Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 2 Study # 9
Thesis: Paul's intention toward the Galatians was to establish Christ's redemption price as the object of faith in the divine principle of "Unity".
Introduction: In our last study we focused our attention upon Christ's submission to crucifixion as the way in which the redemption price could be paid. At issue was not, primarily, how God elevated humanity to its place in His value system (though this is the real outcome of the doctrine of Christ paying the redemption price), but that there was an "apparent" conflict in the divine nature that required resolution.
In a perfect world where sin has never intruded, there are certain of the characteristics of God that would never come to light. This is problematical under the thesis that "Life" is the outcome of "knowing God". "Life" will be truncated in every situation in which the Truth about God is undisclosed. According to Romans 9:18-24, it was this reality that undergirded God's decision to create in such a way that Sin would not be proactively prevented. That "way of creation" did not demand Sin's presence (twice as many angels refrained from Sin as indulged in it), but it did open the door to the greatest potential for "Life" because, in a fallen world, an unmitigated revelation of God is possible.
Therefore, we concluded that Christ's payment of the redemption price was a demonstration of how God keeps Himself in "Unity" in the face of the potential for "Conflict".
This raises an important issue: "Unity". This also forms at least part of the explanation for the intense focus of Jesus' prayer to the Father that we might be "one" as they are.
In our study this evening I want to make an attempt to set Paul's words in Galatians 3:13 forth in the light of his goal for his readers.
February 12, 2012
- I. The Ultimate Goal.
- A. There cannot be any real debate about what God's ultimate goal is, given the nature of His promise: 1 John 2:25 compared with John 17:3.
- 1. Those who argue that God's ultimate goal is the manifestation of His glory only argue that goal because they have been deluded into following a thoughtless theology of exalting the goals that exist as means to the identity of ultimacy.
- a. There is no doubt that the manifestation of the glory of God is a major objective in the Word of God (the aforementioned text of Romans 9:18-24; Paul's exhortation in 1 Corinthians 10:31 that believers do everything they do to the glory of God; Paul's regular presentation of many of the actions of God as ways to make His glory known, such as Ephesians 1:6; and the consistency throughout both Old and New Testaments of God's efforts to make His glory known, such as 1 Chronicles 16:24 and Isaiah 66:19).
- b. Neither can there be, however, any serious objection to the abject reality that "making one's glory known" cannot in any sense be perceived as a final end.
- 2. The plain and simple fact is that one's perception of the glory of God does something to the perceiver, and that that "something" is a consequence of the perception forces us to conclude that the outcome is greater than its means.
- 3. Therefore, we are left with the biblical declarations that when a person perceives the true glory of God, he/she is on the threshold of either entering into "Life" through the knowledge of that glory, or of departing from "Life" in a rage because that knowledge of glory is enormously hateful to the one perceiving it.
- B. Given, therefore, the ultimate objective of the God of Life, we can easily see that Paul, in Galatians 3:13, is intentionally building a perception of God in the hearts of the Galatians that is focused upon His provision of a redemption in Christ.
- 1. Clearly, anyone of the Galatians who sees God as providing a redemption for sinners will react to that reality.
- 2. Just as clearly, anyone of the Galatians who "believes" what they see in this regard will enter into "Life" as the outcome of this revelation of the glory of God.
- II. Our Current Goal: to Understand the Glory of God in Respect to This Entire Issue of Christ Providing the Redemption Price by Taking on Our Curse.
- A. The next verse of Paul's text is not ambiguous: he says that Christ provided this redemption price so that (means to an end) we might enter into the blessing of Abraham (but we are not going there tonight).
- 1. This has to mean that "we" were in His mind when He paid the price.
- 2. This has to mean that the particular "glory" of God that was driving this action was the high value He placed upon our being able to participate in the blessing of Abraham.
- 3. Thus, we have to conclude that, among the attributes of God that were driving the payment of the redemption price, His "Love" was right up there at the top of the list.
- B. The issue in the redemption price paid by Christ is this: what "Glory" of God allows the actions of one person to be, essentially and effectively, the actions of another?
- 1. How can Christ be made "a curse for us"?
- 2. In what sense can it be true that what one person does, another "does" when that "other" does not appear to be in the picture at all?
- a. How can Paul claim that he was crucified with Christ when he was actually among those who did the crucifying?
- b. How can God "reckon" that one is what, in reality, Another is?
- 3. Which of the attributes of God (which aspect of His glory) allows Him the freedom of simply declaring what is actually and historically true of Christ to also be true of everyone Who believes in Him?
- a. We are not left to "guesswork".
- b. In his teaching in Romans 5 Paul laid the foundation for our understanding of this "glory" of God.
- 1) In that teaching, the essence of our link to Adam is a physical "oneness" that is both undeniable (all of his offspring sin) and inescapable (who shall deliver me from the body of this death? [Romans 7:24]) by any human means.
- 2) Thus, "oneness" or "unity with" is a most fundamental reality of the "glory" of humanity.
- c. In his teaching in 1 Corinthians 15 Paul moves into the parallel between two "Adams".
- 1) His point is profound: what is true of Adam's physical progeny is true of Christ's spiritual progeny.
- 2) Everywhere in the New Testament presentation of the Gospel is this fact: what Christ did, we are given credit for doing.
- 3) Even the biblical doctrine(s) of baptism reinforce this reality: we are united to Christ in such a profound and fundamental way that we are seen as being personally involved in what He did/does.
- d. Thus, we must conclude that God's glory involves "Unity" in such a profound way that not only is a triunity presented in the Bible as fundamental to the Glory of God, His creation cannot escape that same essential unity.
- 1) By Adam's genetics we are constituted sinners.
- 2) By Christ's pervasive spirituality we are constituted saints.
- III. The Point: It is the Unity of God's Attributes That Exists At the Root of Our Redemption.
- A. This is important because when we "believe" that Christ died for us, we are actually united with Him by His Spirit's "invasion" of our bodies and His "union" with our souls in Life.
- B. Thus, Paul's goal for the Galatians was to entice them to "believe" that Galatians 2:20 is as true for them as for him.