Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 3 Study # 2
Thesis: Paul's plea includes some "residual" results more potent than anything the "Law" can produce.
Introduction: In our last study I made the claim that the translation of Paul's plea as "become as I am because I am as you are" is impossible from both a logical and contextual position. Instead, it ought to be translated "become as I am because I am what you used to be". This is supported most fundamentally from the twin facts just stated: a) the translation given makes no logical sense; and b) every point Paul makes about what he wants from them is made on the basis of their past activities.
This evening we are going to look a bit further into what he is begging them to do. Last time we said that he was begging them to return to a former state that consisted most fundamentally of copying his "core" of faith. We see that reinforced in the other things he says.
September 2, 2012
- I. First, He Declares "Ye Did Me No Wrong".
- A. The term he chooses is the alpha-negated verb "to do righteously".
- 1. This means that he was saying that they did not treat him "unjustly".
- 2. This is a very basic "legal" term that has all of the trappings of "legal activity".
- 3. This is a huge point in that he claims that their original "faith" position automatically moved them to act in a way that the legalists' "commitment" position cannot do.
- a. The legalist argument is that entrance into the Kingdom of God involves a commitment to obedience.
- b. The flaw in that position is the inability of man to follow through on that kind of a commitment.
- c. The power of Paul's argument is this: when they believed, they were able to "do no wrong".
- d. What would be the point of moving from a position of strength to a position of weak and beggarly commitments?
- B. The immediate "residual" impact of "believing" the Gospel is the ability to do no wrong (echoes of Romans 8:4).
- II. Second, He Declares That Their Response to Him Was a Response of Strength.
- A. He says that his condition was a "temptation".
- 1. This coincides with the Biblical fact that every time a person "believes", he/she is "tested".
- a. Genesis 3.
- b. Matthew 4 and Luke 4.
- c. Luke 8:13.
- 2. He clearly identifies the essence of "temptation": looking on the appearance and not looking deeper into the substance.
- a. He appeared to be a, more or less, powerless "victim".
- b. He claimed to be an apostle of the only true God of the universe with a message of absolute Truth.
- c. He had validated that claim by his method of preaching Christ, crucified.
- d. It was up to them if they were going to look past the appearances into the substance.
- B. He says their response was four-fold.
- 1. They did not "despise" him in his condition.
- a. The word means to consider someone/something as utterly inadequate to the task.
- b. The word is very often tied to an attitude of "moral superiority" in the one doing the despising (Luke 18:9; Romans 14:3).
- 2. They did not "loathe" him in his condition.
- a. This is a unique use of this word in the New Testament.
- b. It is one of those words that is coined by pronouncing the sound of a thing (like the "cooing" of a dove) and the sound in this case is that of one summoning spittle and ejecting it (ek ptuo). [The point is that the Galatians in a "faith" mode looked beyond appearances and refused to simply spit at the messenger.]
- 3. They did "embrace" him -- they pulled him into themselves.
- a. As a divine messenger.
- b. As a human representative of Christ Jesus.
- 4. They did empathize with him to a remarkable degree: they would have plucked out their eyes for him if it could have been an effective action.
- a. This has potent implications for the nature of at least some of his injuries: eyes damaged by rocks thrown at his head.
- b. This has potent implications for the ability of "faith" to produce the proper kind of "love".
- C. The overall point of his plea is that they used to have the ability to live lawfully without the law and they are moving backwards to a position where the Law is enthroned and they have no capacity to fulfill it.