realistic statement to you about the future if you go the way of circumcision.
5:4

But then he keeps going on. In Verse 4 he says this: You


are severed from Christ. You who want to be declared righteous by the law.
You have fallen away from grace. Now, I think that language of severed from
Christ is the language of circumcision. If you cut off the foreskin of the
flesh, you have cut yourself off from Christ. If that's the way you want to

be justified. And if you are, you are losing your footing in Christ.
falling away from Christ.

You're

Now, that's a frightening thing. I don't know if you know


this but there are three things in the world that are usually thought of as
being places where Satan can be located.
(1) Darkness, total darkness, lack of any differentiation. You know,
that's complete nothingness, that's Satan.
(2) Snakes. You feel a snake. Nothing feels like a snake. That's why
Satan is represented by a snake.
(3) And then falling, you know, when you fall, you're out of touch with
reality. If you lose Christ, if you sever yourself from Christ, you're
out of touch with reality. You know, gravity -- you're afraid. That's
a frightening thing. That's why we say that we fall in love. We lose
touch with reality when we fall in love. I mean, that is true. But if
you fall away from Christ, you are not in reality. And if you go with
the law, you are severing yourself from Christ. So you're not in touch
with reality. You can see that Paul is really making a point of what
is true life like. What is real life like in Christ.
5:5
Now, he goes on. Verse 5. And here he's going to speak to them very, very
directly. He says: For through the Spirit by faith we, ourselves, eagerly
await the hope of righteousness. Now, this is a phenomenal statement. One is
because it's the only occurrence in Galatians of hope. And hope is always the
future reality. That's why we talk about realistic things in the future. And
it's the hope of righteousness. The hope where righteousness now comes to its
complete fulfillment. If you want to see kind of real life brought to its
final end, this is talking about heaven, it's talking about where we're with
Christ completely, then you live by the Spirit by faith. Not by works of the
law. But by the Spirit by faith. Now, this is a profound statement, that we
do look forward to that fulfillment when all things are right in Christ. And
there is no barrier because of sin or because of the virus that has infected
us, death in those kind of things. We live fully in Christ when we realize
the hope of where everything now is made right. And there is no wrong.
5:6

And that gives birth to the statement we've talked about


already. For in Christ Jesus, notice that-in Christ Jesus, in connection with
Christ. You know, that's that baptismal language when you are in Christ Jesus
and he is in you. Circumcision isn't an issue. Uncircumcision isn't an
issue. What's an issue is how faith is actively expressing itself in love.
Why is that? Because Christ is in you. And his love is now in the world
through you. That's what your faith does. It embodies Christ. And his love.
So that you're showing actively in your person Christ's faithfulness unto
death and your faith in Christ. And you're showing it in expressions of love.
Now, remember love is charity. Love is giving. Love is gift and forgiveness
and mercy and compassion. That's the life of Christ. That's what the
Christian is in the world. That is what faith is. Simply being Christ in the
world.
5:7
Now, Paul builds on that. This is the realm now that you
live. And you're the Christ in the world. How does the world see Christ in
you? And so he goes on. He says: You were running well. Who has prevented
you from being persuaded by the truth of the Gospel or literally obeying the

truth of the Gospel. You know here is that race imagery.


Gospel. Obeying the Gospel. Obeying the truth.

The truth is the

5:8-9
Who has prevented you? The opponents have. They are the ones that are
keeping you from running the race well. He says in Verse 8: The one who is
persuading you is not the one who called you. Who is persuading you? The
opponents. They are great rhetoricians. But they are not the ones who have
called you. And what they have done, Verse 9, is they have infected the whole
lump with a little leaven. And that leaven is the law. You put a little law
in -- it's like being a little bit pregnant. It doesn't work. A little law,
the whole thing is law. You can't just do a little bit of it, it's all or
nothing. Now, you can see here where Paul is again being polemical with them
because he wants to make his point.
5:10
And then in Verse 10. This is a verse in which he's talking
about the future for the Galatians, the power of Christ to shape their future.
And that the power of Christ is greater than the teacher's persuasion. This
is what he says: I have confidence in you in the Lord. In the Lord.
Confidence. Here Paul is being the pastor. Showing them: I have confidence
in you. That you will take no other view than mine. Because that's the
Scriptures. Because I represent Christ. And because you know -- that I am
speaking the truth. And he says this: And the one -- and he is speaking
here of one person the one who is troubling you, the leader of these
opponents, he will bear the judgment. Whoever he might be. Paul doesn't
even want to name them. Everybody knows who he is. But Paul is not even
going to give this man the respect to name him. The one who is troubling you,
perverting the Gospel for you. The one who is causing you such anxiety. Who
is actually making you doubt your faith, he is going to bear the judgment of
the Lord if he continues to do this. And you know who he is.
5:11-12

And then this is really an extraordinary finish for Paul in


Verses 11 and 12. He says: But if I, brothers -- notice brothers if I
am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? Now, I
think they are saying that Paul does preach circumcision. And you remember in
that first missionary journey, he does circumcise some. He circumcises them
because of the Father. It's not a matter of salvation. It's a matter of not
creating a barrier. So maybe that's what they are referring to. But he's
saying to them if I am preaching circumcision along with the opponents, then
why am I being persecuted? You know that's not what I'm preaching. Because
he says -- at the end of Verse 11 he says very clearly: If that is the case,
then the offense of the cross has been removed and I have been preaching the
scandal of the cross -- literally it's the scandal of the cross -- all along.
Here notice. He puts circumcision and preaching of the cross next to each
other. <u> We're going to see in the next two chapters that the problem the
opponents have with Paul is that the cross of Jesus Christ and the preaching
of that cross is too prominent in what Paul is saying. </u>
And then perhaps the famous statement -- and this is one that
I always tell young preachers. Don't imitate Paul here. Paul -- and it's a
wish. He says: I wish that those who are troubling, unsettling you, that
they would -- and the translation here is emasculate themselves. It really
is castrate themselves. Now, that's pretty strong words. And I think the
image here is intended to be graphic obviously. But really the image is an
image of paganism. Bear with me. I'm just trying to explain what Paul is

saying. Paul is saying that when you have the knife and you're about ready to
do circumcision, to cut off that foreskin, he says: I wish that the knife
would slip and it would castrate you. Not you, the Galatians. But the
opponents would castrate themselves. Now, castration is what pagan priests do.
Jews, as you know, castration is a great sign of uncleanness, of unholiness.
And Paul is saying if you go the route of circumcision, that is like
castration among the pagan priests. If you go that route, you are no
different than a pagan.
Now, do you see what Paul is saying? This is not only graphic
image. Bloody image. Very brutal image. But the point is -- and they would
have picked this up -- that if you begin to use the flesh, circumcision, dead
foreskins as a means of making yourself right with God, then you are no
different than a pagan priest who castrates himself so that he might be able
to offer sacrifices to idols in the temple. Paul is a equating his opponents
with pagan priests in the most graphic of ways. Do you think Paul is upset
here? I think he's very upset. And I think he's showing very clearly that he
is not going to shrink from any kind of image that indicates that the Gospel,
the truth of the Gospel, is at stake. And he wants them to see that
ultimately to be a Christian is to be someone who is completely and totally
committed to the truth of that Gospel.
Title: Galatians- Volume 38 (Gal. 5:13-15)???
Subject: What does it mean that the Galatians are not to let their flesh rule in their
congregation?
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1262
Time: 12:59

Galatians 5
English Standard Version (ESV)
Christ Has Set Us Free

13

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for
the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: You
shall love your neighbor as yourself. 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that
you are not consumed by one another.

Q: In Galatians Chapter 5 Verse 13, Paul introduces the idea of flesh. What
does it mean that the Galatians are not to let their flesh become a military
base of operations in their congregations? Oh, and I think Paul quotes
Leviticus when he says: The whole law is summed up in one word: You shall
love your neighbor as yourself. What is he saying about the law here?
A: DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:

There is a very slight shift here in the argument in Galatians. We've talked
already about how Chapters 5 and 6 are the pastoral section. The first part,
Verses 1 to 12, is mostly as we indicated things about the future. But now we
see the section in which we really kind of intensely engage in pastoral
guidance by means of a series of imperatives in which Paul is giving some
admonitions to the congregation.
5:13-17 (Imperatives)
Now, if you look with me at the text, you will see that:
in Verse 13 there is an implied imperative: Do not allow the flesh to
become a military base of operations. There's in a sense an imperative
there. It's implied. But we have to add it in the English.
And then
you can see: But become slaves. See that? Become servants to one
another through love.
And then love one another in Verse 14. And that's in the future. But
you know that the future is the most intensive sort of imperative
command.
Then Verse 15: Look. You know, look -- or do not look out.
And in Verse 16: Walk around in the Spirit.
And then you can see following that in Verses 17 and following the
imperatives end.
But we begin to see this section of exhortation. In which Paul is commanding
them to live like Christ.
5:13
Now, it begins in Verse 13. And your question, Nick, is a very, very good
one. Because he is introducing a new concept here. And that's a very
important thing to see at the end of a letter when a new concept comes in.
Because it obviously is something we should be alerted to. And the concept
now is flesh. Now he's used the word flesh before. But it's always been kind
of a synonym for circumcision. But now he's talking about flesh as a power.
He's going to talk about being under the power of the flesh. And here he's
talking about it as a super human power in which sin is at work in us. And
this is in a sense when he's using the word flesh now, he's talking about the
former life in paganism.
And that expression that you have there, a military base of
operations, is a brilliant one. Because that's exactly what that word means.
And remember, we said the recipients of this letter are soldiers. So they are
going to be in a context now where they understand this. And just think of
that metaphor here. You know, don't create a camp now in your congregation
where the flesh is going to run wild. Don't return now to what you were
before. Now, it's interesting because he's going to explain this as this text
unfolds. And again, it's one of those Pauline arguments that to a certain
extent is somewhat subtle. But once you get underneath it, you can see how
devastating it is going to be to his opponents. Because what Paul is going to
be doing here is he's going to be equating the life of the flesh, namely, in
sin with all its vices, to a life living under the law with all its
righteousness as being equivalent. And I think when we get to the point where
we see the catalog of virtues and vices, we'll be able to see how clearly Paul
is contrasting the Christian way of life, the life in which the great fruits
of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, et cetera, in a congregation where you can
see Christ is formed in them. And they are at peace with one another. And in
a sense at peace with God, even though they may be at odds with the world.
That's going to be contrasted to a congregation that is marked by this flesh

where they have actually allowed their congregation to be a place where the
flesh runs wild.
Now, look at how he starts. And you can see that this is so
real. This is something that we can identify with. And remember, as we read
these words now, that this is pastoral guidance. And what Paul is talking
about is what is daily life like now in a world in which God in Christ is
making right what has gone wrong. And he's also talking about it as daily
life in wartime where there are these battles between flesh and Spirit.
Between faith and the law.
And this is -- what he's doing, let's put it this way -- and
this is why it's pastoral. This is how I would define pastoral at least in
this context. Paul is providing them a map of the world in which they really
live. The real world. The real world where the real presence of Jesus Christ
is there by the Spirit. A real world that God has made by sending Christ and
his Spirit into the world. Remember, God sent his Son into the world. God
send the Spirit of his Son. That's the real world Paul is talking about. And
he's going to describe this real world as we saw in the opening comments in 5
and 6 as the new creation from 6:15. That's what the real world it. It's the
new creation.
5:13
And so he begins. And this is -- like I said, this is a turning point here.
Although you can hear the echo back to Verse 1 of this chapter. He begins by
saying: For you were called to freedom brethren. And that's that realm of
freedom. Remember freedom, freedom in the Gospel. Freedom in Christ.
Freedom from the law. But then he says and you can see when people are freed
from the law, they can become kind of libertized I think is the word that's
oftentimes used. But they can resort to sin in the flesh because they feel
they have this freedom. So he says: For you were called to freedom,
brethren. But do not allow this freedom to become a military base of
operations for the flesh. Don't let the flesh now run wild just because
you're free in the Gospel. And you can hear this echo in Romans. You know,
Romans 6. Where it says, Shall we sin so that grace may abound? You can
see the same sort of thing is going on there.
And now he then gives I think the essence of what the life of
Christ is like. But serve one another. And here is the word for servant.
***Duleo. Serve one another through love as Christ served us through the
cross. Now, this is the language that the Son of Man did not come to be served
but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. This is the language
of atonement. And we serve one another. And we're going to see how he's
going to describe how that is. Love your neighbor as yourself. Bear each
other's burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ. This is how we serve one
another. Now, this is the antidote for the flesh. Serving one another in
love. Love is the antidote for the flesh. And you can see now that love is
going to be the answer throughout.
5:14
Let me just finish these next two verses and then I think
we'll take another question. But we've already looked at Verse 14. But it's
now time for us to focus in on it. Because here is I think perhaps the most
important verse in this whole section. And I want to translate this
carefully.
For the whole law, ***nomas -- okay. This is the law that
Paul has been talking about -- is brought to its perfect completion or
fulfillment. Is brought to its end. To what it was intended to be in one

word. And in one word. It's not really one word. It's a saying, one saying
from Scripture. And this is Leviticus 19:18: You shall love your neighbor
as yourself. Now this future indicative is the strongest kind of imperative.
This is not an option. If you are in Christ, if you are baptized, you love
your neighbor as yourself. Because Christ loved us, his neighbors, to the
point of death, even death on the cross.
Now, here you can see that the law is good. The law as it is
fulfilled in Christ in love is what the law was intended to be from the
beginning. It's only as we -- remember back when Paul said, why then the law?
It was only on account of transgression that the law becomes bad, shows us our
sin, keeps us from sinning. But the law itself is a good thing. In Christ.
In the cross. In love. In its fulfillment on the cross. Those of us who
have been as Paul says co-crucified with Christ. Christ living in us. I'm
just echoing Paul in Chapter 2. Christ living in us, we living in him. The
life I now live in the flesh. It's Christ's life. And that's a life of love.
So the law is not a burden now. It's not something that condemns me. The law
shows me how I can love my neighbor as Christ loved my neighbor. How I can
serve my neighbor in love.
5:15

And then Paul can't help himself. Because he knows that there
are other things going on. And here in Verse 15 right after this really kind
of sublime theology in which you can see how justification and sanctification
are together in Christ. Not separated. But joined together in Christ. Paul
speaks in Verse 15 of what Pharisaical behavior, of what life under the law is
like. And he says -- and this is very sharp. But if you bite and devour one
another -- look at the language there. It's very, very graphic. If you
bite and devour one another, watch out. Look out lest you are not consumed
by one another. And that's what happens in Pharisaical behavior when you're
living according to the law. People are measuring themselves according to the
law. And that causes this kind of disruption. And I think this idea of being
consumed by one another, you can see in any kind of a culture where the law is
the way of life that it creates this kind of enmity between people.
I think we can all identify with this. Think of a classroom
where people are extremely competitive. How that can create a tremendous
amount of anxiety of people biting and consuming one another over the
competition over standards like that. There's only one standard we're going to
see. And that is the standard of love. This is perhaps the most important
section for the last two chapters that really sets the tone for what's going
to happen. We've anticipated it in the first 12 verses. But as Paul is want
to do, he eases us into the argument. And then he gives us the punch. And
here is the punch.
So just to very briefly summarize here, we are freed from the
cursing law. We are freed from sin. We are freed from the elements of the
cosmos. And now Paul says we are free from the flesh. But in that freedom,
don't let the flesh take over. Because the flesh destroys community life.
Instead, serve one another in love as Christ served us by giving up his life
for his neighbors on the cross.

Title: Galatians- Volume 39 (Gal. 5:16-24)


Subject: What is Paul saying about the Spirit and the flesh in Galatians 5:16-24?
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1263

Time: 24:54

Galatians 5
English Standard Version (ESV)
Keep in Step with the Spirit
16

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires
of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are
opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by
the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual
immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger,
rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy,[d] drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you,
as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But
the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness,
self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have
crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Q: I've heard Galatians 5:16 through 24 are called the catalog of vices and
virtues. What is Paul really saying here about the world in which we live?
Is he talking about communities which are marked by either works of the flesh
or fruit of the Spirit? Or does he have something else in mind? And when
Christians produce fruit of the Spirit is that the dynamic result of Christ
living in them?
A: DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:
Josh, these are profound questions. And good ones. And ones that Paul wants
us to ask about this section. Because this is a very, very misunderstood part
of Paul. And I think you're going to see here in the way in which Paul is
presenting the argument that if we just twist his words a little bit and
actually look at these as the ancient world perhaps would have as catalog of
vices and virtues, then I think we're going to miss the point. This isn't
about moral behavior. That is not what Paul is talking about. Even though it
might give birth to behavior that is moral. But he is talking about what is
it that constitutes a community in Christ. And he's talking about really in
many ways how a community is formed in Christ. This is the language that Paul
has been using throughout this epistle. And here he is now giving concrete
expressions of it.
Now, remember what I said before: Paul is being accused by
his opponents of being a seminary professor who doesn't get it. Who doesn't
know what real life is like. I can identify with that because I'm a seminary
professor. And I oftentimes hear that. More often than I would like to. And
I always tell people: Hey, listen I was School Board chairman of a school for
four years and seven years on the School Board. I think I know what real life

is like. I teach in the high school occasionally. I have high school kids. I
deal with the same problems everybody does. I work with students who have
real life problems. I get out into the church.
One of the things I think we can say of Paul is that even
though Paul may have been an intellectual and a theologian par excellent, Paul
understood that the only world that is real is the world in which Christ is
present. Everything else is false. And that's a very hard thing for some
people to recognize. Especially in our culture. I mean our world is a world
that is without Christ. And they think that they've got the whole thing
going. Just turn on the television, watch the morning shows. Watch the talk
shows. Look at the movies, look at the newspapers in the culture in which we
live, the political culture. They think that's real life.
But real life, real life is found when Christians gather
together around the real presence of Jesus Christ. Where his love is being
giving as a gift in Word and sacrament to the people of God. That's why this
is to be understood at a sermon in a liturgical context. In which Christ is
being given as gift. And his love is being spread among the members as they
commune with him and his body, his bodily presence. In the hearing of the
word and the receiving of the Holy Supper.
Now, for Paul, that's real life. And that creates community.
And that community has certain characteristics. And what he does here very
simply is says that this community is a community in which the Spirit is alive
and well. The communities that are not of the Spirit are communities of the
flesh. Or as we're going to see, communities of the law. But for Paul a
community of the flesh and a community of the law are one and the same thing.
Now let's see if we're going to find that in the text.
5:16

Look at how Paul begins in Verse 16 of this second section of


this pastoral, very pastoral part of Chapter 5. He says in Verse 16: But I
say -- and I'm going to translate this literally because I love the word
walk around in the Spirit. And so do not bring to completion the impulsive
desires of the flesh. Now, I've taken a little liberty there with that word.
We would have simply translated that as desires. But it's impulsive desires.
It's a desire that we cannot help. And what he's saying is daily conduct in
the Galatian congregation, in a Christian congregation, that is formed in
Christ by his Spirit is a community in which the Spirit reigns. Because of
the divine invasion, this Apocalyptic invasion of the son into the cosmos in
the incarnation and his Spirit that comes along with him and now reigns in the
church by which he is present in the church.
That is what constitutes the Christian community. And so if
you are walking in the Spirit and you are -- this is how you have to translate
this walk around in the Spirit. And you are. Then you will not bring to
completion the impulsive desire of the flesh. Now, that's hard for us.
Because we do. We do sin. The impulsive desire of the flesh sometimes gets a
hold of us. And when that happens to a Christian, it's always a great
tragedy. Paul is going to actually refer to this in the next chapter. So
we'll wait for him to talk about what happens when the impulsive desire of the
flesh breaks out in a Christian community. But here he's talking in general
terms. Walk around in the Spirit and so do not bring to completion the
impulsive desire of the flesh.
5:17

And here is why. Verse 17 states is very, very clearly. And


I want you to see now that we have two orbs of power: Flesh and Spirit. They
are at war with one another. They are fighting one another. These are two
supra human Apocalyptic powers that are in this war of liberation. And I
haven't used this language yet but I'm going to now. I think one of the ways
Paul is portraying this war is in this way: When you're baptized, you become
a foot soldier on the front line of this Apocalyptic battle. Now, oftentimes
we think it's the flesh that's desiring war on the Spirit. But it's just the
other way around.
It's the Spirit that's declaring war on the flesh. The flesh
has it all. The flesh is in control of the world. It's having a grand time.
But it's the invasion of the Son to come in and take on the flesh. It's the
invasion of the Spirit into us that changes us. And we are now by the Spirit
there on the front lines of the Apocalyptic war fighting that war by the
Spirit in Christ, clothed in Christ, with his Apocalyptic armor on us. It's
not our armor. Remember what Paul says later on: we have the breast plate of
righteousness, et cetera, et cetera. You know the helmet of salvation. We're
out there fighting the battle in Christ. And we're doing it because that's
who we are. That's who we have become in baptism.
And so this -- I think this sense of Apocalyptic war is very
much here. And these soldiers, these Galatian soldiers would get it. They
know what war is like. But this is a war unlike any war they've fought. This
is a cosmic war. This is a war that Christ fought on the cross against Satan.
Killed him. But he triumphed. He triumphed in his weakness just as Paul
preached the Gospel in his weakness. It's one of my favorite images from the
fathers. You probably know that Christ was crucified naked on the cross. And
the fathers say that they are in his nakedness, in his weakness, in his shame
and in humiliation he despoiled the principalities and powers of this world.
He conquered them in his nakedness. Now, that's the images Paul wants us to
have in our minds as he goes forward here.
Now, look at what he says in Verse 17. He says very clearly
here: For the desires of the flesh, the impulsive desires of the flesh, are
against the Spirit and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh. Now,
see, they are at war with one another. These evil desires and the Spirit.
And then he goes on: For these are opposed to each other to keep you from
doing the things you want to do. Now, does that sound like Romans 7? The
things I don't want to do, I do and -- you know, this is Romans 7. Here
Romans 7 is a sense of kind of expanding this.
Here you can see that the war between the evil desires in the
flesh and the Spirit begin with the Galatians baptism. And as I said, the
Spirit is declaring war. And we are from the moment we are baptized engaged
in a war that is -- that is painful. This is something that I think a lot of
people don't recognize when people are newly baptized. They think that their
life is going to be better. That things -- now that they are in Christ,
everything is going to be good. And oftentimes and pastors I think can testify
to this. When a person is baptized, all of a sudden things seem to go bad for
them. That Satan is out after them. And pastors and congregations need to
support them fully. I mean, it is an extraordinary thing. Because once these
people have been snatched out of the kingdom of Satan. He's angry. And he's
going after them. And as I said, they are soldiers on the front line of the
Apocalyptic war now. And Satan is there trying to win them back. So the
imagery here is very, very powerful. And I think you can see that it's not --

it's not easy. We need Christ. We cannot do it on our own.


can't do it by means of our works.

And we certainly

5:18
Now, look at what he says in Verse 18. And here he's now
going to move forward towards the catalog of vices. If you are led by the
Spirit, and you are -- you always have to add that. And you are. Then you
are not under the power of the law. Now, this may not surprise you. But it
does me now. Because he hasn't mentioned law up until this point. Now it's
under the power of the law. Before it was flesh. But now it's law.
5:19
And look at what he does then in 19: For the works of the flesh are
evident. Now, these works of the flesh I'm going to get to in a minute.
before we go there, I want to make a comment about what Paul is doing.

But

If you're under the power of the law or if you're under the


power of the flesh, works of flesh, it amounts to the same thing. Now, I want
to give you an illustration of this but I want to give the general principle
first. And I may actually give you a couple of illustrations here. People who
are living under the law who are trying to keep the law will oftentimes
experience gross outbursts of sin. That's what living under the law does to
them.
One of my favorite examples of this is a movie called
"Chocolat." I don't know if you saw it. It's a wonderful movie. You should
see it if you haven't seen it. I know some Christians get a little upset
because the woman in it appears to be kind of like a witch. But it's a
wonderful movie about -- that illustrates this very well. It takes place in
France. I think it's the early 20th Century or late 19th Century probably. In
a very kind of Puritanistic kind of context. It happens to be a Roman
Catholic context. But she's kind of a free spirit. She makes this chocolate.
It kind of enhances people's lives. And she's a great threat to the Mayor, the
major kind of control person in this French town who finds her to be against
his very stern, very legalistic way of looking at the world. And he really
tries to keep her from making her chocolates. And having the influence that
she clearly is having in this town. You can see she brings in a freedom, kind
of a refreshing breath of fresh air. And people are living a fuller life
because of her.
Well, anyway, he does everything he can to try to shut her
down. And at the end of the movie there, there's this extraordinary moment
where he's so living under the law that it causes this impulsive desire of the
flesh to break out in him. And so what does he find himself doing? Breaking
into her chocolate store in the front window and just absolutely gorging
himself in this chocolate. And he passes out there in the front of the store.
Now, here is an extraordinary expression of mercy and love. She doesn't go:
Ah-ha look at you. You Puritanical idiot. She embraces him in mercy and love
and forgiveness. And it's an extraordinary expression of the Gospel. And then
they have this kind of Easter celebration. You can see he's a different man.
Well, there the impulsive desire of the flesh broke out in this man who is
living under the law. That's what happens. That's what happens to
Pharisaical behavior. It either goes into the closet or it's outbursts. I
mean there are examples of this. Look at all of those TV evangelists who are
preaching this law, law, law, law, law all the time and then we find out
they've lived a life that isn't necessarily that righteous.

Now, for Paul's opponents, they are going to hear what he's
saying. And what he's saying is this: If you live under the law like these
Pharisaical Christians are telling you to do, or if you live like a pagan with
all these gross outbursts of sin, it's basically the same thing. There is no
difference. And if you go in one, you're eventually going to get to the
other. Now, basically Paul is saying that his Pharisaical opponents are no
different than gross pagan sinners. Now, I mean, he did say earlier that he
wishes that they would castrate themselves. But in some ways, this is even
more indicting of them than that statement.
5:19-21

Now, look at Verses 19, 20 and 21. This is the flesh run
wild. This is the marks of a community who are under the influence of
sin/flesh. And look at the categories here. He says the works of the flesh
are evident. And these are what they are. They are indecency. You know
really pornographic living is really what it is. And this catalog is
disorganized. The one on the fruits of the Spirit is not. But look at this.
Pornographic living, indecency. Lewdness. Rites of holy prostitution.
Sorcery. Enmity. Contentious rivalry. Jealousy. Fits of rage. Selfish
ambition. Now, I'm translating it in a fuller way here. Dissension,
factions. You know, sects, heresies kind of thing. Envy. Drunkenness,
orgies. And things like these. Now, this kind of fleshly outburst, this
impulsive desire of the flesh that's expressing itself in the context of the
community, these are powers that destroy community of life. And what you see
here is a total loss of control. Chaos.
Now, we live in a fairly civilized environment. Most of the
history of the world has not had that. I know when we talk of Luther for
example, you should have gone back into those post medieval towns and late
medieval towns and seen the absolute chaos and craziness. The barbarians who
were absolutely out of control. The Romans were fairly civilized compared to
them. If you look over the history of the world, this kind of behavior is the
kind of behavior you see in a world gone wild. You can still see evidences of
this in our world. Many times, many places. Think of what happened when the
hurricanes hit. When there's a disaster how the flesh runs wild. People just
lose control.
5:21
Paul says in Verse 21 -- and this is how he summarizes it I
warn you as I warned you before that those who do such things will not inherit
the kingdom of God. Those who engage in this regular practice of these
outbursts of sin will not inherit the kingdom of God. Now, that's very, very
unusual language for Paul. First time he's used kingdom of God. It's not a
popular expression in Paul's writings. It's not a common one I should say.
That's the language of Jesus.
And that somewhat surprises us here
because we don't expect it. It comes unexpectedly. And it shows us that what
Paul is doing here is he's talking about a reference here to the teaching of
Jesus. And all the parables about the kingdom, all of the things about the
kingdom are being expressed here by this reference.
Now, if you go to the gospels, you know that the kingdom of
God is all about Christ. He's the king of the kingdom. He is coronated on
the cross as king of the kingdom. This is a theology of the cross. When you
hear kingdom of God, you think theology of the cross. You think that things
are different, are the opposite of what one expects. And what one of expects
when one sees the language of the kingdom is one sees things the opposite of
what the world sees. Those who engage in this behavior are exactly the

opposite of what Christ came to do on the cross. This is not the life of love
and humility. This is not the life of service. This is where one is turned
in it on oneself serving oneself. Remember, I said these are not directed to
individuals. They are directed to a community. And a community that is
constituted by these fleshly outbursts are communities that are destroyed.
Now the community of love. The community of Christ. Marks of
the community that are led by the Spirit. Spirit filled community. Where
there is life in Christ and self control. He doesn't call them works now. He
calls them fruit. This is again an echo of the language of Jesus. And we
know this so well. These are the fruits of the Spirit that you see all over
the church in terms of its iconography and its own language. And these are
fruits that are all given to the community in baptism. They are all given in
Christ. These aren't things that you kind of accumulate over the course of
your Christian life. When you're baptized, when the community is constituted
by baptism, all of these things are there immediately in Christ. And look at
what they are.
5:22-23
The first three, of course, being the first three are the most
important. Love. Joy. And peace. And then you have patience or long
suffering. Kindness. Goodness. Faith. Humility. Self control. I think
that's Christ's faithfulness. Against such things, Paul says, there is no
law. When these things constitute the community, the law -- here is the law
in it's kind of negative thing, to keep the impulsive desire of the flesh from
bursting out. The law does not obtain. The law is not there. Because it's
brought to fulfillment in Christ he says. If the Spirit is there and Christ is
there, there is no need for law. And that is exactly what Paul wants his
congregation to see. That the law now is brought to its fulfillment in the
first fruit of the Spirit. Love and all that flows out of love, which is joy,
peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control.
I think we don't spend enough time talking about self control.
A community constituted by the Spirit in love is a community that is
controlled. It's not out of control. Boy, I tell you, pastors can identify
with that. Voters assembly where people are fighting about something, not
living -- serving one another in love. They can go out of control. And it's
one of the saddest moments in a church where they can see that in fact, that
the flesh is rearing its ugly head up. Because the fruits of the Spirit are
not there.
5:24
Paul ends this by saying something that is profound. And I want you to see
how he brings us back to the cross. I mean, Paul is a theologian of the
cross. And here having talked about what marks a community in Christ, he
shows that that has to always be brought back to the cross. And he says:
Those who belong to Christ -- that's a very important statement. Those who
are his have crucified the flesh. Now, that flesh is all those impulsive
desires, that catalog of vices. With all of its passions and it's desires.
What he's telling us is the Spirit of the crucified Christ. And our victory
over the flesh is not our own. But it's because we have this corporate
participation in Christ's suffering and death. Because we have been cocrucified with Christ, those impulsive desires of the flesh have been
crucified in him. And they have now been given to us as freedom in the Gospel
and the ability to love and bear the fruits of the Spirit in if community.
The death of Christ makes it already possible now for us to
live this way in the Spirit. Now, here baptism comes right back to us. When

were we co-crucified with Christ? In baptism. When did the fruits of the
Spirit become ours? When we were joined with Christ in baptism -- and here
Romans 6 is coming in. Where we suffered with Christ, we died with him, we
were buried and rose again. We rose now to a life that never ends. A life
that is constituted by Christ himself. I think you can see here that love is
the dominant theme of life in Christ. And as I said at the very beginning,
these fruits of the Spirit are not moral imperatives, kind of laws by which we
live. He says very clearly: Of such things there is no law. This is
being. This is identity. This is who we are in Christ. This is our
character. And we bear it joyfully because Christ is in us and Christ lives
through us. This is one of the great gifts that God gives us in Christ.
Title: Galatians- Volume 40 (Gal. 5:25-6:5)
Subject: Would you explain to us how the last verses of Chapter 5 and the first verses of Chapter
6 describe to us the daily life of believers?
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1264
Time: 19:23

Galatians 5-6

English Standard Version (ESV)


25

If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited,
provoking one another, envying one another.

Bear One Another's Burdens

6 Brothers,[a] if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in
a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another's
burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is
nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast
will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load.
Q: I like Joshua's question and your response. But now new questions come to
my mind. Would you explain to us how the last verses of Chapter 5 and the
first verses of Chapter 6 describe to us what daily life is like when God is
making things right. In the new world, the world of restoration and
reconciliation, do believers sin constantly? Or is sin the result of
unfortunate and infrequent moments of extreme weakness? What does life in
Christ look like? What does Paul mean when he calls the Galatians to bear one
another's burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ? Wouldn't the statement
about the law of Christ seem to contradicting everything he said before? And
if I urge my people to seek after the fruits of the Spirit, am I merely
wrapping the moral code in new clothing?
A: DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:

The question you have asked, David, is a question that the people of God in
our congregations desperately want an answer for. This is at the very heart
of what it means to live as a Christian in this world. And I think we are
very blessed that the Apostle Paul has helped us to understand the very things
you are asking.
Let's take a look now at the last two verses of Chapter 5 and the first five
verses of Chapter 6 as a means of getting at what you're asking here. Because
they are so important for us to deal with at this point, especially in light
of what we said about the fruits of the Spirit and all those marks of the
works of the flesh that mark a congregation as a congregation that is out of
control because the impulsive desire of the flesh is kind of overflowing in
it.
5:25

Now, look at how Paul right after talking about how we have
crucified the impulses and the desires of the flesh, the passions and the
desires of the flesh with Christ, how he goes back now to what we call
hortatory subjunctives. But they are like imperatives. And it begins with a
conditional clause. And I think, again, this is a fact condition which means
that he's stating fact. And that's why I would translate this: If we live
by the Spirit and we do -- very important. And we do. And here I think you
can see that this is kind of a statement of fact, as well. Let us also then
walk by the Spirit. And that means live out the Spirit. Let these fruits of
the Spirit live out in our lives. Now, this is kind of a general introduction
now to this final part of his letter.
5:26
But he contrasts that. The life in the Spirit, walking in the
Spirit, he contrasts that in Verse 26 with again Pharisaical self
righteousness. And I think he's being extremely careful in the words that
he's using here. And I think they are very descriptive of this Pharisaical
life that is life as we said under the law and therefore under the power of
the flesh, as well.
He says: Let us not become conceited is how most
translations do it. But it literally is vain glorious. That's an oldfashioned word. But we glory in our own vanity. We look completely inward at
ourselves. And here is what a conceited vain glorious life looks like.
Provoking one another. Envying one another. This is the kind of
Pharisaical self righteousness. The kind of perfectionism, you know, living
according to the law. Self righteous behavior in which the law becomes the
standard and breaking the law is what causes division in congregations. This
is what Paul sees in his opponents as they bring their theology to the
Galatians. It's not constituted by Christ. It's not constituted by love.
It's where you begin really like life under the flesh, you are turned in on
yourself, which is one of our definitions for sin. So here you have life in
the Spirit. Let us walk by the Spirit. If we live in the Spirit and we do,
then let us walk by the Spirit. And then this vain glorious life, provoking
one another, envying one another.
Now/Not Yet Both/And, Sinner and Saint
Now, he puts those on the table again. It's another hinge is
really what it is between the catalog of vices and the fruits of the Spirit.
And now what he's going to speak in Chapter 6 regarding burdens. And in the
very first verse of Chapter 6, Paul recognizes that even though Christ is in

us, even though our communities are marked by the Spirit and the fruits of the
Spirit are to live in us, we still live in a fallen world. That we are still
infected with the virus of sin. And we still are broken people.
Now, this is a very important concept to understand. And this
is really in many ways what separates Lutherans from others. Because we live,
and perhaps you've heard this language -- we live in a now/not yet life. We
now have the fruits of the Spirit. We now live in a community of the Spirit.
We now live with Christ in us. But not yet in its total completeness and
fullness. That's not going to happen until Christ comes again in the second
coming in judgment.
We still live in a world that is broken. Think of it this way: That there's
like a cloud that is over us. And Christians still sin. Original sin still
is in their bodies. They still have outbursts of the flesh. Envy. Even sins
that we would consider to be somewhat horrendous public sins: adultery,
stealing, murder, breaking of the Ten Commandments. As Jesus said, we not only
do it in our actions, we do it in our very thoughts. Just simply lusting
after a woman is like breaking the Sixth Commandment. This is our nature that
we still live in a body, we still live in a world, that is infected with a
virus.
Now, Luther used to talk about it in this way: That we are at
the same time saint and sinner. That there is this tension. And here is I
think a key to Lutheran theology. And I just heard this expression the other
day. I think I've always talked about it. But I've never thought about it
this way. And it's been very helpful. We get into trouble theologically when
we see he it's either/or. It's either the Spirit or it's the flesh. And in a
way it sounds like that's what Paul is saying. But it's not. Because Paul is
a realist. He knows the real world in which we live is a world in which
Christ is present with his gifts. And the Spirit is reigning. And that the
triumph is already here in Christ. Yes, it is. And we live in that. That's
why we're resurrected beings. But we also know we live in a world broken by
sin. So it's never an either/or. It's always a both/and. Lutherans live in
a both/and world. Now, don't ask me to explain that. That's why we sometimes
resort to mystery. The fact that we live at the same time as saint and sinner
is a great mystery. The fact that we live as saint and sinner, we are still
triumphing in Christ is a mystery. Because we are plagued by the impulsive
desires of the flesh. And sometimes they break out. Even in communities
constituted by the Spirit. Even among us who are Christians.
6:1
Paul knows that. Paul sees that. Paul is a realist. He
knows what's happening. And that's why this very next section is so critical.
Listen how this is just dripping with not only pastoral care but pastoral
insight into the character of what we are as human beings. Paul begins Chapter
6 by saying this: Brothers, even if anyone is overtaken or caught up in any
transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of
gentleness, taking heed to yourselves at the same time lest you yourself be
tempted. Now, Paul here is speaking about one of the fruits of the Spirit
that is to be exhibited in a Christian community and that is the spirit of
gentleness. This is the artisan's tool of the Christian. Who is able to
restore somebody who has fallen away into a sin.
Now, we're not quite sure what the Greek means here in its
fullness, to be overtaken. To be caught up in a transgression. Some people
say this is like an addiction. But I think it's really much simpler than

that. That each and every one of us at various points in our lives see that
the impulsive desire of the flesh breaks out. Sometimes it breaks out in
action. Where we affect people. You know, you can think of various
situations in your own life or in your own experience where this has happened.
More often than not, it happens in our minds. It happens in our discontent or
in the hidden life that we live. It happens in the way in which we feel about
people or we hold in resentments or we hold in lust or whatever into our own
minds.
What Paul is saying here is that when this happens, and it
happens, take heed to yourself lest it happen to you, that you, too, be
tempted. What communities that are constituted by the Spirit do is they are
merciful, they are forgiving, they are compassionate, they are loving. I
think that's one of the most extraordinary statements here where he says:
You who are spiritual. You who are marked by the Spirit. Where the Spirit
is living in you. Remember he says if you live by the Spirit and you do walk
in the Spirit. That doesn't mean that you live a moral, perfect life. But
you're a forgiving, loving, compassionate, really merciful person. You're
characterized by these fruits of the Spirit of Christ. And if you are one who
is spiritual -- and this is such an important statement -- you restore, you
bring back the one who has fallen in the spirit of gentleness.
Now, I know a pastor who at the moment right now who is at
death's door. He's a dear friend. I'll never forget when he was teaching at
St. Louis, his name is Kenneth Korby -- I mention him because I want to give
him credit for this. And I hope I get this right. I always tell this story
in class. But he was the pastor of an inner city congregation. And it came to
his attention as pastor that one of the teenagers of his congregation became
pregnant, became great with child. Nobody knew it. Although there were
probably some hints about it. And she came in and she confessed this to her
pastor. And he gave her absolution. And she was free. I mean this is the
thing we have to recognize about forgiveness. It was as if the sin had not
happened in the mind of God. It was as if she were not pregnant even though
in real life she was. Because God had said that as far as the east is from
the west, he would remember this sin no more.
And yet she still had to deal with the consequences of sin.
And in discussing it with her, Pastor Korby decided that they were going to
announce this in the congregation. Not announce her sin. But to announce her
absolution, her freedom from that sin. And I guess her mom was in the choir.
Didn't know this. But instead of gossiping about her sin, Pastor Korby wanted
them to gossip about her absolution. And so being a spiritual one in the
spirit of gentleness, he announced to the congregation that this young girl
was expecting a child outside of marriage. And that she had confessed her sin
and received absolution. And that the congregation was to rejoice in her
restoration back to the community in the spirit of gentleness as one who could
now even come to the Lord's Supper and receive the gifts of Christ's body and
blood because she was restored back to the community. Now, that's what
forgiveness is all about. That's what mercy is all about. That's what a
community constituted by the Spirit is all about.
So to go back to your question, David, the fruits of the
Spirit are not a moral code. They are characteristics of a community that is
living out the Gospel in the way in which Christ lived out the Gospel because
he was the Gospel. Namely, it is a community that is characterized by
forgiveness, love, mercy and compassion.

6:2

Now, I think that this statement here by Paul shows that he


understands people. He understands that even he himself, with his thorn in
the side or whatever it was that plagued him, he, too, was plagued by the
impulsive desires of the flesh. He recognized this reality. And so in Verse
2, he talks about what this means. And this is -- one of the theme verses for
our deaconess program. Because this is what they are, deaconesses are
servants of love and mercy. Love and mercy of Christ. And what they do -because they are baptized, what all Christians are to do, is to bear each
other's burdens.
You know Luther had a beautiful example of this when he talked
about the Lord's Supper. He said: When you come to the Supper of the Lord,
what you do is you come with all your sins, with all your burdens, with all
your transgressions, all those impulsive desires of the flesh that have
plagued you all week, all the darkness, all of the demons that are plagued
you. And you come forward to the altar and you lay them all there for Jesus
to bear. You just lay them there. And then you receive that extraordinary
refreshing gift of forgiveness and love and mercy in eating and drinking the
very body and blood of Christ shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. But
when you're there at the altar, you pick up the burdens of those who are
marked by the Spirit, those in the congregation who are bringing their burdens
forward. And you help them as a member of the community in Christ to bear the
burdens. That's what Paul means here. Bear each other's burdens.
And it's so important for us to recognize that in the Supper,
in our life in Christ, that's what we do. And when we do this, this would
have just absolutely shocked the Galatians and his opponents, we bring to
fulfillment -- and again, the Greek here says it this way: Bring to
fulfillment over and over and over again the law of Christ. Now, what is
that law? The law is brought to fulfillment in one word: Love your neighbor
as yourself. The law of Christ is now the law fulfilled in love. In Christ
on the cross. Serving one another in love. Bearing each other's burdens.
Restoring in the spirit of gentleness those who are broken. That which Christ
wills and graciously bestows is what is given in the law of love. Through us.
As we are manifesting Christ in the world bearing each other's burdens. You
can see that there are burdens to bear. There are sins to forgive. There are
gross outbursts of sin that need to be publicly restored back into the
congregation. This is what it means to be a community that is marked by the
Spirit.
6:3
And then Paul goes onto explain this in the next three verses.
And you can see here that he's always responding to the context in which he is
with his opponents. He says: For if anyone thinks he is something when he is
nothing, he deceives himself. Now, he of course here is speaking about his
opponents and their perfectionism. Their hierarchal arrangements in which
they are setting up the law as to who can achieve these things. He said:
This is not what it's about. This is not what this whole coming of Christ and
his Spirit is about.
6:4
And then in Verse 4 -- and here we have to translate this
carefully. The word here is work. And like the ESV says: But let each one
test his own work. Now, what this is is the Gospel work. And that Gospel
work is bearing each other's burdens and thus, fulfill the law of Christ.
Each one, each individual is going to be examined according to his own Gospel

work. And then it says: And then his reason to boast will be in himself
alone and not in his neighbor. You can't boast -- we've always said this:
You can't boast in your neighbor's faith or his love or his acts of mercy and
compassion and his forgiveness. It has to be you yourself.
Now, here you see that Paul understands the big picture. He's
always talking about community. But at the end of the day, our salvation is
based on our own confession of faith, our own manifestation of Christ in the
world, our own Gospel work. Our own bearing the burdens of others. Each one
of us has to do that individually. And we don't boast in someone else's. We
boast in our own. And in boasting in our own as we're going to see at the end
of the epistle, we're not boasting in our own, we're boasting in what Christ
is doing through us. It's not our work. It's the work of Christ. Like Paul
says: I'm not going to boast in anything but the cross of Jesus Christ and
his sufferings.
6:5

And then finally in Verse 5 -- and this brings us to the end


of this section for each one will have to bear his own load. You bear
each other's burdens but at the judgment of God when you stand before God, you
must bear your own load. Namely, you must testify there to your faith in
Christ and the concrete expressions of that faith as you have lived Christ out
in the world by bearing each other's burdens. And thus bringing to
fulfillment over and over again the law of Christ.
Title: Galatians- Volume 41 (Gal. 6:6-10)
Subject: Catechists in the Galatian Church (Galatians 6)
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1265
Time: 12:40

Galatians 6

English Standard Version (ESV)

Bear One Another's Burdens


6

Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. 7 Do not be
deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who
sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will
from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we
will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone,
and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Q: Earlier you talked about how there were catechetical teachers in the
Galatian congregations who are continuing the teaching of Paul among the
saints. Paul refers to them in the last section of Chapter 6. What is the

significance of Paul talking about these teachers at this point? And what
fruit of the Spirit is Paul urging the Galatian congregations to exhibit over
and against these teachers?
A: DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:
Up until this point we have not heard much about the catechetical teachers
that Paul left behind in Galatia to continue to teach the truth of the Gospel
that he first taught to them when he visited them. So your question is an
excellent one. Because we're somewhat surprised that right after Verse 5,
Paul refers to these teachers.
Now, I think the reason is because he wants us to see that the
life of Christ is embodied in various ways. And this is a very important
point to us. Especially in our church today. As I mentioned before, I'm
director of a deaconess program. So I'm talking about ***diocnesis, service.
And one of the things I've come to recognize and I mentioned this earlier with
Paul and he does hint at this when he says at the end of that part of Chapter
2 when the pillars in Jerusalem told him to remember the poor, the very thing
which I wish to do, support of those who teach the Gospel is at the heart of
expressing one's need and concern for hearing the teaching and the preaching
of the truth of the Gospel in a congregation.
And so this admonition of Paul, not only to the Galatians but
particularly in light of the opponents, is a very significant one. Again, we
have to read between the lines here. But what it seems to be that is
happening in this congregation is this: That the catechetical instructors
that Paul left behind are not being supported by the teachers who are his
opponents. So you've got two teachers going on. Paul's teachers. And now
these opponents who are teaching. And they are cutting out these catechetical
instructors by not supporting them financially. And it appears as if some of
the Galatians are going along with that. Now, this is pretty typical. I think
every one of you can identify with when you want to get rid of someone in a
parish, you start cutting their salary. This is going to make it impossible
for them to live and continue to serve in that congregation.
6:6
That's exactly what's happening here. So this is what Paul
says in Verse 6. One who is taught the Word must share all good things with
the one who teaches. This is simply what Jesus said when a laborer is worthy
of his hire, that you've got to support those who preach and teach the truth
of the Gospel in your congregations. Now, this is something that indicates
that in the teaching of the truth of the Gospel, what's at stake is the truth
of the Gospel.
6:7
Now, this is why Verse 7 absolutely astounds us. And Paul, you know, you kind
of go: Whoa, Paul, this is really sharp language. Do not be deceived, he
says. God is not mocked. Now, he's talking about support of his teachers
financially. God is not mocked. So don't be deceived by this. For everyone
who sows, that will he also reap. Now, this is a common expression, it's
used all over the place. It's used in Jesus' teaching. But here it's used by
Paul and it's very clear that he's talking about support for the catechetical
teachers. Financial support. So that the truth of the Gospel might be heard.
If they go, so goes the truth of the Gospel. And he says the way in which you
sow, you're going to reap. If you don't sow by supporting them, you are not
going to reap what is the fruit of the Spirit that comes from the truth of the
Gospel of preaching Christ crucified, Christ risen from the dead.

6:8
And then he illustrates it in Verse 8. He keeps the sowing
and reaping imagery here, as well. He says. For the one who sows to his own
flesh. And here this is circumcision. To his own flesh is circumcision.
He will reap -- and look at what it says -- the Greek-it's the last word of
the sentence. He will reap corruption from his flesh. Now, let me read you
a translation. The one who sows to his own flesh will reap from the flesh
corruption. Now, that is a strong statement. He's talking there about his
opponents. They sow circumcision. They are going to reap from that flesh,
from that circumcision, that teaching of circumcision, they are going to reap
corruption. Corruption. That's a strong word.
But then the one who reaps by the Spirit, not his own spirit,
but the Spirit of Christ, will reap out of that Spirit of Christ eternal life.
Now, look at corruption versus eternal life. Think of the teachings of Jesus.
You know, laying up for yourselves treasures in heaven. As opposed to those
treasures in which moths can destroy and rust can destroy. Eternal life is
what you will reap if you sow from the Spirit by supporting these catechetical
teachers who bring the truth of the Gospel, what you will receive is eternal
life. Now, this is the first time we've seen that expression, eternal lifelife that never ends. And this is truly living in liberty now and forever.
Now, that is a profound statement. And he's talking here
about the fruit of the Spirit which is generosity. He's talking about giving
to the church. He's talking about how an expression of love and mercy and
compassion is shown in a very, very tangible way by what we give. Now, I wish
I had time to go into the teaching of Jesus, as you perhaps know, I've written
a commentary on Luke's Gospel. I was so surprised in writing that commentary
how much Jesus talks about money. And how money is very important as an
expression of who it is that we are and what it is that we do.
The lovers of money is what he accuses the Pharisees of being.
And I think the very same thing is going on here. These are Pharisaical
Christians. They love money. They are using money as a weapon to get at the
truth of the Gospel. And Paul is saying that if that happens, there is
corruption. Do not be deceived. God is not mocked. And I think this is a
very powerful statement in which he's talking about how an impulsive desire of
the flesh, namely, love of money, is being exhibited among his opponents
whereas Paul is encouraging the Galatians to live out the spirit of love by
loving the catechetical teachers and showing that in tangible expressions of
support for them.
6:9
Now, he's not done. Verse 9 he says -- and now he's going to talk in more
general ways. But I think still the fruit of the Spirit, generosity, is what
is in mind here. Let us not grow weary in doing good. Doing good. Namely,
fruits of the Spirit. For in due season, we will reap if we do not give up.
Now, you can see that it's a future. We will reap. It's something that will
happen in the future. And going back to the previous verse, it's eternal
life. But eternal life is already with us now. And Paul knows that. It's
that now/not yet tension. But what he can see -- and this is true of all of
us. This is perhaps some of the things that is most evident of the virus of
sin that infects us. Sometimes in this world we get weary. We get weary of
living out the christological life. Because we get persecuted for it. Or we
don't see people responding as they should. And it is something that can just
simply wear us down. I think that's what's happening in the Galatian

congregation. They know what Paul said. But these opponents are so much
beating on them, the world is beating on them, that they are tired. They are
weary. They are warriors on the front lines of that Apocalyptic war. And
they are worn out.
6:10
And so here is Paul, the pastor, encouraging them. He says very clearly:
Let us not grow weary in doing good. For in due season, in the ***chiros
that's the word, in the critical time of salvation, we will reap if we don't
give up. And now Verse 10 just continues that. So therefore then as that
critical time comes, as we have opportunity. In this critical time of
salvation. And this is wonderful here what he says. Let us continue over
and over again to do good to everyone. To live out the fruits of the Spirit
to everyone. And he says especially to those who are of the household of
faith. It begins at home. It begins in the church. It doesn't end there.
Because this life of love is lived out among the whole world. But it begins
in the church. And I think here perhaps Paul is speaking of the Jerusalem
church. The fact that they are broken by a famine. They need Paul to take up
the collection for them. That there is real tangible expressions of need
there. And let's not grow weary in taking up that collection for them, as
well.
But I think Paul here is showing very clearly that one of the
ways in which the impulsive desire of the flesh and living under the law can
wear down a church is that they cease to see that the Gospel is expressed in
concrete expressions of mercy. And that's not only just simply in spiritual
expressions by loving one another and forgiving one another. But concrete in
expressions, where you actually bring tangible evidence of helping people in
their lives.
This is why I am so delighted to be leading a deaconess
program here at the seminary. And I have been enriched by seeing deaconesses
around the world who are servants of love and mercy. And they not only bring
God's Word to people and pray with people and show in the Scriptures how God
is a merciful and loving God. But they bring concrete expressions of it.
I'll never forget, we have a few deaconesses in Kenya walking
out into the fields, three miles to visit a widow and orphans. And how this
deaconess who makes $7 a month is out there bringing Scripture, bringing
prayer, bringing consolation and comfort to this widow and her orphan
grandchildren. But also bringing a bag of maize, of corn, so she can make
something for these children. Where she gets the money on $7 a month -- she
had her own family. But she was able to bring a concrete expression of this.
That's what Paul is talking about here. That in supporting
the catechetical teachers, in not growing weary in doing good both in terms of
our forgiveness but our tangible expressions of love, taking care of the poor,
providing for those who are in famine, bringing concrete realities to people
in their human need, this is all part and parcel of what it means to love our
neighbor as ourselves. This is part and parcel of what the truth of the
Gospel is. And nobody that I've ever seen before has shown how clearly this
is what it means to live daily life in a church in which God is making right
what has gone wrong.
Title: Galatians- Volume 42 (Gal. 6:11-13)???

Subject: Circumcision in Galatians 6


Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1266
Time: 13:25

Galatians 6

English Standard Version (ESV)

Final Warning and Benediction


11

See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. 12 It is those who want to
make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that
they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 For even those who are circumcised do not
themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your
flesh.

Q: Why does Paul return to the theme of circumcision at the very end of the
letter? Obviously Paul did not think he had said enough about circumcision
already. So he adds more. But I'm not sure why.
A: DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:
Overview of Epilogue
When we get to the last seven verses of Galatians, Chapter 6 Verses 11 to 18,
we are in what is the equivalent in say a rhetorical structure to the epilogue
of the letter. And here you're going to see that there is going to be an echo
to the way in which Paul began this letter to the Galatians.
The echo is going to be a liturgical one. That just as at the
beginning of the letter by saying: Grace and peace to you from God our
Father. And he ends with glory forever and ever Amen. So also he is going
to end in a liturgical way here. And what he's doing is he's bringing the
Galatians back into the presence of God. Which in a sense they've been in all
along. Because this is a homily. And it's in the context of a worship
service. But he's acknowledging the fact that they are in the presence of
God. And he is bringing them to the point where they recognize that here at
the end he is going to accent the major themes that he wants to accent in this
letter to the Galatians.
Now, here is the surprise -- at least it always surprised me.
And I think I do now understand why. But it took me a while to fully grasp
and appreciate what Paul is doing here. What surprises me here is that he
returns to that theme of circumcision, which your very question alerts us to.
That's an astute question. Because it shows us clearly that Paul is returning
to a theme that you think he has said enough about it. But it is still such
an issue that he feels he needs to address it one more time.

Now, this final part of the letter is also one in which he


returns to Christ crucified. And in a way he introduces a new concept or at
least a new way of speaking of that concept. And that is the concept of new
creation. But we're going to see that that is a way in which he has been
talking about the Gospel all along. And now he names it new creation.
Now, what is a surprise to a certain extent is that he doesn't
return to what we think of as one of the major themes of Paul's letter to the
Galatians. And certainly what we confess as Lutherans to be the major theme
of Paul's epistle. And that is justification by grace through faith. He does
not return to that. We're going to address that in a moment in another
question.
But I do
epilogue
begin by
get into

want to put on the table right now as we begin to look at this


that there are some things about it that surprise us. Now let's
looking at the concept of circumcision. And to do that, we need to
the epilogue.

6:11

First of all, in Verse 11 Paul is using an imperative here. I


think it's his last imperative. And he says it very clearly to them. Look
-- this is see. Look at this, you know. This is a very I think poignant
personal moment in the epistle. He says: Look at what large letters I am
writing in my own hand. Now, there are a couple of things here that I want to
accent. First of all, and we haven't talked about this, this letter was most
likely dictated. That's one of the reasons why the grammar is sometimes a
little bit tough. The way in which Paul is speaking it out must have been
such that everything was not lined up perfectly grammatically. He had what is
called an amanuensis, someone who is actually writing down what he says. Now
obviously Paul would check it over and make sure it is what he wanted to say.
But it is dictated essentially. Now, here you can see Paul is going to
handwrite these last words. And I think you can see as we go through them how
carefully crafted they are.
Now, there is something important about this. This is
something that I have thought about a lot in terms of our own culture today.
When I grew up, I went away to school very young. And I wrote a lot of
letters. My mother wrote me letters. I had old girlfriends who wrote me
letters. And occasionally my father would write me a letter. My grandmother
would. I have a collection of a lot of letters from when I was young. And I
find when I receive a handwritten letter from someone, it is a very poignant
experience. Because when you write something with your own hand, it reveals
something of you. Your personality comes out. And you can -- you can see
kind of the care that somebody takes in sitting down with a pen and in their
own handwriting, writing out a personal note to you.
I try to teach for example my students in the deaconess
program to write thank you notes in their own hand. I think it's very
important for people to see that. I really appreciate it when somebody does
that. And there is something very intimate and personal about that. I think
that's what's happening here. They, the Galatians, know Paul's handwriting.
I mean, it makes me sad to think about this. But my mother has Alzheimer's
now. And I have the last letter that she wrote. And you can see that her
handwriting was getting a little rugged. It was hard to read. But it was
still her handwriting. And when I see her handwriting now, I know she can't
do that anymore. It's a very poignant thing for me to see her handwriting.

It was the same for the Galatians to see Paul's handwriting.


And there has been this idea that Paul had trouble with his eyes. Remember
the bulging eyes and pluck out my eyes and give them to you. He says: Look
at what large letters I'm writing. I think Paul had a very large handwriting
because of his eyes. And that's what was so distinguishing about his
handwriting. So here Paul is saying: Hey, I'm going to take up the pen now.
Because what I'm going to write to you, it's very personal. It's very direct.
And I am going to take extra care here to speak in my own handwriting, in my
own way of speaking by means of this pen exactly what I want to say to you
about the final words to you as your pastor, who founded you, who loves you,
who preached the truth of the Gospel to you. Here are my final words. I
think this is just one of those extraordinary moments. Now, this isn't the
only example of somebody taking up the pen at the end of the letter when
there's an amanuensis. So this isn't unique. But I think Paul, especially
the way he says: Look at what large letters I'm writing to you, it is a
very important thing.
6:12
Then he goes now into circumcision. And this is really
interesting. Verse 12 you can see that Paul is still agitated. And he's not
going to let go. Look at what he says in Verse 12. He says: Those who wish
to make a good showing in the flesh -- now we'll talk about what that means
in a minute. But to make a good showing in the flesh. These are the ones
who are compelling you, that's present tense. Are compelling you and keep
on compelling you to be circumcised. There's circumcision. Only -- except
only in order that they are not persecuted for the cross of Christ.
Now, let's stop there for a minute. These others now who he's
talking about, these opponents of Paul, they want to make a good showing in
the flesh. Now, the flesh here is of course a reference to circumcision.
They want to boast in -- well, let's just say it plainly. They want to boast
in dead foreskins. That's what they want to boast in. That's what
circumcision is. And in order for them to do that -- and here is that
language we've heard on a number of occasions in the epistle, it comes up
again and again, this compulsion, this absolute necessity, they are
compelling you to be circumcised. As I said, that's present. Over and over
again they are doing this. So it's persistent. And the reason is is that
they don't want to be persecuted for the cross of Christ. Now, this is the
first time where Paul has stated in as bold a way as he is here that the real
reason that circumcision is kind of this compelling thing for his opponents is
because they are a little bit embarrassed by the cross of Christ. And maybe
even more than a little. Now, I have said that his opponents certainly agree
that Christ was crucified. He was raised from the dead. They are not denying
the crucifixion of Jesus. But this is not what they preach. They would
rather preach circumcision than the cross of Jesus Christ.
6:13

Now, Paul goes on in Verse 13 to again refer to the act of


circumcision. And he says this: For even those who are circumcised. I
think these are the circumcised people these are the very ones who are
habitually being circumcised and insisting on circumcision. In other words,
those who are obsessed with circumcision. For not even these keep the law.
Guard the law. Keep the law is probably best for us to understand it.
Keep the law. Because they wish -- and listen to this carefully. Because
they wish, they desire, to have you circumcised so that they might boast in
your flesh.

Now, there's a wonderful little kind of parallelism here.


They wish to -- it begins by saying they wish to make a good showing in the
flesh (6:12a). They wish to boast in your flesh. And what they are talking
about as I said, is circumcision. And the desire, the compulsion to
circumcise is because they are embarrassed by the cross of Christ (6:12b).
And they are not even themselves being true to the keeping of the law. They
are hypocrites. Because they are picking and choosing what it is they want.
And they are focused in on circumcision because that is a very clear, obvious,
expression that one is in fact keeping the law. Now, he's talking about his
opponents here. And he's talking about them in such a way that I think we
have to see that Paul is building in here a ridicule. He is ridiculing them
for boasting in the dead foreskins that come from circumcision.
Now, there's another thing going on here. And here, if you
read the commentators, they are very clear on this. And we've seen that this
is possible by the way in which Paul has done this before. I mean, without
getting too graphic, circumcision does kind of focus your attention on a
particular part of the body. If you were a pagan, that particular part of the
body would have been part of the pagan rituals that were at the center of the
life of the Roman Empire. And I'm talking here about the Dionysian phallic
parades in which there would be almost a worship of this particular area in
the human male anatomy.
I'm being real discrete here. But you can see that the focus
here of Paul's opponents and the focus of the pagans in their Dionysian
phallic parades is on something that is absurd when you think of the Creator
of all things, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Father sending the Creator
Jesus into the world to recreate it in his death and resurrection. And how
Christ is present by his Spirit. I mean, to compare these things to the work
of the Holy Trinity as it's accomplished by Christ and the cross and his
resurrection is for Paul the absolute essence of absurdity. And the reason
the opponents are doing this -- and he compares them to the pagans -- is
because they are ashamed to use the language of Romans, they are ashamed of
preaching Christ crucified.
Now, this puts on the table right here at the end of this
epistle two diametrically opposed preachings. Preaching circumcision or
preaching Christ crucified. And now that he's introduced this concept of
circumcision and crucifixion into the end of his letter, he is now going to
move it to a climax that is absolutely shocking.
Title: Galatians- Volume 43 (Gal. 6:14)
Subject: Boasting in Christ Crucified
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1267
Time: 9:42

Galatians 6

English Standard Version (ESV)

Final Warning and Benediction


14

But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by
which[b] the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Q: I have a little different question about the ending of the letter. What
does Paul mean when he says that he will only boast in Christ crucified
through whom the world is crucified to me and I to the world?
A: DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:
(The Old World Under the Law and the New World Under the Cross)
Your question anticipates now what it is that Paul is going to contrast:
boasting in circumcision or making a show of the flesh of the circumcised one.
This is a very powerful statement by Paul that I think sums up the entire
theology of grace and the theology of the cross. And I think we need to pause
here for a moment and ask ourselves as we come to the end of this letter and
we see how Paul is coming back to Christ crucified what in fact the cross
means and what it means then to boast in the cross of Jesus Christ.
I think for Paul the cross is that cosmic event in the history
of the world in which God steps onto the scene in order to make all things
right that have gone wrong. Now, we've been using that language all along.
But let's unpack it a moment.
The cross is for Paul a cosmic event. It is an Apocalyptic
event because it affects the whole creation. Everything is different after
the cross. And here is where God is in fact acting on behalf of fallen
humanity that is infected with this virus of sin to make right in the cross
what has gone wrong because of our sin. The cross then is a watershed event in
the entire cosmos. And what Paul has been saying throughout this letter is
it's not the law that is the cosmic event. It's not Mt. Sinai. It's not the
delivery of the law to Moses by angels on Mt. Sinai. But it is the cross of
Jesus Christ that is the watershed event. And if you accent the law, if you
accent what Moses did and superimpose that upon people, then you are going to
dilute the cosmic character of the cross of Jesus Christ. And the third thing
he's saying about the cross, and this is where we get that language of the
world is crucified to me and I to the world. What the cross is is that
defining moment in which the loss of one cosmos, namely, the world of the law,
is lost to Paul. And there's the birth of a new cosmos. And that is the
birth of the new creation.
Now, remember what I said at the very beginning. There are
two questions Paul is asking. What world do we live in? And what time is it?
Well, the world we now live in is the world of the new creation. That is a
world now that has been given birth to because of the cross of Jesus Christ.
And when that cross comes, the world I used to live in before, says Paul, the
world under the law, the world of keeping the law, the world that I learned in
my Pharisaical training at the feet of Gamaliel in Jerusalem, that world dies.
It is crucified in the cross of Christ. And I am now living -- here is the
language of Chapter 2. I am now living in a new world. And here in Chapter
6. In a world of the new creation. And that is what we've seen in a world in
which faith is actively being demonstrated in love. This is where love is the
normative reality. This is where we're loving our neighbors as ourselves.
We're bearing each other's burdens. Fulfilling the law of Christ over and
over and over again. This is the world I now live in. This is the map that he

has been giving them up until this time. And it's defined, Paul says, by the
cross of Jesus Christ.
6:14
Now, this is an absolutely extraordinary statement for Paul.
And let's look at exact language that he uses. Verse 14. And this is an
expression he uses in other places. But it does stand out because it's fairly
rare. And in the Greek you're kind of alerted to it. It's hard to sometimes
translate. Let it not be to me to boast. Let me see how this translation
does it. That is Verse 14. But far be it from me to boast. You know, I
like let it be. Let it not be to me to boast except in the cross of our Lord
Jesus Christ, your Lord and mine, Gentile, Jews, through whom the world is
crucified to me and I to the world.
Now, usually when you boast in something, it's either -- it's
usually something that's yourself. You know, you boast in your own
accomplishments. You boast in your golf score, the number of fish that you've
caught off a particular fly. You know, you boast in your accomplishments. You
can boast in your kids. A lot of people boast in their kids or their wife's
accomplishments or their husband's or whatever. But usually it's something
personal. Here Paul is saying he's not going to boast in anything that he had
anything to do with or anybody else had anything to do with humanly speaking.
He's not going to boost in anybody's dead foreskins. He's not going to boast
in his rhetorical prowess. He's not going to boast in the number of converts
he's got.
He's going to boast in something that he had nothing to do
with. He's going to boast in a crucified man who is the Son of God. He is
going to boast in an object from the world's perspective of great shame and
horror. He's going to boast in something that is outside of him. And
something that only comes to him by grace through faith. That is what he's
going to boast in. He is going to boast in something that from the world's
perspective is the ultimate scandal, the ultimate horror. Now, that's an
extraordinary statement to make. And to make that statement in light of what
very clearly is going on in the Galatian congregation with his opponents shows
the great difference between Paul and his opponents on their way of speaking
about what God is doing to bring about his salvation.
Now, I do want to spend a little more time on through whom
the world is crucified to me and I to the world. Paul sees that his identity
now is formed through the cross. Up until the cross, his identity was as a
faithful law abiding Jew who kept the law and saw that his way of salvation,
his way to God, was through keeping the law. Especially with things we've
been saying over and over again: Circumcision, Sabbath, food laws, purity
laws, kinship laws, table fellowship laws. I could go on and on. Calendar,
et cetera.
That was his life before. But now the cross is where he gets
his identity. And there, that law life, collided with Christ on the cross.
Here this is Galatians 2 and 3. And it killed Jesus. There Jesus is cursed
because he is the sinner. Cursed by the law. That is the defining moment for
Paul. And it's there that the world, his former world of Judaism, is
crucified in Christ. And if that's crucified in Christ, then so is Paul
himself. Paul is crucified in that cross of Christ, which is just another way
of talking about what happens to him in his baptism.

He uses the language of co-crucifixion in Chapter 2. In


Romans 6, he's going to talk about suffering, dying, being buried and rising
with Christ. Here he's talking about his union with Christ in his baptism
where all that happens to Christ on the cross, all that happens to Christ in
the empty tomb, is now given to him through the waters of holy baptism by Word
and Spirit.
Now, this is a great contrast, as I said, to his opponents.
And it places the cross here -- and if this is his first letter -- it places
the cross in the final words to the Galatians at the center of his preaching.
You know what he's going to say to the Corinthians. I will know nothing
except Christ crucified. And I've always been intrigued by that because right
before that he's in Athens and he mentions nothing of Christ crucified. I
think he learns something from that. That even when you're with pagans,
you've got to preach Christ crucified. So when he gets with pagans in
Corinth, he says: I'm going to know nothing but Christ crucified to you.
Preach nothing but Christ crucified. So the crucifixion of Jesus, it is the
center of his preaching. And if you just remember back, remember he says of
them. Oh, foolish Galatians, before whom I've publicly portrayed Jesus as
crucified. Paul is now going to show very clearly how this crucified Jesus is
evident in his own body.
Title: Galatians- Volume 44 (Gal. 6:15-16)
Subject: Justification by Grace and the New Creation
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1268
Time: 16:24

Galatians 6

English Standard Version (ESV)

Final Warning and Benediction

15

For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And as
for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
Q: Along these same lines, instead of closing with language of justification
by grace through faith for instance, Paul closes using language of Christ
crucified and the new creation. What does Paul mean when he says neither
circumcision nor uncircumcision matters, but what matters is new creation.
A: DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:
If you talk to Lutherans about Galatians, they'll say that it's the epistle
that was the most beloved epistle by Luther and his Galatian commentaries.
Two volumes in Luther's works. It is perhaps the greatest statement of the
Gospel that he has. And one of the reasons why is because this is the epistle
along with Romans of course where Paul speaks with such clarity about this
principle doctrine of the church, justification by grace through faith. I
think we've already seen how important it is to Paul in his argument. It's

the first theological argument he mounts in Chapter 2. And he does refer to


justification in some way or another all the way through the epistle.
However, here at the end, and oftentimes what he really wants to say is at the
beginning at the end. At the beginning at the end, he doesn't use
justification language because I think he wants to place the atonement of
Jesus and his resurrection in a larger context. In the context of creation
itself.
Now, I want to go back to what I said was a possible
translation of justification. And that is that instead of translating it
justify -- and the Greek word by the way is ***dichio, to declare
righteous, we sometimes say justify. But instead of using it in that way,
to declare righteous or to justify, that we speak of justification as making
right what has gone wrong. Now, here is why: Because I think that definition
of justification, making right what has gone wrong, fits better, this final
theme that Paul brings forward as kind of the culminating climatic theme of
his epistle. And that is new creation.
6:15

Now, here is what Paul is saying I think right here at the


end. And I think Verse 15 is one of the most profound statements in all of
Paul's epistles. And you can't just pull it out. You've got to see it in a
context. Paul speaks here about the cosmos in the previous verse. And we
talked about what that means. This is the law world or the world of Christ
crucified. Now he turns to the language of creation. And it's really
interesting what he says here. He said after all these chapters of talking
about circumcision and talking about the uncircumcised and talking about the
law but particularly in terms of circumcision, you know at the end of the day,
that's not what I want to talk about. Circumcision really is not what this is
about. And it's not about uncircumcision. Circumcision and uncircumcision
really don't matter. And what I really want to talk to you about is what does
matter. And what matters -- and here I think we can even put it in this
language: What really exists is not circumcision or uncircumcision. But
what really exists, what really matters, is new creation. New creation.
Now, if you know that language, new creation is the language
of the Apocalyptic. Of this divine invasion in which God in Christ enters the
world as the creator to make all things new. And if you look at justification
language as making right what has gone wrong, that is much more understandable
in the context of a creation that has been infected with the virus of sin in
which what was created good has now gone terribly wrong. And that what God is
doing is entering back into that creation, the one who created everything in
Genesis. The one who spoke and brought it into being now is back in creation
as the incarnate one, Jesus Christ, speaking and acting and dying to take that
creation that was infected with the virus and making it new. Not making up a
new one. But taking what is broken there and making it whole. And making it
new. That's what matters. And that's what exists says Paul.
Now, this is -- this is profound language. And you know what?
I think that the image there is of a creation made new -- and this is -- this
is an image that I think we can really wrap our minds around. That image of a
creation made new is something that I think resonates more with people than
the forensic language of the courtroom which is what justification is usually
associated with. I think in Romans the language of the courtroom is much more
explicit. But here I think Paul wants to think or have us think in
creational terms. Now, why is that?

Because I think every human being can identify with the fact
that things are very, very wrong. Now, I know this is going to kind of put
this in a context that in five or ten years may not be applying. But right
now the context of our country is very tenuous. We're in an unpopular war.
Gas prices are high. There's all kinds of problems in our schools. People
are unhappy. People are not right. And they know something is wrong. Even
though economically things are going actually pretty well. There are
certainly some people who are falling through the cracks. But generally
people are doing quite well. But there's a dissatisfaction. I think if you
were to go into anybody's life, you would see that there are things in their
life that they can clearly testify to that are not going well. That things
are wrong. I mean, I think of my own life. You know, with a mother with
advanced Alzheimer's, a father with Parkinson's. I mean just go down the list
of things that each of us has. Things are not right. And we can't make them
right on our own. We want newness. We want wholeness. We want to be able to
know by faith that somebody has come into this world and made things right.
That's what Jesus does on the cross. That's why Paul boasts
in the cross. Because it's there in that shameful death that Jesus takes all
that is wrong, all that is broken, upon himself. And by giving up his life
for this creation, he restores it to what it once was and what it could now be
in him. If you want to see what true humanity looks like, it's not a bunch of
sinners walking around. It's the one who is sinless. That's the way we were
created in the garden. Adam and Eve were created fully human without sin.
And when they sinned, they ceased to be fully human. The way in which we see
what our full humanity really looks like is when somebody without sin comes
into this world and shows us what it means to be fully faithful and obedient
to the Father. Even to death. Death on the cross. What we see in Jesus is
somebody who is fully human. What we see in Jesus is somebody who has
restored the new creation.
You and I are not born fully human because we are born with
sin. But when we are baptized, when we are joined to Christ, when we are
joined to his sinless flesh, that's when we become fully human. To be baptized
is to be fully human. To be baptized is to live in the new creation. To be
baptized is to bear the fruits of the Spirit in this new creation that
manifest the one who is fully human through our own acts of charity, love and
forgiveness.
So this statement by Paul, circumcision doesn't amount to
anything. Uncircumcision doesn't amount to anything. What really does exist,
what really does amount to something, is what Christ has done through the
cross of Calvary. He has brought in a new creation.
6:16

Now that the new creation is here, Paul is going to speak


about it in such a way that it becomes the norm. It becomes the rule. Or to
use kind of the equivalent of the Greek language, it is the canon. It is what
is going to guide our lives. It's not the law that does it. It's the new
creation. The new creation -- and I'm going to say this carefully. And I'm
just using this as an example. The new creation is now our moral code. It's
not a moral code. But it's like our moral code. It's what guides us. And
that's exactly what Paul says. In Verse 16 he says: As many of you as -and this is an important distinction here as walk along. Let me see how
the translation does it here. Yeah. Who walk by this rule. Now that's how
this translation is. But it's by this canon. As many of you who live by
this canon is what he's saying. Remember he said: Walk in the Spirit and

you do. As many of you walk along this canon, this rule. You know the
canon of the Scriptures, that's what shows us what God wants us to know about
him. The canon here is the new creation. As many of you who walk in this new
creation, this is what you get.
And here is his blessing to them. This is a Jewish blessing.
It's a beautiful blessing. And it's liturgical and it shows you how he's
bringing them back into the presence of God by means of his language. And
they've been there all along. But he's bringing them back to a recognition
that that's where they've been. And he's giving them a blessing. Peace on
them and mercy. Peace on them and mercy. Those who walk according to the
canon, the rule, the guide, of the new creation. Now, we've talked about
peace. Peace is wholeness. It is health. It is wellness. It's relational
integrity. It's having reconciliation with God. It is what we yearn for.
It is what we receive in the liturgy. The peace of God be
with you. Go in peace. The Lord bless you, keep you, make his face shine
upon you and be gracious to you. The last word you'll hear in the liturgy.
Is the Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. Peace is what comes
from heaven with the angels when Jesus is born. Peace is what happens when
Jesus enters into Jerusalem. Peace on earth. Peace in heaven in Christ.
That's the blessing that Paul is giving them. Peace on them and mercy.
Now, he doesn't use the word here grace. He uses mercy.
Because that's what he's having on the Galatians. And that's what in fact
Paul hopes that his opponents see as well as being the heart of the new
creation. God's merciful miraculous healing of all that has been broken.
Mercy is I think the No. 1 characteristic of Christians. Certainly it must be
of pastors. And it is certainly what must be of deaconesses. Because it's at
the heart of what it means to be baptized. Being merciful as your Father in
heaven is merciful. And those who walk along this canon of the new creation,
peace on them and mercy.
And then this is connected. And I think this is how I would translate it.
That is on the Israel of God. It's not -- let's see how this translation
for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them and upon the
Israel of God. I wouldn't translate that and there as and. These aren't
two different things. Peace and mercy be upon them. That is anyone who walks
according to the rule of the new creation. That is those people who have
peace and mercy on them for living in the new creation, that is those people
are now the Israel of God. The Israel of God, peace and mercy. Living in the
new creation. All the same.
Now, think about what he's saying here. He is saying that
these Gentiles from Galatia whom Christ died for on the cross, whom Christ
showed his mercy and love for by spending out his life for them. They are now
the Israel of God. Not because they are circumcised. Not because they kept
the law. Simply because God's grace is upon them. They've been united with
Christ in baptism. And they believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the
world.
Again, I hope you see how shocking this would be for his
Jewish Christian opponents. These Judaizers. These Pharisaical Christians.
They are claiming: Wait a minute. We're the Israel. We have the marks of
circumcision. And all the other things. And Paul is saying: No, no, no.
Anyone who lives in the new creation in which there's neither circumcision,

nor uncircumcision, they are the ones upon whom God's blessing rests, peace
and mercy. They are the Israel of God.
The new creation is what the Israel of God lives in. In the
Christian church what you and I are a part of as we gather as the body of
Christ around Word and sacrament, we are the new Israel. Founded on the 12
apostles as a cornerstone. Jesus Christ -- excuse me, as foundation stones.
Jesus Christ being the cornerstone. The pillars being Peter, James and John
and the four brothers of Jesus. We are that Israel. And it's not because we
follow certain laws or because we have a certain heritage or because we're
circumcised or because we have certain blood lines. It is simply because
Jesus has engrafted himself into us by baptism in faith so that we have
communion with him like the branches into the vine. And because he is our
brother, God is our Father, and we are his children. We are sons. Sons of
Jesus Christ. Sons of Abraham.
Now, all of that language is the language of Galatians that
has been reverberating throughout this epistle. And now Paul names it Israel.
New Israel. That is what the Galatians are. And Paul stands with them. And
it's interesting he uses the language now here of Israel of God to include
both himself as a Jew who has become a Christian by means of conversion to
seeing Jesus as the Christ. And with these Gentile Galatians who were as far
from the east is from the west from him until Christ came and redeemed them
both.
This shows you what Paul means in Chapter 3 when he says: There
is neither Jew nor Greek. There is neither slave nor free. There is neither
male and female. But we are all one in Jesus Christ. And if we skip forward
here to the end, we are all one as the Israel of God in Christ.
Title: Galatians- Volume 45 (Gal. 6:17-18)
Subject: The Marks of Christ and the Closing of Galatians
Direct Link: http://media.ctsfw.edu/1269
Time: 12:15

Galatians 6

English Standard Version (ESV)

Final Warning and Benediction

From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
18

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.

Q: Before we close, would you be so kind as to explain to us what the marks of


Jesus, the stigmata I believe they are called, refer to. What a way to end
his letter. What's going on here? Do you think that Paul is still angry with
the Galatians and his opponents? Do you think they listened to what he had to
say?
A: DR. ARTHUR A. JUST, JR.:
6:16, 18
Paul ends his letter in such a remarkable way that it is a moment for us to
pause and reflect, what in fact is he trying to do here? Now, look at the
text with me here. Because I want you to see how Verse 17 really does stand
out on its own. It would seem very natural to end the letter like this -- and
let me just read this for you. As many of you who walk along this canon,
this rule, peace on you and mercy that is on the Israel of God. The grace of
our Lord Jesus Christ with your Spirit be with you brethren. Amen. Isn't
that a natural ending? Peace and mercy be on you that is the Israel of God.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ with your Spirit, brethren. Amen. I
mean, that's natural. That's natural.
But there's this verse in between. And Paul cannot help
himself. But I think in putting this letter in, I mean, all along I think
we've seen he's been sparring with these opponents. And he's being getting
his licks in. He said they ought to castrate themselves. And he compares
them to pagans. And says the works of the flesh, the power of the flesh, is
equivalent to the power of the law. All along we've seen that. He's going to
boast in Christ crucified. They are boasting in dead foreskins. All along
he's just really been in a sense not only just sparring with them but even
ridiculing them. But here in the second to last verse, I think it's his final
powerful punch. And it is an extraordinary statement to make. And I think in
making it, he sums up the entire letter in the most magnificent way that he
possibly could. I think he's still angry. I mean, he's angry because the end
isn't in sight yet. He doesn't know what the results of all of this is going
to be. He is still wondering what it is that's going to happen here in
Galatia. So he is making a final statement about all the things that he has
been talking about. And he does it in such a succinct beautiful way.
6:17
Now, let's look at the text. Because I think you'll see it when we translate
it. Verse 17 he says: From now on do not let anybody trouble me. Now, I
think you've got to see in this statement Paul is basically saying: Listen.
I've had it. I'm the Apostle Paul. I have come here. I have preached the
truth of the Gospel. You have strayed away from it. Some of you have
listened to these opponents. Not all of you. But some of you have. They have
abused my position there as the founding pastor. They have taken you away
from the Gospel. The truth of the Gospel has been compromised. He says:
I've had it. From now on don't let anybody else bother me. Don't trouble me
anymore. Get out of my face. I've had it. That's what he's saying. He is
-- I don't want to say he's at his wits end. But I think he's reached the
point where he has said everything he has to say. And he's just going to
commend this to the Spirit now. Commend this to the Lord and his holy angels
to take care of these Galatians so the truth of the Gospel might come out.
But having said that, from now on don't let anybody trouble me, these are his
final words.
And this is why -- and if you look at the Greek, it's the first and last
words. For I am bearing -- and had this language of bearing is important.

I am bearing the stigmata, those are the marks, the scars, the marks of
Jesus in my body. The marks of Jesus. Now, I'm sure you've heard of this
stigmata. This is a -- kind of a -- it was a movie a number of years ago. I
never saw it. But my students and my son says I should. Roman Catholics talk
about the stigmata of Jesus, these are the marks on the hands, the feet, the
side. You know, there were in the mysticism of the church people who
demonstrated these stigmata in some sort of a miraculous way, there's lots of
shrines to people who had this stigmata. Paul is not talking about anything
mystical. Paul is says: Look at my body. Beaten. Whipped. Tortured. You
picked me up at the side of the road as if I were half dead. You know, you
did not despise me or spit me out as he says when I was in this weakness. But
you know the scars on my body. Look at them. Look at the marks of Jesus.
And this is what he's saying: The injuries that I have on my
body were inflicted by the same powers that crucified Jesus. So my body is a
testimony, flesh, my flesh, with its scars on it, with its stigmata, my body
preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Because if you look at my body, you will
see a sign of the present activity of the redeemer. Not because of who I am.
But because of what I've preached. I said before: I will boast in nothing
but Christ crucified. I will preach Christ crucified. For preaching that I
have been stoned. I have been whipped. I have been scourged. I have been
beaten to the point of death. And those marks that I now bear in my body are a
sign of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Because I have suffered with my Lord. I
have been in a sense co-crucified with him in baptism. And that has led to
this suffering.
Now, this is why he says it. I think you get the message.
The stigmata. This is the activity of the Gospel. He says: Okay, Galatians.
You want to compare? You want to boast? You want to make a showing in the
flesh? Look at the opponents. They've got a pile of dead foreskins there.
Is that what you want to boast in? Or do you want to boast in the stigmata
that are on my body because I have preached Christ crucified? Remember, they
don't want to be persecuted for preaching the cross of Christ. They would
rather count dead foreskins from performing circumcisions. I'll preach Christ
crucified. And if it means that I'm going to be inflicted with these, these
scars, then so be it. That's what it means to live under the theology of the
cross.
Now, I don't know about you. But I think that's a profound
way to end this epistle. Because Paul has shown throughout this epistle that
it is really in many ways about how he as an apostle to the Gentiles bears in
his own body, his speaking, his character, his own sufferings, he has borne
the Gospel to them. And they loved him so much they were willing to take out
their eyes and give them to him. Now, that's an extraordinary act of love.
And Paul is appealing now had in his final words to them that his bearing in
his body these stigmata of Jesus is a sign that he is the true apostle who
speaks the truth of the Gospel. The Gospel of a crucified Christ.
6:18

That is why he ends with grace. Because the crucified Christ


is the space in this new creation where God is making right what has gone
wrong. He has blessed them with peace and mercy. And now he returns to
grace. Gift. The gift of the preaching of Christ crucified by the Spirit
that he wishes rests upon the Galatians so that they can see in God's grace in
this space in which he is making right what has gone wrong, in this new
creation, they can see that it's all about Jesus Christ and him crucified.

We don't know what happened after this. That's one of the


great mysteries. Whether the Galatians turned to Paul or if they went with
the opponents. As I mentioned earlier on, we know that circumcision ceased to
be an issue in the church after the Apostolic Council. And a part of that was
the letter that he wrote to the Galatians. I would like to think that Paul's
letter moved the Galatians by the Spirit to return to confessing the true
faith. To not be afraid. To not be hypocrites like Barnabas and Peter were
in Antioch. But to stand up to those opponents and to actually help them to
see that it is in fact the Gospel of a crucified Christ that is the heart of
the Gospel itself.
Certainly throughout the rest of Paul's missionary journeys,
his preaching Christ crucified defined him. And we as Lutheran Christians
today, we acknowledge that not only is justification by grace through faith at
the heart of our faith, but when we actually engage in preaching
justification, what we preach is the theology of the cross. And that's not
only what we preach, that's who we are. As pastors, we bring people into
Communion with the sufferings of Christ. We help them to interpret their
sufferings through the sufferings of Christ. We show them that it is in
suffering, in tragedy, in brokenness, that Christ is present with his gifts.
Like Paul who came to the Galatians broken, bleeding, dying, smelly, somebody
who they could have despised and spit out because he was so horrific in his
appearance, this was the occasion for them to embrace Paul and the Gospel, to
embrace him as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus himself.
To use the language of Paul: Let us never grow weary in
preaching Christ crucified. Let us never grow weary in showing that in the
theology of the cross and in the sufferings of Christ is our hope of
righteousness. Now may the peace and mercy of God be upon you, the Israel of
God. And the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your Spirit, brothers.