Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A Brief Change of Direction

Wow! It has been too long since I posted on this blog. I have been busy with a project which relates to the study of Paul, and Paulos and I are going to use this as a change in direction. We will come back after this brief interlude to continue with Romans. But, because of the nature of the project, and because it is still fresh on my mind, Paulos and I are going to work our way through Paul's argument in Galatians 2.16-3.29. If you have read all of the posts on this blog, you are aware that Paulos and I are interpreting Paul's much contended phrase pistis Christou ('Faith of Christ') as Christ's Faithfulness. This interpretation is not only important in Romans 1.16-17 and more specifically Romans 3.21-26, but also for understanding Galatians 2.15-3.29.

For the last month and a half I have revisited Paul's argument in Gal 2-3, especially regarding the interpretation of pistis Christou as 'Christ's Faithfulness'. So, because Paulos has thought a great deal about this, we are going to take this opportunity and work through Gal 2-3, and then return to the complexities of Romans 7.

So, for this week's post I am going to offer my translation of Gal 2.15-3.29, so that you may all see where the discussion will be going. Blessings to you, as you read!

Galatians 2:15 - 3:29

15 We are Jews by nature and not Gentile sinners, 16 yet we know that no one is justified on the basis of the deeds required by Torah but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified on the basis of the faithfulness of Christ and not on the basis of the deeds required by Torah, because on the basis of the deeds required by Torah no one will be justified. 17 But if while seeking to be justified in Christ we ourselves have also been found to be sinners, is Christ then one who encourages sin? Absolutely not! 18 For if I build up again those things I once destroyed, I demonstrate that I am one who breaks God's Torah. 19 For through Torah I died to the Torah so that I may live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So the life I now live in the body, I live by the faithfulness that belongs to the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside God's grace, because if righteousness was through the Torah, then Christ died for nothing!

3:1 You foolish Galatians! Who has cast a spell on you? Before your eyes Jesus Christ was vividly portrayed as crucified! 2 The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit on the basis of the deeds required by Torah or on the basis of the message of faithfulness? 3 Are you so foolish? Although you began with the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by flesh? 4 Have you suffered so many things for nothing?– if indeed it was for nothing. 5 Does God then give you the Spirit and work miracles among you on the basis of the deeds required by Torah or on the basis of the message of faithfulness? 6 Just as Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, 7 so then, understand that those who are of the faithfulness are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles on the basis of faithfulness, proclaimed the gospel to Abraham ahead of time, saying, "All the nations will be blessed in you." 9 So then those who are of the faithfulness are blessed with faithful Abraham. 10 For all who are of the deeds required by Torah are under a curse, because it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not keep on doing everything written in the book of the law." 11 Now it is clear no one is justified before God by Torah, because the Righteous One will live on the basis of faithfulness. 12 But Torah is not of faithfulness, but the one who does the works of Torah will live by them. 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of Torah by becoming a curse for us (because it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree") 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles, so that we could receive the promise of the Spirit through faithfulness. 15 Brothers, I offer an example from everyday life: When a covenant has been ratified, even though it is only a human contract, no one can set it aside or add anything to it. 16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say, "and to the seeds," referring to many, but "and to your seed," referring to one, who is Christ. 17 What I am saying is this: The law that came four hundred thirty years later does not cancel a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to invalidate the promise. 18 For if the inheritance is based on Torah, it is no longer based on the promise, but God graciously gave it to Abraham through the promise. 19 Why then was Torah given? It was added because of transgressions, until the arrival of the seed to whom the promise had been made. It was administered through angels by an intermediary. 20 Now an intermediary is not for one party alone, but God is one. 21 Is Torah therefore opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that was able to give life, then righteousness would certainly have come by Torah. 22 But the scripture imprisoned everything and everyone under sin so that the promise could be given, because of the faithfulness of Jesus Christ, to those who believe. 23 Now before this faithfulness came we were held in custody under Torah, being incarcerated for the faithfulness that was about to be revealed. 24 Thus Torah had become our guardian until Christ, so that we could be declared righteous on the basis of faithfulness. 25 But now this faithfulness has come, we are no longer under a guardian. 26 For you are all sons of God through the faithfulness in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female– for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seeds, heirs according to the promise.


easyrhino said...

I am eager to hear more of your analysis. This appears to be similar to NT Wright's take on this passage, but he is a bit cryptic at times. Are you familiar with his perspective of our faith vs. the faithfulness of Christ?

Nick said...

Looking forward to it! I'll be cheering from the sidelines with Karl Barth.

Timotheos said...

Thanks for the note. I am aware of Wright's view regarding Christ's faithfulness. You will find, though, that we will take things a bit differently than Wright. Paulos and I will attempt not to be cryptic.

I suppose it is better to have one on this side who was not correct, when on your side there are myriads. Shall we number them?

Thanks for the humorous rub!


Nick said...

Just remember (and tremble), we have Rudolph Bultmann on our side. I take great comfort in this knowledge.

Paulos said...

Well, we have to admit that Rudolf did get some things right, even if he didn't believe them.

Trembling. . . .