Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 2 Study # 1
December 4, 2011
6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
1901 ASV Translation:
6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness.
7 Know therefore that they that are of faith, the same are sons of Abraham.
8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all the nations be blessed.
9 So then they that are of faith are blessed with the faithful Abraham.
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one who continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law, to do them.
11 Now that no man is justified by the law before God, is evident: for, The righteous shall live by faith;
12 and the law is not of faith; but, He that doeth them shall live in them.
13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
14 that upon the Gentiles might come the blessing of Abraham in Christ Jesus; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
I. Paul's Linkage of the Gospel to the Methodology of God's Dealings With Abraham.
II. The "Linked" Issue: Abraham "Believed in the God".
- A. In 3:3 Paul's argument rested heavily upon the idea that God's methodological principle does not change over time (...If you began under a certain principle, it is foolish to switch to another one).
- B. Now, in 3:6-7, he continues with that underlying presupposition: if God did what He did to Abraham because Abraham did what he did with the words of God, then God will react the same way with everyone who reacts to His words like Abraham did.
- C. This assumption is made, but not validated, in Paul's arguments thus far. However, it is clear that he recognizes the weakness in his argument in the following context (3:15-26) because in that material, he argues in detail that God's methodological choices in regard to justification (not, necessarily, God's choices in regard to any other particular issue) do not change.
- D. This linkage begins with what the grammarians call a subordinating or comparative conjunction (what the translators render "Even as...") [Logos Library System 2.0].
- 1. This conjunction is followed in Paul's sentence by another one ("Even as" pretty much requires a follow-up, as in "Even as John made a success of his life ... so also did his younger brother.").
- 2. The follow-up is translated "therefore", but that translation represents a word that is what the grammarians call "an [often] untranslatable interrogative particle implying anxiety or impatience" [Logos Library System 2.0]. The point is this: Paul expected the Galatians to make the link between "how" ("even as") Abraham was justified and the fact that everyone who copies his action is his "son" (all inclusive; both male and female). His expectation was so high, and so frustrated by the Galatians' failure, that he was pressed to express his feelings by accusing them of "foolishness". This expression did three things simultaneously: 1) it revealed the depth of Paul's frustration with the Galatians; 2) it probably intimidated some of the Galatians; and 3) it may have even antagonized the more prideful of those Galatians (who likes being called a "fool"?). In any case, Paul is obviously "on the offensive", driven by his love for the Galatians and the extreme danger in which he finds them.
- A. The quoted text is from Genesis 15:6.
- 1. This text is well beyond Moses' introduction of his readers to the man, Abram, in Genesis 12:1-3.
- 2. This raises the question of why Paul chose Genesis 15:6 to address the issue. The answer seems to be that Genesis 15:6 is the first text wherein the particular behavior is identified that will result in a divine reckoning of righteousness to a man apart from his "works".
- a. There were "many" actions taken by Abram that, if copied, would constitute another as his "son". This creates a huge problem in that the Jews considered "copying his circumcision" as the qualifying act.
- b. However, none of the "many" carry the textual declaration that any one of them got God to reckon him righteous except Genesis 15:6, and that text is not about him taking action (i.e. doing a "work"). Rather, it is about him responding to God's declaration to him with faith.
- B. Thus, Paul's contention is that it is the "believing" that carries one into the blessing of God.