by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 2 Study # 1 October 10, 2010 Dayton, Texas
6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
1901 ASV Translation:
6 I marvel that ye are so quickly removing from him that called you in the grace of Christ unto a different gospel;
7 which is not another gospel only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema.
9 As we have said before, so say I now again, if any man preacheth unto you any gospel other than that which ye received, let him be anathema.
I. The Apostle's Surprise.
A. The expression, "I marvel", is used only twice by Paul in his letters, but is used multiple times in the Gospels, Acts, and the Revelation.
B. In this text, the reaction is attached to a "thusly, so quickly" reality that signals two involved matters: "thusly" indicates "in this particular manner"; and "so quickly" indicates that if it had happened over a longer haul it might not be so unique.
C. The term signals a significant level of non-understanding and, depending upon the context, a range of emotional involvement.
1. The word typically indicates a situation for which the participants are utterly unprepared (Matthew 9:33 has the words, "...It was never so seen in Israel", to indicate just how unprepared the participants were for the event).
2. The word also seems to directly imply that the person who is "unprepared" to deal with what he/she has experienced is mentally chasing down "possible explanations" (Matthew 8:27 records this "questioning").
a. Paul's use of "I marvel", if he used it "typically", means that he had never before had the kind of experience that the Galatians represented.
b. In Galatians, the apostle's search for "possible explanations" is that their "departure" into a "cursed message" might well indicate a lack of conversion (4:11 and 4:20).
c. That Paul used this word immediately upon the conclusion of his "introduction" to this letter also strongly suggests that the Galatian "problem" was giving him a severe case of heart-burn.
1) Paul was the type of person who entered into deep commitments (Romans 9:3) quickly (1 Thessalonians 2:7) and the reports from Galatia were searing his soul.
2) The dismay he expresses may well have also been caused because the Galatians were the fruit of his "first missionary journey" and, as such, may have cast a long shadow over the question of whether he was approaching his task legitimately (if he was doing his work properly, why this result?).
3) Additionally, that the Galatians were acting as they were may well have been a challenge to the apostle's thinking about the "Father's" commitment to the "children": just how much does God do to shore up His people in their "faith"?
a) When Jesus told Peter that he had a "sifting" experience coming up, He also told him that He had prayed for him that his "faith fail not" (Luke 22:32). Does a "failure of faith" signal a lack of commitment on the High Priest's part in intercession?
b) Because Paul could not conceive of the Father, or of His Great High Priest, not being at least as involved as he, himself, the natural conclusion was that the Galatians were not "children". But, then, how to explain their initial response (4:14-15)? There is a "Judas reality" among men (John 6:70) and men do have the ability to deceive their fellow men (Revelation 3:1). But the scale of such realities existing on a level that includes whole churches would be difficult to swallow in the beginning (even though in our current religious milieu in 2010 in America, this seems to be more the case than not).
II. The Apostle's Assignment of Responsibility.
A. Paul's charge that the Galatians are being "removed" from Him Who called them is a passive indicative verb.
1. This indicates the existence of an "outside force" that is acting upon the Galatians.
2. This diminishes, to some degree, their personal responsibility.
3. This, however, does not release them from their own personal responsibility.
B. Paul clearly sees the Galatians as "victims".
1. They are "being removed".
2. They are "being troubled" (1:7).
C. Paul, also, however, clearly sees the Galatians as the only ones who can "un-victimize" themselves.
1. In a personal universe of a good God, every person has his own responsibilities and each one has a commitment from the good God that will be effective to the ones who believe His commitment.
2. No one can ultimately "victimize" any other without the "other's" willing cooperation.
3. Ultimate victimization involves the destruction of the soul and a legitimate fear of God keeps that from being a possibility (Matthew 10:28). Men can only be "victims" if they fear the wrong things/persons.
III. The Apostle's Accusation.
A. The Galatians are allowing themselves to be removed from the Father.
1. They are not fundamentally being removed from a doctrinal position.
2. They are being removed from the gracious Caller.
B. The Galatians are allowing themselves to be confounded regarding "grace".
1. The wedge that the devil has always used between persons has always been an introduction of a deceptive lie (Note Genesis 3) that defaces the person who is to have the loyalty of the other person. In this sense, the separating factor is a "doctrine", but it is a "doctrine" about a person with a separation of persons being the objective, not an embracing of a certain concept.
2. For a deceptive doctrine to accomplish its objective, there must be some level of receptivity in the heart of the one being deceived. The presence of this receptivity is a fundamental breakdown of "Love". This means that "Love" and "faith" are intertwined.