by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 1 Study # 2 March 13, 2011 Dayton, Texas (Download Audio)
(066)Thesis:The "private" presentation of the Gospel acknowledges the absolute primacy of "faith" in the relationship that God offers us.
Introduction:Our studies of Galatians thus far have yielded this most fundamental truth: salvation is by grace through faith. In chapter one, the most compelling argument for this truth of the Gospel is Paul's radical transformation because of "faith" in a message he once considered such an absolute heresy that he felt it was a capital crime to promote it. We saw this in the loop that began in 1:13-14 and ended in 1:23-24. That Paul begins his presentation of the "proof" of his apostleship this way is strong evidence that he considered the way the Truth affects the behavior of people as a kind of bottom line reality. What good is a "Gospel" that leaves people unmotivated, unloving, and unchanged?
This evening we are going to look a bit further into this reality of faith's impact upon the human heart and mind.
I. Paul's "Presentation" of the Gospel.
A. The issue of "presentation" is the issue of deliberately bringing a matter up for consideration (the word Paul chose to use is only used twice in the New Testament and both times it has to do with "forcing" a matter to the fore -- no elephants in this room are ignored).
B. The "matter" that Paul brought up was "the Gospel which he preached to the nations".
1. This is no small matter given that he had been proclaiming this message for 17 years and an innumerable host of people had been influenced to "faith" in its most fundamental elements.
a. If his message was fundamentally flawed, so was the "faith" of all who had heard him over the years.
b. If "faith" is faulty, so are all of the outcomes of it -- including God's responses.
c. God does not "save" apart from a legitimate "faith" so that all whose "belief" is faulty are yet in their sins.
1) That "salvation by faith" requires a legitimate "faith" is everywhere testified in the New Testament.
2) The New Testament has a host of texts within it that castigate false teachers and warn of the real damage that "faith" in their messages causes.
3) Jesus taught that the narrow gate was hard to find (Matthew 7:14) and nowhere in the Bible does the idea that man is saved by "sincerity" get any traction.
a) On the one hand, "sincerity" is a biblical "crock" as far as unsaved man's motivations are concerned.
b) On the other hand, men "sincerely" believe only what suits their Love/Truth complex; i.e., they believe what they want to be true regardless of reality.
2. That Paul's message to the nations totally rejected any, and every, form of human self-qualification, and totally focused upon the reality and implications of the death of Jesus Christ, is everywhere revealed in his writings.
a. Galatians 3:1 declares this in the plainest of terms, as does 2:21.
b. 1 Corinthians 2:2 is as deliberate a statement of primary focus as can be found in the New Testament.
c. 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 is as deliberate a statement of the "Gospel" as can be found in Paul's writings.
C. The bottom line in Paul's presentation is that it is "faith" that makes the actual difference, not the facts believed.
1. The facts are the facts and they dictate whether "faith" is of any value.
2. But it is "faith" that drives the impact of those facts for one reason: everywhere in the Bible we are told that "faith" gets God to act on our behalf.
a. The issue is not anything that "faith" gets us to do.
b. The entire reason that "faith" is so critical is that it is the catalyst for God's actions on our behalf.
II. Paul's "Private" Presentation.
A. He makes it known that he "feared" that he was running, and had been running, in vain.
1. This must be properly understood.
2. He had no "fear" that he was not preaching the truth.
3. His "fear" had its roots in the reality that Peter had demonstrated at an earlier time.
a. "Apostleship" carries no guarantee of "fidelity" to the Truth.
1) 1 Corinthians 9:27.
2) Galatians 2:14.
b. "Apostleship" has only one guarantee: the Truth is known by "apostles".
B. His presentation is to those who were "of reputation".
1. The word used here has a specific idea: those "of reputation" are those who appear to others to be "believable".
2. The logic is this: if those who have a reputation for telling the Truth are sufficiently fearful of others that they will allow something they know to be a lie to stand as the truth, the impact on those who view them as "truth tellers" will be devastating.
a. Paul clearly identifies Peter's motivation: 2:12.
b. If those in Jerusalem are likewise "fearful", all is lost and all of Paul's work will have been in vain.
III. The Outcome.
A. Titus was not compelled to be circumcised.
B. Titus was allowed to retain his reputation as a "saved" man.
C. The net result: Titus, being an example of "the nations", was considered to be "saved" apart from any legalities.