Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 2 Study # 13
Thesis: A major part of "Christ lives in me" is the "belief" that He will actually "produce the results of life" for those in whom He dwells.
Introduction: We have been pondering the mystery of the meaning of being indwelt by the Spirit of Christ in terms of what the results will be. Our problem is that the concept is couched in a context of two apostles, both indwelt by Christ, who are at serious doctrinal odds with one another at the level of what is coming out of their bodies. On the one hand, we recognize that the reality of "Christ actually dwelling in our bodies" is a matter of huge import; on the other, we recognize that the reality of an apostle, who participates in that reality in some way and is a practical apostate, is a matter of great consternation. The balloon of ecstasy, created by the declaration that God's Spirit actually dwells in our bodies, is punctured by the reality of Cephas' practical denial of the Gospel itself. Then, the intrusion of our own reality as believers who often blunder badly steps up to the plate and pretty much completes the deflation of that balloon.
Bottom Line: Does the teaching of the basic methodology of the Christian Life found in Paul's statements here in Galatians 2 have any genuine reality in it? Is this smoke and mirrors, a politician's promise of progress upward when the reality is down?
Before we cast in the towel, we must be sure that we actually understand what Paul wrote.
September 11, 2011
- I. The Most Clear Doctrinal Reality in the Context.
- A. The presence of the Spirit of Christ in a person's body does not guarantee that person's behavior will be legitimate.
- 1. Cephas stands as a potent example of how easy it is to thwart the indwelling Spirit of Christ.
- 2. Paul cannot offer any guarantees in the face of this indisputable failure.
- B. The presence of the Spirit of Christ in a person's body does offer the possibility of an extraordinary production out of that body.
- 1. Paul's theology, doctrine, and letter are beyond-human, inerrantly true.
- 2. Cephas could offer no rebuttal at any point (2:6 and 2:9).
- 3. The longer view reveals a "jot and tittle" accuracy of his writings.
- C. The displeasure of the Christ indwelling Cephas was addressed by the Christ indwelling Paul to the point of pulling Cephas back from the brink of the disaster of the destruction of the Gospel (2:5).
- 1. This is a very gracious act on the part of the Spirit of Christ in respect to Cephas.
- 2. This is a potent illustration of how critical is the Spirit's concept of the function of the current "Body" of Christ (Hebrews 10:24).
- II. The Most Unclear Doctrinal Reality in the Context.
- A. Paul declares his doctrine in words that are precise to the jot and tittle level, but are sufficiently contrary to human understanding that the translators have regularly stumbled in rendering his meaning.
- 1. It is practically impossible to render a meaning that is not understood.
- 2. A careful comparison between the text Paul wrote and the translational renderings is instructive.
- B. Paul's declaration is demonstrably true in terms of impact when the engine of understanding is firing on all cylinders.
- 1. What was coming out of Paul's practice of his own teaching was "inerrant".
- a. His "love" for Christ, the Galatians, the Gentiles in Antioch, and Cephas in his error cannot be legitimately criticized.
- b. His "faith" as the overt root of his behavior is also exactly on target.
- 2. It was not only the correctness of his words in expression that was "true", it was also the actions toward which those words point that was "true".
- C. The Question: How Are We to Understand Paul's Words?