by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 3 Study # 2 September 2, 2012 Dayton, Texas (Download Audio)
(203)Thesis:Paul's plea includes some "residual" results more potent than anything the "Law" can produce.
Introduction:In our last study I made the claim that the translation of Paul's plea as "become as I am because I am as you are" is impossible from both a logical and contextual position. Instead, it ought to be translated "become as I am because I am what you used to be". This is supported most fundamentally from the twin facts just stated: a) the translation given makes no logical sense; and b) every point Paul makes about what he wants from them is made on the basis of their past activities.
This evening we are going to look a bit further into what he is begging them to do. Last time we said that he was begging them to return to a former state that consisted most fundamentally of copying his "core" of faith. We see that reinforced in the other things he says.
I. First, He Declares "Ye Did Me No Wrong".
A. The term he chooses is the alpha-negated verb "to do righteously".
1. This means that he was saying that they did not treat him "unjustly".
2. This is a very basic "legal" term that has all of the trappings of "legal activity".
3. This is a huge point in that he claims that their original "faith" position automatically moved them to act in a way that the legalists' "commitment" position cannot do.
a. The legalist argument is that entrance into the Kingdom of God involves a commitment to obedience.
b. The flaw in that position is the inability of man to follow through on that kind of a commitment.
c. The power of Paul's argument is this: when they believed, they were able to "do no wrong".
d. What would be the point of moving from a position of strength to a position of weak and beggarly commitments?
B. The immediate "residual" impact of "believing" the Gospel is the ability to do no wrong (echoes of Romans 8:4).
II. Second, He Declares That Their Response to Him Was a Response of Strength.
A. He says that his condition was a "temptation".
1. This coincides with the Biblical fact that every time a person "believes", he/she is "tested".
a. Genesis 3.
b. Matthew 4 and Luke 4.
c. Luke 8:13.
2. He clearly identifies the essence of "temptation": looking on the appearance and not looking deeper into the substance.
a. He appeared to be a, more or less, powerless "victim".
b. He claimed to be an apostle of the only true God of the universe with a message of absolute Truth.
c. He had validated that claim by his method of preaching Christ, crucified.
d. It was up to them if they were going to look past the appearances into the substance.
B. He says their response was four-fold.
1. They did not "despise" him in his condition.
a. The word means to consider someone/something as utterly inadequate to the task.
b. The word is very often tied to an attitude of "moral superiority" in the one doing the despising (Luke 18:9; Romans 14:3).
2. They did not "loathe" him in his condition.
a. This is a unique use of this word in the New Testament.
b. It is one of those words that is coined by pronouncing the sound of a thing (like the "cooing" of a dove) and the sound in this case is that of one summoning spittle and ejecting it (ek ptuo). [The point is that the Galatians in a "faith" mode looked beyond appearances and refused to simply spit at the messenger.]
3. They did "embrace" him -- they pulled him into themselves.
a. As a divine messenger.
b. As a human representative of Christ Jesus.
4. They did empathize with him to a remarkable degree: they would have plucked out their eyes for him if it could have been an effective action.
a. This has potent implications for the nature of at least some of his injuries: eyes damaged by rocks thrown at his head.
b. This has potent implications for the ability of "faith" to produce the proper kind of "love".
C. The overall point of his plea is that they used to have the ability to live lawfully without the law and they are moving backwards to a position where the Law is enthroned and they have no capacity to fulfill it.