by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 3 Paragraph # 2 Study # 5 January 8, 2012 Dayton, Texas (Download Audio)
(143)Thesis:The "choices" before men involve recognition of two facts: every "legal" approach to joy results in being accursed; and the biblical record has always insisted that joy arises out of "faith".
Introduction:Paul's letters are filled with critical data and logic, but for only one reason: the joy of Life hangs in the balance. Jesus criticized the Jews for searching the Scriptures because they thought they would be able to experience Eternal Life by that detailed study (John 5:39), but that study was fruitless because it did not lead them to Jesus. The reason for this rested in how they determined the mechanism of Life.
In Galatians three, Paul takes on the Jewish "mechanism of Life" and shows that it is both inherently defective and contrary to those very Scriptures to which they applied themselves.
I. The First Issue: Biblical Teaching.
A. It is no accident that Paul appealed to Genesis 15:6 in Galatians 3:6; Genesis 12:3 in Galatians 3:8; Deuteronomy 27:26 in Galatians 3:10; Habakkuk 2:4 in Galatians 3:11; Leviticus 18:5 in Galatians 3:12; and Deuteronomy 21:23 in Galatians 3:13.
B. At issue in this first issue is the answer to this question: Why are we studying the Bible?
1. John 5:39 clearly reveals that there are more reasons than one for intensive study.
2. Jesus, in this text, also clearly reveals that the only legitimate reason for putting out any effort at all in Bible study is to get to know Jesus.
a. This at least means that any goal that does not have either getting to know Jesus or attempting to get others to become acquainted with Him is illegitimate.
b. But there is a more fundamental issue involved: the answer to the question, "What will getting to know Jesus lead to?".
II. The Second Issue: the Biblical Teaching Regarding the Use of Law as the Basis for the Joy of Relationships.
A. The problem with the use of "Law" is that it has more than one meaning.
1. In the context of Paul's phrase "works of Law", "Law" means a system wherein demands are made; actions are taken; and consequences follow on the basis of Justice.
2. On the other hand, Paul regularly used the Law in a different way: Law was, for Paul, a primary source of Truth -- true information that allows a legitimate perception of reality to develop.
B. When Paul denigrates "works of Law" while quoting from the Law, he is revealing the fact that Jesus highlighted in John 5:39: what a person is seeking will determine what he/she finds in the Law.
C. Thus, as a source of true information, what the Law says about getting involved in "works of Law" is critical.
1. The first thing it says is that everyone who gets involved in approaching Life on the basis of Law as a demand/perform/obtain-the-outcome methodology is going to be "cursed" (3:10).
a. This raises questions.
1) What is wrong with doing the works the Law demands so as to get the result the Law provides?
a) The notion of "so as to get" means that "Life" is no longer the result of "flow" from God to His child; it is, rather, the result of attempting to manipulate.
i. At the root of "manipulation" is the desire to control.
ii. The desire to control is the outcome of a thankless fear wherein "Life" is defined in terms of external issues rather than internal relational issues.
b) Doing the works of Law assumes a capacity that is not there.
2) What does it mean to be "cursed"?
a) Most fundamentally, being "cursed" means being rejected by God.
b) The automatic consequence of divine rejection is the cessation of "flow" between Him and the rejected party; i.e., "death".
c) The problem of "death" is that it is both unending and progressively destructive of all of the elements that make a human being a human being.
b. If God decides to "curse" (i.e., have nothing to do with), there is no recourse.
1) The accursedness is intensified by the addition of a preposition.
2) The accursedness is rooted in simple, particular failure to "do" what Law requires.
3) The accursedness is determined by God in a one-on-one, personal basis.
2. The second thing it says is that righteousness has never been by performance and has always been by faith.