Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 2 Study # 6
Thesis: Justification is "obviously" by faith, not works.
Introduction: Paul is an apostle of relational Truth. He shows a decided interest in how people live (as manifested by his multiple exhortations in all of his letters), but he also shows a determined interest in whether the approach they take to living will actually lead to Life. A brief perusal of Galatians reveals that he makes no "demands" of his readers until after laying an extensive foundation in "facts" (4:12 contains his first "exhortation"). We have to draw this conclusion from that reality: Paul is not interested in anyone doing anything until they know how they are to "do".
There is a good reason for this: "doing" is extremely dangerous/productive in a cause/effect universe. Therefore, in Galatians, Paul clearly set about to make as sure as possible that his readers would have a legitimate methodology for living before he gave them any direction for living.
This evening we are going to look into the "second" truth regarding methodology in Galatians 3:6-14: Life arises out of "believing". The "first" truth is that Life does not arise out of "doing" -- that method will only bring accursedness. It is Paul's contention that the biblical record is consumed by the fact that Life arises out of one's confidence in God, not what one does for God. His "proof" is Habakkuk 2:4.
January 15, 2012
- I. The Issues of Translation.
- A. The English translators almost universally missed the point of Paul's text.
- B. The facts.
- 1. The Hebrew and Greek word order in Habakkuk 2:4 is "the righteous by faith shall live".
- 2. The translations into English all change the order to "the righteous shall live by faith".
- 3. There is a significant alteration of meaning that flows from the alteration of the word order.
- a. The emphasis in the translations is upon the methodology of living -- i.e., "by faith".
- b. The emphasis in the Hebrew is upon the methodology and outcome of righteousness -- i.e. "the one who is righteous will live".
- II. The issues of Habakkuk 2:4.
- A. The verse comes at the conclusion of God's insistence that His wrath is about to fall upon Judah by means of the Babylonians.
- 1. That insistence creates a terrible tension in Habakkuk.
- a. The tension first shows itself in 1:12-17 where the prophet attempts to tell God that He cannot use the Babylonians to judge Judah.
- b. The tension is flatly declared in 3:16 where the prophet reveals what the divine insistence created in him.
- 2. The declaration of God to the prophet, in the face of His insistence that the Babylonians are coming and will destroy Judah, is in the form of a promise (not an exhortation).
- a. The promise is this: all who are "righteous" will survive the invasion.
- b. The impact of the promise is revealed in 3:17-19.
- 3. Thus, at issue in Paul's chosen text is a two-pronged reality: God's wrath and willingness to deliver His people.
- a. This means one primary thing: those who are righteous by the methodology of "faith" will not be killed, but shall live (physically).
- b. The extension of this primary truth is participating in the joy of life: when a person who has believed, continues to believe, he/she experiences the result of being rightly related to God: joy in the soul while alive in the body.
- B. Paul's use of the verse capitalizes upon both of the themes: wrath and the joy of deliverance.
- III. Paul's Argument in Galatians 3:11.
- A. Habakkuk 2:4 climaxes the biblical revelation regarding the methodology of justification.
- 1. Genesis 15:6 is the first text regarding how/when a man is justified by God.
- 2. Habakkuk 2:4 is the most potent text at the end of Judah's exposure to divine revelation that directly addresses the issue of how/when a man is justified by God.
- B. Habakkuk 2:4 more fully develops the issues introduced by Genesis 15:6: the condition of a man's soul, not that of his body.
- 1. At the very heart of "Life" is the issue of whether a man has any joy in his soul.
- 2. Genesis 15 presents Abraham's lack of life in his soul.
- 3. The solution is God's declaration of righteousness and presence in the life of the justified.
- 4. Habakkuk 2:4 is the precursor to Daniel and lays the foundation for the most incredible experiences of life found in the biblical text.
- C. Galatians 3:5 raised these issues and Habakkuk 2:4 addresses them directly.