by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 2 Study # 11 August 28, 2011 Dayton, Texas
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
1901 ASV Translation:
20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me.
21 I do not make void the grace of God: for if righteousness is through the law, then Christ died for nought.
I. Paul's Response to Hypocrisy.
A. He "saw" that their behavior and the Gospel were in opposition.
B. He "said" to Cephas in the presence of all... . Paul determined to address the problem in public because it was not only a distortion of the Gospel, it was also a public humiliation for all of the Gentile brethren.
1. If you, being a Jew, are living in the manner of a Gentile and not in the manner of a Jew, how do you compel the Gentiles to live as Jews? [See the Study Notes for July 3, 2011(097)].
2. We [are] by nature "Jews" and not "sinners" from among the nations [See Study Notes for July 10, 2011(099)].
3. But knowing that a man is not justified by works of the Law, but by faith of Jesus Christ... [See Study Notes for July 17, 2011(101)].
4. ...even we believed into Christ Jesus in order that we might be justified by faith of Christ and not by works of law... [See Study Notes for July 31, 2011(103)].
5. ...because by works of law shall no flesh be justified [See Study Notes for July 31, 2011(103)].
6. Now, if seeking to be justified in Christ we are found also ourselves sinners, do we conclude that Christ [is] a servant of sin? Absolutely not [See Study Notes for Aug. 7, 2011(105)].
7. If I build again what things I destroyed, I establish myself as a transgressor [See Study Notes for Aug. 14, 2011(107)].
8. For I through law died to law in order that I might live to/for God [See Study Notes for Aug. 21, 2011(109)].
9. I have been crucified with Christ; I live but no longer [as] I, but Christ lives in me ...
a. The explanation of how "through law I died to law" is given as "I have been crucified with Christ".
b. The difficulty of "life after this death" is then approached with an explanation: " I live but...".
1) The linguistic formulation is not simple. The NASB translates it "and it is no longer I who live"; the Authorized Version translates it "nevertheless I live; yet not I...".
a) The NASB translators, thinking themselves to have the right "thought", do not take the linguistic formulation seriously, and the Authorized Version translators, attempting to take the linguistic formulation seriously, actually have to add words in order to try to communicate Paul's "thought".
b) In an exact literal translation, we have "I am living but no longer I". At issue is whether the mild adversative ("but") should be taken as a continuation of the explanation of how "I died" and the introduction to the problem of being yet alive enough to write this letter, having died. The Authorized Version says it this way, "I have been crucified...nevertheless I live...". The NASB takes a different tack. For it there is no "adversative idea" (it does not take "but" as "but"), so the word is translated "and". This means that Paul is continuing his thought: "I died... and am still dead so that I no longer live..." [this is completely contrary to the context].
c) However, there is a third option. The adversative idea ("but") is part of Paul's thought but it is not connected to the explanation of his "death". Rather, it is an adversative of his claim to be "living". In its most literal form, Paul's claim is, "I am living, but no longer I". In other words Paul addresses the issue of his co-crucifixion with Christ with the acknowledgement: "I am living". But, then, in opposition to the idea that he is living, he writes, "but no longer I". I insert the translational possibility "[as]" ... "but no longer [as] I". In other words, Paul's co-crucifixion was real enough to alter how he currently lives. He actually "died" to the law which was against a certain form of "him". His current life apart from that law exists as the outcome of a different "I". This "I" is no longer a legitimate object of the law's activities. Because "I" died, the only "I" that continues living is a different configuration of both being and identity. In this new configuration of my "being" it is Christ Who is actually the One "living". In this new configuration of my identity, it is Christ Who lives in my body with "me" functioning in that body (that did not die to law) as a "believer". In other words, the new configuration is "Christ living in my body and I, in that body, simply believing Him". I am there, but not as I had been.
2) Paul's use of the mild adversative in Galatians 2:20.
a) He uses it to precede three of the four phrases in the verse.
i. I live but no longer I.
ii. but Christ lives in me.
iii. but the now I live in flesh.
b) Clearly he sees a "hitch" in the movement of his thought (adversatives always introduce some "adverse" idea). The idea seems to be that he anticipated a significant level of possibility that his readers would tend to "go off the track" as they read his words.
i. The first anticipated departure seems to be that there can be no reality to his co-crucifixion. He countered that by acknowledging that "he" is yet living, but no longer in the same identity/form as previously.
ii. The second anticipated departure seems to be that there can be no reality to this new "identity/form". He countered that by claiming that Christ is "in" him in a sense that changes his essential identity because it is now fundamentally Christ Who is doing the "living".
iii. The third anticipated departure seems to be that there can be no reality to an actual indwelling Christ Who does the living. He counters that by declaring that there is yet an "in flesh" present reality that forces his identity as one who continues to do the living, but that aspect of the living is a matter of "faith" in the Son of the God. In other words, "faith" is not a proactive reality, but a yielded, dependent reality wherein the "believer" allows the Son to actually do the living.
3) Paul's claim is breath-taking.
a) To claim that it is the Son of God Who is actually living in his body means several things...
i. If it is, in fact, Christ Who is living in his body, then it is Christ Who is responsible for the actions that body is taking. Most of us are extremely reluctant to accept this as it puts us in direct opposition to Christ in every case wherein we oppose the actions of the body.
ii. If it is, in fact, Christ Who is living in his body, then there is a profound level of impact by Him upon both the "I" who yet lives in that body and the people affected by the actions taken by that body.
iii. If it is, in fact, Christ Who is living in his body, how do we deal with the reality of Cephas withdrawing into hypocrisy?
b) It seems like a breath-taking claim to posit the fact that it is Christ Who is living in the body, but that He, in there, does not have the ability to override the "I" whose fears can create hypocrisy to the level of denying the Gospel.
i. At issue is the degree to which Christ "lives" in the bodies of those who trust in the Gospel.
ii. Paul's context suggests two issues that affect that degree: first, there is the question of the "love" that is supposed to cast out all fear; and, second, there is the question of whether the "faith" that is supposed to activate the Christ-life is rooted in actual truth. What is the point of an indwelling Christ Who lives if, in fact, both fear and deception are capable of dominating? And not just "capable", but successful any number of times?
iii. Is Paul's claim mostly smoke and mirrors? No, the claim is not that the indwelling Christ runs rough-shod over the "I" who is yet within the body. Rather, the claim is that Christ lives within and expresses Himself through the host body as the I who is co-joined to Him permits Him that freedom by "faith that is energized by love" (Galatians 5:6). In other words, the coming of Christ into our bodies does not erase "us". It is not His intent to simply gain a vehicle of Self-expression (a "body"); rather, it is His intent to share His life with us in our bodies so that what is expressed by our bodies is His love and truth. This, most fundamentally, means that a good part of what His presence does in our bodies is the confrontation of false loves and deceptive lies.