Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 5 Study # 2
December 5, 2010
Dayton, Texas
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<046> Thesis: The legitimacy of the Gospel is demonstrated by its ability to overcome the most basic of Sin's attractions. Introduction: In our first study of Paul's "lines of proof" regarding the legitimacy of the Gospel, we saw that the Galatians were being compelled by Paul to consider how much his behavior had changed because of the content of that Gospel. This argument boils down to this claim: Truth is discernible by its impact upon those who believe it. This argument needs clarity if we are to understand it. The claim is not that if there is no change the message is not true. Paul would argue that if there is no change the person who claims to believe does not. The distinction is here: actual moral change argues for the legitimacy of the thing believed, but the absence of change argues for the illegitimacy of the claim to faith. In other words, a changed life must have a legitimate foundation, but an unchanged one also needs an explanation. And, as is always the case, the caveat here is on the "faith" side of things. By way of an illustration, let us consider God's promise that if one "believes" with faith even as a grain of mustard seed, one will obtain the thing sought (Matthew 17:20). That is either true or it is not true. If it is true, but the mountain remains unmoved, the "problem" has to be the absence of "faith". If it is untrue, even "faith" will leave the mountain unmoved. Therefore, the unmoved mountain creates a conundrum for the onlookers: is the promise a lie, or is the profession of faith a lie? An unmoved mountain does not give an answer. Alternatively, however, a moved mountain validates both the promise and the profession. The wickedness of Paul's adversaries was originally his own wickedness, but the change in him proves the legitimacy of both his Gospel's objective elements (Christ's death for sin and resurrection) and its subjective element (faith). This evening we are going to pursue Paul's argument that the change in him "proves" the legitimacy of his message by doing what he has done in the text: going deeper into the issue of the "change".