Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 3 Study # 1
Thesis: The recurring question of Paul's "motives" indicates how critical "motives" are in both the preaching of the Gospel and the receiving of that Gospel.
Introduction: In our concluding study of 1:6-9 we looked into the implications of the methodology of the Gospel as "preaching" and "receiving". We saw that both elements are drenched in the biblical concept of "grace" wherein God sponsors beneficial actions with no regard for the activities of those for whom the actions are taken. The Gospel was preached in Galatia by the grace of God and the Galatians received it because of the grace of God. Paul's summary declaration is that the Galatians had been "summoned" to God by grace so that a living, working relationship could begin between a Truth Teller and Truth receivers.
This evening, with preaching and receiving in our minds, we are going to look into Galatians 1:10 so that we might understand what Paul is attempting to do by means of his words.
November 14, 2010
- I. His Attempt in Light of His Double Declaration of Condemnation.
- A. The consistent biblical reality is this: "belief" matters.
- 1. The most significant underpinning of "belief" is "Truth".
- 2. The sword of Damocles is suspended by the horse hair of "belief in the Truth".
- a. The sword of Damocles is found in an ancient story.
- b. The parallel of that sword is Paul's double declaration of condemnation.
- c. The "problem" is not in "Truth" for it is as potent an executor of a person's future as can be imagined (it is not a "horse hair"; it is a massive column of titanium).
- d. The "problem" is in "belief" as a consequence of "proclamation" because the "believer" must be able to determine what the particulars of "Truth" are and to be able to embrace those particulars.
- 1) The ability to determine is compromised by the presence of deceit.
- 2) The ability to embrace is compromised by the presence of fear.
- 3) The two combined produce the "horse hair".
- B. The consistent biblical teaching in regard to "grace" and "faith" is that it is God Who brings the light of discernment and the courage to embrace (this is the "preaching/receiving" thesis of the prior verses.
- II. His Attempt in Light of the Words He Chose to Use.
- A. There are two questions and a declaration.
- 1. The first question raises the issue of "persuasion".
- 2. The second question raises the issue of precise motivation.
- 3. The declaration establishes the underpinning of all recognition of "Truth": a yielding to the reality of the rule of the Christ.
- B. Thus, we need to be clear on the implications of both questions and the declaration.
- 1. The first question is somewhat problematical because of our lack of understanding of Paul's word of choice and the way some of the translators have chosen to render it in English.
- a. The word is found in 55 texts of the New Testament (thus, we have plenty of input in our quest for its meaning).
- b. The word is consistently used in those texts to address a three-part process and to highlight at least one of the parts.
- 1) The first part is the desire of one person (or group) to put forth some sort of rationale for another person (or group) to embrace the first person's agenda (the translators mostly opted for "persuade" in this first part).
- 2) The second part is the reception of that rationale by the recipient(s) of the presentation (the translators bounced between "trust" and "have confidence" in this part).
- 3) The third part is the outcome of the reception in the concrete terms of action (the translators typically chose "obey" in this part).
- c. The word in Paul's first question sets before his readers two possibilities.
- 1) The first possibility is that Paul is applying his word to "men".
- 2) The second possibility is that Paul is applying his word to "God".
- d. The possibilities are both "possible" in the Galatian setting.
- 1) Clearly, Paul wrote his letter to get the Galatians on his band wagon, so it could be that he was asking if he was seeking to persuade "men".
- 2) Just as clearly, Paul wrote out of a context in which "religious persuaders" often had a desire to make an argument to God to get Him to act in a certain way, so it could be that he was asking if he was seeking to persuade "God".
- a) We need to understand this mentality.
- b) It shows up in Matthew 23:4.
- c) What is going on is that men are attempting to persuade God that they are worthy of His acceptance because of their deep loyalty.
- e. The possiblities are raised because of the problem of human subjection to the worst form of the sword of Damocles: the double declaration that condemnation is not just a possibility, but an actuality if one is on the wrong side of the Gospel.
- 1) This means that Paul's question is an attempt to get the Galatians to yield to his arguments.
- 2) And that means that Paul was not attempting to get God to yield to his arguments.
- 3) Thus, the first question and its answer involves Paul's attempt to get the Galatians to buy into his Gospel because of the danger hanging over their heads.
- 2. The second question addresses the question of the first question: is Paul a legitimate source of truth?