Galatians Part 16 - Galatians 2:17-18

F. Thus, saints should desire to BE found in Him having a righteousness “...which is through the faith of Christ” (PHIL 3:9), not their own faith (which is a law-work). EPH 2:8-9. (1) Compare desire “...to BE found in Him...” (PHIL 3:9) with “...we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might BE justified by the faith of Christ...” (GAL 2:16). a. Compare the use of the word “be” in GAL 2:16-17 with “be” in 2CO 6:14-18; MAT 5:44-45. b. These texts are obviously not setting forth conditions to procure sonship to God since they are instructions to believing disciples who ARE sons of God. These are instructions to God’s children how to live, not how to acquire life. c. Similarly, GAL 2:16 concerns how God’s children ought to believe and act in order to properly identify with God through Christ. (2) God seeks true worshippers (JOH 4:23-24) Who give Christ all the glory in salvation, having NO confidence in the flesh (PHIL 3:3) but finds many whose faith is really in their own faith and/or works: what Jesus did on Calvary was inadequate to save sinners---it’s really up to the sinner. (3) God seeks men after His own heart (1SAM 13:14). How do you want to be found in Him: trusting in Christ’s work of faith for sinners, or trusting in something you did to procure righteousness and justification? G. This is justification by the faith OF Jesus Christ. H. An objection may be made from GAL 3:26. (1) Sometimes the phrase “faith in Christ” does in fact refer to the trust that men personally exercise when they believe the gospel. EPH 1:12-15; COL 1:4; 2:5. (2) But the expression “faith in” can also mean the faith that indwells one personally and locationally. 2TI 1:5; 1TI 1:14; 3:13. (3) It can only be in this second sense that GAL 3:26 is properly understood. A sinner is a forgiven, justified child of God by means of the faith that is in Christ personally and locationally which He possesses and exercises. I. NOTE: Jesus Christ was/is not only the FIRST Man of pure faith in God, He was/is the ONLY Man of pure faith in God. It took more than the faith of Moses, the faith of Abraham or your faith to fully please God. Sinners are truly saved by the faith of Christ Who fully pleased God (JOH 8:29), even to His sacrificial death. ISA 53:10-11; HEB 10:5-10. 5. In vs. 17-18, Paul continues to address Peter (and by extension the other Jewish Christians who were there) on the implications of the doctrine of grace which the doctrine of works-justification frustrates, per v. 21. A. While the old-school Judaizers futilely vied for justification by keeping the law (for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified, v. 16), true N.T. Christians had surrendered themselves to justification by Jesus Christ Whose obedience alone made men righteous, per ROM 5:19. B. Since the saving justification was all the work of Christ on behalf of undeserving, powerless, passive sinners corrupt in nature and practice who receive the gift of eternal life from Him in spite of themselves, that salvation is entirely by grace. (1) grace: Favour, favourable or benignant regard or its manifestation (now only on the part of a superior); favour or goodwill, in contradistinction to right or obligation, as the ground of a concession. (2) Any system that presumes a sinner to oblige God to justify is NOT grace since such would be a reward reckoned of debt. ROM 4:4. C. An objector might reason that if the sinner’s law-works are irrelevant to eternal justification and righteousness, then grace is a license to sin and Jesus Christ could be charged with being the minister of sin. God forbid! v. 17. (1) This was a common charge against Paul’s gospel of grace. ROM 3:5-8. (2) Grace does not condone sin but teaches against it. TIT 2:11-12; ROM 6:1-2. (3) The faith of Christ does not make void law but establishes (render stable or firm; ratify, confirm, validate) it. ROM 3:30-31. (4) Those who exploit grace unto sin are condemned, ungodly. JUDE 1:8; ROM 3:8. (5) NOTE: Believers will from time to time be found sinners (ROM 7:19) but they have an Advocate in Christ and a throne of grace for mercy on confession. HEB 4:16 c/w 1JO 2:1; 1:9. D. In v. 18, Paul makes clear that the only accountable party when one sins is self, certainly not Christ. c/w JAM 1:13-14. (1) destroy: To pull down or undo (that which has been built); to demolish, raze to the ground. (2) Paul had once been a builder after the manner of ACT 4:11, building a system of religion by sophistry (specious but fallacious reasoning; employment of arguments which are intentionally deceptive). 2CO 4:2. (3) Paul had been a self-righteous Pharisee, building false hope of justification upon his works and credentials. PHIL 3:4-6. (4) Upon conversion, he destroyed those delusions in deference to Christ (PHIL 3:7-9). Conversion is a holy violence of casting down unbiblical thoughts. MAT 11:12 c/w LUK 16:16 c/w 2CO 10:4-5. (5) He not only had destroyed his sophistry and the covetousness that condemned him (ROM 7:7) but also destroyed any notion of “do and live” righteousness to justify a sinner before God. GAL 3:11-12. (6) For Paul to rebuild a sin or bad doctrine which he had destroyed would make him a transgressor, an apostate per HEB 10:38-39. (7) Peter and the other Jewish Christians who were dissembling (GAL 2:13) in their treatment of Gentile saints at Antioch were flirting with a rebuilding of the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile which Christ destroyed by His cross and which they had destroyed by preaching and determination. ACT 15:9-11, 19-22; EPH 2:14-18. (8) NOTE: A definition of destroy is “to bring to nought, put an end to; to do away with, annihilate (any institution, condition, state, quality, or thing immaterial). a. Christ made an end of the Law with its “do and live” nature and its peculiar institutions, replacing it with a New Testament. 2CO 3:13; EPH 2:15; COL 2:14. b. The Judaized Dispensationalists affirm that Christ intends to rebuild that which He destroyed by restoring the Levitical priesthood and animal sacrifices. Wouldn’t that therefore make Him a transgressor, dishonoring the blood of His own testament and voiding His priesthood? HEB 8:4. (9) Paul’s reasoning with Peter was certainly relevant as a warning to these Galatian saints who had abandoned former follies in being converted to Christ but were turning again to them. GAL 4:8-10. a. Works-righteousness was a commonality of Mosaic and pagan religion, as was the observing of holy-days (holidays). Paul deems it all bondage. b. But such is a bondage that the flesh actually desires, falsely assuming it to be liberty. c. “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” (J.W. von Goethe) d. (GAL 5:1) Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
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