by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 2 Study # 13 September 11, 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 ... [See Study Notes for Sept. 4, 2011(113)].
11. The faith which is of the Son of God Who loved me ...
a. The grammatical construction is deliberate and challenging. The translators of the NASB overlook it but the translators of the Authorized Version almost nail it.
1) When Paul was describing the issue of his present ability to live, he couched it in terms of "faith" ("I live by faith"), but he also deliberately characterized it as "the faith of the Son of God" ("I live by a faith which is of the Son of the God...").
2) The question is whether it is possible for someone to live by another's faith. Since, however, that "another" has been declared to be living "in" the body of the one claiming "life by faith", it is theoretically possible. At issue is whether Paul was describing "a faith" that, ultimately, is his. Was he saying that the faith by which he lives arises in his own heart by the working of the indwelling Christ, or was he describing "a faith" that arises in his own heart as a consequence of his perception of the faith by which the Son of God lived before He became the Indwelling Presence, or, more to the point, was he saying that he believed anything at all? The differences are significant. If Paul is saying that his ability to live "by faith" is a part of his submission to the indwelling Christ, then he is saying that an active element in the relationship between him and his indwelling Savior is the actual production of the very attitude(s) in him which will control his body and its expression of the dominant "Spirit" by that Savior. On another hand, if he is saying that his ability to live "by faith" arises from his perception of the kind of faith the Son of God exercised in His own body, then he is saying that his "living" is rooted in his own "faith" which, in turn, is rooted in what he knows about Christ's love. But there is the third option: if he actually lives by the faith of the Son of God, the issue is not what he believes at all, but what the Son of God believes and how that spills over into his own experience of life.
3) The answer to the question seems to be given by what he says about the Son of God. He "loved" and "gave". In other words, the focus on the Son is all about His initiative. If this be true, Paul is remaining consistent in his argument by saying that his "faith-life" is directly tied to, and dependent upon, that Son continuing to take the initiative -- i.e., functioning by "faith" as it is necessary in the particular moments of His host's life for His life to be manifest in the circumstances of those moments. This is entirely consistent with Paul's concept of "grace": in "grace", God takes the initiative and men respond with "yielding to the obvious". This really is the only way that "life" is by grace rather than a production of man's abilities. Additionally, in 2:16 Paul declared that "the faith(fulness) of Jesus Christ" was actually the object of the consequent "faith" of those who were justified by the faith(fulness) of Christ. The point is this: the "believer" believes in the "believing" of the Christ. This means that "the faith of Christ" is the actual "producer" of that which is done in the body and "the faith of the believer" is a secondary permission of that process.