Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 2 Study # 14
Thesis: The believer's "faith" is to be determinedly focused upon the Son of God.
Introduction: In our consideration of Galatians 2:20 in its context we have seen that Cephas and Paul are presenting two differing methods of handling the circumstances of life. Both have been brought to life by the Spirit of Christ; both are indwelt by the Spirit of Christ; both face the same kind of pressures in their circumstances; and both fall back upon deeply ingrained methods for handling the issues that come their way. But, Cephas falls back upon a method to which he was supposed to have died when he was crucified with Christ (note Galatians 6:14). In contrast, Paul falls back upon a method that arose out of his crucifixion with Christ (this is the point of 2:19-20).
In our study this evening we are going to examine Paul's description of his method of life. He says that Peter's "method" is "fear driven" and deficient but that his "method" is "faith driven" and effective. What is the actual difference?
September 18, 2011
- I. The Difference Does Not Exist in Any Kind of Superiority in Paul Himself.
- A. Paul is very much up front about the fact that he was subject to "fear" (1 Corinthians 2:3; 2 Corinthians 7:5; Philippians 1:20).
- B. Both Peter and Paul had "histories" in which their methodologies of "life" contained commitments to obtaining/maintaining the good opinion of those who had some level of power over their whether they would obtain their "goals" in respect to their pursuit of "life".
- II. The Difference Exists in a Superiority of Content and Focus in Paul's "Faith".
- A. In Paul's description of his "life-method", he says his "faith" is of a specific "kind".
- 1. His grammar is odd, deliberate, and specific.
- 2. His grammar focuses upon "the faith of the Son of God".
- 3. His grammar deliberately puts Paul's "faith" in a secondary position.
- 4. His grammar is a mirror of 2:16's explanation of the Gospel.
- a. In this explanation, Paul actually says that he "believed into" Christ Jesus because he believed the truth of the actual impact of the "faith(fulness)" of Jesus Christ and the outcome of such belief was "being justified out of the faith(fulness) of Christ" in contrast to being justified out of works of law.
- b. The point is that human "faith" trails the "faith" of Jesus Christ.
- 1) The nature of "faith" is the same: it acquiesces to the obvious.
- 2) But the content of "the obvious" is different: Jesus "believed" the "Truth" of "Life by Law"; human faith "believes" the "truth" of Jesus' success in obtaining Life by Law [Note Romans 7:14 in context].
- B. In Paul's Description of his "faith", he focuses upon "the Son of God".
- 1. This is the first time in Galatians that Paul shifts from the terms "Jesus" and "Christ" to the descriptive title "Son of God".
- 2. This shift is theologically enormous because of Romans 1:4.
- a. In the faulty "faith" of Cephas, the methodology of life was "obtaining/maintaining the good opinions of those who had some control over his goal(s)".
- b. In the effective "faith" of Paul, the methodology of life was "crucifixion to the notion that anyone but God has any control whatsoever over whether he would obtain his goal(s) or not".
- c. Where Cephas saw disaster in displeasing men, Paul saw victory over any/every disaster that men could generate in their displeasure because of the resurrection of the Son of God Who was subject to that displeasure to the uttermost and then triumphed absolutely.
- III. The Difference Boils Down To a Deliberate Submission to Crucifixion so That Resurrection Can Come.
- A. Crucifixion consists of death at all levels.
- 1. Obviously, crucifixion results in the death of the physical body through the maximizing of the pain and the overtaxing of the capacities of the body.
- 2. Not as obviously, crucifixion results in the death of the soul through the alienation of those of most value to the crucified ("Why hast Thou abandoned Me?").
- 3. And of even less visibility is the fact that crucifixion reduces the spirit to complete humiliation (Psalm 22:6).
- B. Voluntary crucifixion means definitive decisions have been made (Galatians 5:24).
- C. As long as a "believer" withholds his satisfactions, securities, and significance from his/her "faith" so that it does not follow the faith of the Son of God, there can be no freedom for the Spirit of Christ to produce the Life of Christ in and out of the body of the believer.