Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 3 Study # 3
September 9, 2012
15 Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.
16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
17 They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them.
18 But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.
19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,
20 I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.
1901 ASV Translation:
15 Where then is that gratulation of yourselves? for I bear you witness, that, if possible, ye would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me.
16 So then am I become your enemy, by telling you the truth?
17 They zealously seek you in no good way; nay, they desire to shut you out, that ye may seek them.
18 But it is good to be zealously sought in a good matter at all times, and not only when I am present with you.
19 My little children, of whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you
20 but I could wish to be present with you now, and to change my tone; for I am perplexed about you.
- I. What and Where?
- A. To what does Paul refer in his "gratulation of yourselves" or "sense of blessedness"?
- 1. The word he used is only used three times in the New Testament and all by him (Romans 4:6, 9; Galatians 4:15).
- 2. The word refers to a "state" in which a person possesses an absolutely amazing "position".
- a. In the texts in Romans, the "state" is one in which God refuses to attribute sins to a person. The "position" is one in which the person so "blessed" is attributed by God with absolute righteousness so that none of the attributes of God which react to evil are "engaged" in that "righteous" person's case.
- b. In this text in Galatians, the "state" is one in which a person is "known by God" and, thus, stands in a "position" in which God regularly communicates Himself to the one He knows.
- 3. In Paul's use of this word in Galatians, it is clear that he saw a direct connection between "this blessedness" and the Galatians' willingness to pluck out their own eyes for him.
- a. This particular willingness -- to give him their eyes -- signals a fact: Paul's physical condition of "fleshly weakness" concerned his eyes. This likely refers to the damage to his face/eyes that the stoning at Lystra produced (Acts 14:19). Paul referred to the "persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra..." in his second letter to Timothy (3:11). In that reference there is no mention of Derbe where Paul would have first preached after the stoning at Lystra since he went there "the next day" after the stoning (Acts 14:20). From Derbe he backtracked through "Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch" (Acts 14:21) and spoke of having to endure "...much tribulation..." to be able to enter into the Kingdom of God.
- b. This directly implies that the reality of the "state/position" has made an impression upon the person possessing it that is sufficient to motivate significant selflessness. This means that this is not merely an intellectual grasp of the content of the "blessedness", but is, rather, a whole-person embrace of that content that reaches beyond the mind to the heart and the volition. In other words, the AV's "sense of blessedness" means that the Galatians have so "sensed" their condition that it has carried them beyond their Adamic-natural selfishness into the selflessness of Christ.
- c. This means, then, that the Galatians have received the impact of what is normally the result of the entrance of the Spirit into the body "crying Abba".
- B. Where, then...?
- 1. Paul is challenging them to consider their current "state/position" in terms of that impact.
- 2. The foregone conclusion is that the "impact" is potentially transitory; i.e., the "sense" has departed.
- 3. The question directly implies that the impact of "the blessedness" is directly connected to the perception of "grace" as the provision of God and that that impact will dissipate if/when the individual turns from "grace" and from the God Who insists upon its position as "front and center" in terms of mental focus. Therefore, in order to return to that "blessedness", one must return to the God of all Grace by turning from the thesis of "blessedness from obedience".