Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 3 Study # 4
Thesis: With a motivation as false as "desiring to make a good impression", no good can come.
Introduction: In this final paragraph of Paul's letter to the Galatians he makes one more stab at attempting to get the Galatians to come back to "Grace". As we saw in our last study, the first part of this attempt is to make sure his readers know that this letter actually came from him as a spokesman for God. This evening we are going to look into his expose of the motivations of the "false brethren".
Under the thesis that the most critical issues in all of the Bible are "Love" (What is Important?) and "Faith" (What is True?), we are going to see that Paul doubles down on the false brethren's motives and "truth construct". What we will see is that they had two basic motives for their actions and one basic truth.
November 10, 2013
- I. Paul's Expose of the False Brethren's "Loves".
- A. In the two verses of 6:12-13, Paul uses the word "desire" twice to reveal the motives involved.
- B. There are two "motives".
- 1. On the one hand, there is the "desire" to make a good impression upon other men (not God).
- a. Jesus said that this "desire" is absolutely destructive of any genuine "faith" (John 5:44).
- b. Paul's term for the false objective (euprosopesai) is a term that is found nowhere else in the New Testament, but it clearly links two crucial elements.
- 1) The word contains the idea of a "good" showing so that an element in the motive is to be well received ("good" as opposed to "bad").
- 2) The word also contains the primary idea of a "show" that Paul categorically places in the realm of "the flesh" so that his readers would understand that the motive is all about external impressions as opposed to internal realities.
- c. This "desire" is driven by a greater one: to escape persecution.
- 1) Paul claims that the desire to make a good impression is to keep those impressed from reacting in violence against the person making the impression.
- 2) This means that the "desire" is a cause/effect matter that identifies both the objective (love) as well as the method (faith): the "good impression" keeps persecution at bay.
- 2. On the other hand, there is the "desire" to "glory in your flesh".
- a. Paul's contrastive statement in 6:14 indicates his meaning for us: "to glory in someone's flesh" means "to take great pride in fleshly accomplishment(s)" so that others will be impressed.
- b. The way this works out is that those who are successful in creating "disciples" use their "success" as a basis for their rise in reputation before others.
- 3. Summary: there is a desire to escape persecution and a desire to rise in reputation before men.
- II. Paul's "Proof".
- A. "Ad hominem" attacks are notorious for their success, but are often extremely deceptive as a way to get around "truth" by attacking the "messenger".
- B. Paul, knowing both of these things, makes his case on a single fact.
- 1. Those compelling "circumcision" (as a construct for Law-keeping) do not keep the Law.
- 2. This is indisputable both at the actual practice level as well as the "squishy" doctrine level.
- a. No one claims to always keep the Law.
- 1) Men cannot escape this undeniable reality.
- 2) Thus, this "undeniability factor" is often dishonestly put into the fog with the argument that God does not see "sin" like Paul does.
- a) He, say the false brethren, makes a big distinction between "little" sins and "big" sins (venial and mortal), and His distinction only really settles upon whether a person is "trying to do good".
- b) If a person is trying to do good, God will sweep all failures to do good under the rug.
- b. Everyone who yet claims that God only accepts Law-keepers divides sin into manageable categories so that the outcome is acceptance for those who are not "too bad".
- 1) The "squish" factor comes up with mortal/venial sins.
- 2) It continues with "purgation" concepts (purgatory).
- 3) It rests ultimately upon "confession" before death.