by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 2 Study # 12 September 4, 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 ... [See Study Notes for Aug. 28, 2011(111)].
10. The "now life" that I am living in the flesh...
a. Even though Paul makes the primary point that "Christ lives in me", he also deals frankly and faithfully with the fact that the present "in flesh" reality does not line up with that primary point in many ways that men expect.
1) Just as soon as someone says "Christ lives in me", men begin to "expect" perfection from the one making the claim. This is not an altogether faulty reaction because Paul made the claim in the face of the hypocrisy of Cephas and his ilk -- implying that the presence of Christ "in" Cephas should have made a difference that would have restrained him from being a fearful hypocrite. But, since Paul, himself, wrote that he "had not already attained" or "were already perfect" (Philippians 3:12), there, obviously, have to be some realities in place that keep the indwelling Christ from perfect outward manifestation. Thus, the same man who put forward the "Christ lives in me" reality also put forward the "in flesh" reality.
2) The issue of the "in flesh" reality is this: though "perfection" is not promised or implied by Christ's presence, some level of Christ-expression is.
a) The production of an inerrant revelation in words (Holy Scripture) is a direct outworking of Christ's presence "in" the writers that was "perfect" in its particular manifestation (theological writings).
b) John's claim is that any time Christ is effective in being the power behind the body, the result is "sinless" (1 John 3:9).
b. At issue: the limitations that "flesh" puts upon the outward manifestation of Christ.
1) To what degree is Christ "incapable" of manifesting Himself through the bodies of those in whom He dwells?
2) Paul's answer: to the degree that "I" believe Him in the particulars.
a) The issue is "degree" and the problem is "faith".
b) The facts regarding "faith" come directly into play at this point.
i. A comparison of the "faith" of those to whom it is attributed in the Bible is a revealing study because it shows how much, and how little, the outward behavior is affected. At issue here is this reality: "little" or "great" faith determines just how much of a person's behavior is affected.
ii. Also, however, this reality surfaces: the actual result of "faith" is totally independent of the issue of "little/great". God responds without regard for how "developed" the "faith" happens to be.
iii. Thirdly, when it is "faith" that is exercised, the "believer" is driven beyond all limitations to act according to the "belief".
iv. Fourthly, many of the "behaviors" that are connected to the "drivenness" of the individual who "believes" are illegitimate because they are not controlled by "faith". In other words, no particular, individual, action can exist outside of many other attendant actions and, for Christ to be clearly seen, many of the attendant actions must also be controlled by "faith". When they are not, the result is a given in terms of God taking action to fulfill the thing believed, but the result is clouded in terms of Christ being seen clearly.
3) The conclusion: just as there are only three "basic colors" from which all other colors arise, so are there only three basic motivations from which all "intentions" arise. The problem is here: it is exceedingly difficult to identify and remove the myriad of involved aspects of highly "colored" intentions. As long as those aspects survive, the picture of Christ manifest from the body will be murky.