CALLED TO LIVE IN FREEDOM

9526a07d9f8686ec5667a96cad064ff6

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

by Dr. Robert R. Seyda

PAUL’S LETTER TO THE GALATIAN CONGREGATIONS OF BELIEVERS

CHAPTER TWO (Lesson L)

Wayne C. Aman (1918-1995), Christian writer and researcher, in writing about the Apostle Paul’s commitment to always proclaiming that his old sinful nature hung crucified with the Anointed One, so that any sinful tendencies in him might be destroyed, now says he showed no interest in serving the interests and desires of those tendencies that made him a sinner. Just like when someone dies they are no longer bound to any oaths or contracts they made, so it is that his being dead to sin meant he no longer was obligated under sin’s reign.[1] Furthermore, what the Law was unable to do because it was weak when it came to controlling mankind’s carnal desires, God sent His only Son to live in a human body so He could conquer those sinful tendencies so that all who believed He now possessed all power over such tendencies could be made right with God based solely on the work of the Anointed One.[2] Then they really understand what Paul says here in verse twenty about being made alive again in the Anointed One. However, it wasn’t by virtue of any life in them, but because the Spirit of the Anointed One made them alive. So even though they still lived in the same old natural body, by the power of the Anointed One they were in charge, not their body. Now they did what the Anointed One wanted them to do, not what their carnal desires might tell them to do.

Now, all if this was only made possible by the Son of God, who loved them and gave Himself for them that they could receive a new life. Not a new body, that would come later. Therefore, the sanctified life they now lived, they lived by their faith in what the Son of God did for them. And since Jesus willingly suffered and died to be a sacrifice for them so that His blood would cover their sins from God’s eyes, they must now willingly live for him, and if necessary, die for Him and His cause. How glorious is the provision, says Aman! This gives more meaning to what Jesus said about His body – the Church. So, when we are asked to take and eat the communion wafer, we are confirming that the life we live is because of Him – He is part of us.

O yes, death is coming, but by faith, we face it knowing there will be a glorious resurrection. That’s why we say with the Apostle “I died in the Anointed One but the life I now live is a glorious, resurrected life. I live by the faith of my Savior and Sanctifier Jesus the Anointed One.”[3] The wonderful fact that the sin principle is destroyed in all that die to sin and self, belief in the accomplished provision of Jesus, is clear in the teaching of the Word.[4] The water that is used in baptism not only means that a person died and is buried as far as sin is concerned but that it also represents the blood of the Lamb of God that cleanses sin’s stains and serves as an antidote to the poison of sin. So, we imply that when we come up out of the water it represents our being born again but also our being sanctified by His blood. But that is not all, now that person’s life must show that all of this took place. All that remains is for the infilling of the Holy Spirit for service.

And Duncan Hester feels that Paul is using the same language of baptism here in verse nineteen that he would later use with the Romans.[5] So baptism became his burial after he died to the Law. Just like someone is put in a grave, so also Paul was put into a watery grave. But just as Jesus was raised from the dead, so Paul was raised to new life by the power of the Anointed One. So, his relationship with the Law is over, just like when one spouse dies and is buried, their relationship with the other spouse is over. If they want to, they may remarry. And that’s what Paul did, he was married to the Anointed One in spirit. Then in verse twenty, Paul makes another reference to his baptism. But this time it is post-baptism, and it involves the fact that a co-crucifixion occurred – the Anointed One and Paul. Hester says that the word, co-crucifixion, is used about the thieves being crucified with Jesus.[6] The unrepentant thief represents those who refuse to accept the Anointed One as their Savior. But the repentant thief is a type of us all. And the promise to the repentant thief that he would be with Jesus in paradise following his death, is also the same promise to us.[7]

In their exposition of Galatians, David Platt and Tony Merida share a quote from Puritan William Perkins (1558-1602), who died nine years before the King James Version Bible was published, on his thoughts of what is being said in verse nineteen. The quote goes: “We are to consider in our mind and meditation that the Anointed One was crucified. First, we are to believe that He was crucified for us. This being done, we must go yet further, and spread our arms on the cross of the Anointed One, believing and see ourselves being crucified with Him.” In the original book published for Perkins, he then adds, “You might say, this is a difficult matter, I cannot do it. But I say again, that this is the right practice of faith: strive, therefore, to be settled in this, that the body of sin is crucified with the Anointed One.”[8] So what does this imply once we die to sin when we are co-crucified with the Anointed One? It means that the penalty, power, and preeminence of sin was broken unable to condemn our souls to timeless separation from God. Its effect in the past was covered by the blood of the Lamb, its influence in the present is erasable by God’s grace, and its potential outcome in the future is already paid for by the Anointed One. If we sin, God doesn’t say, “You are not justified anymore.” No, your justification is sealed; you died to sin. God’s declaration is final.[9]

Ralph Martin and William Lane conclude that Paul is laying down a new basis for the divine-human relationship. The old-self is condemned and put on the cross as a criminal. However, there is no canceling of one’s personality, no call to self-denial and self-punishment. The dying of self is an invitation to glorious new possibilities of a life in a union by faith with a Living Lord who now controls the believer and who lives the Anointed One’s resurrection life.[10] Only from the vantage point of this “dead to self – alive to God” experience does the cross we carry shine in its true light. Only as sinners throw themselves on the mercy of God shown on the cross as the sole ground of their hope does the cross assume its real importance, for if there is any merit in human achievement – if there is any second way to God by some side-door entrance into God’s awesome presence – then the Anointed One died for no purpose. In other words, He died for nothing.[11] [12]

Current Bible commentator Robert Gundry sees it this way: “Being in the Anointed One provides a location for the sought-after justification because from God’s point of view, believing in the Anointed One puts believers in union with the Anointed One, the object of their belief.”  He goes on to say: “Believing in the Anointed One brings the gift of His Spirit so that through the Spirit that indwells him believers too indwell Him.”[13]  Therefore, there is no justification for God to forgive us of sin outside the Anointed One, because the Law did not pay the price for redemption, nor did we pay through good works, only the Anointed One did. That’s why any Judaizers in Galatian who claimed that by forsaking the Law in favor of the Anointed One meant they were being led into sin against the Law were wrong. Paul’s response was to point out that since the Anointed One tore down all the works of the Law (see this in light of the veil in the Temple being torn in two) so that His work on the cross could take its place, by re-instituting the Law they were rebuilding what the Anointed One tore down, and sowing the veil back together again, would not only be foolish, but a rejection of what the Anointed One did on the cross.[14]

Don Garlington explains it in a very colorful way. “Because of the death-blow administered by the Law” after its laws were broken, Paul became convinced that the Torah could not bring him back to life once he paid the death penalty for his sins with his own life. He knew this was his destiny even while trying to be a faithful Pharisee because there was no way he could be the righteous person he needed to be in order to qualify for life in the world-to-come. Garlington is convinced that the words of David came crashing in upon him: “Don’t bring your servant to trial since in Your sight no one alive would be considered righteous.[15] At this point in time, Paul became profoundly aware that his righteousness must come from none other than the Son of God, who loved him and gave Himself for him. This was something the Law could not do.[16]

I agree with Paul, to make the Torah any part of what it means to be a born again Christian and live for the Anointed One, is rebuilding the old wall of separation that the Anointed One tore down so that all who believe in Him are one with Him. Listen to what Paul told the believers in Ephesus: But now you are in union with the Anointed One, Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you are near to Him through the blood of the Anointed One. For the Anointed One Himself brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one fellowship when, in His own body on the cross, He broke down the wall of hostility that separated them. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in Himself one new community from the two groups. Together as one body, the Anointed One reconciled both groups to God by means of His death on the cross, and their hostility toward each other was put to death. He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from Him, and peace to the Jews who were near. Now all of can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what the Anointed One did for us.[17]

Since the new birth is so much a part of salvation in the Anointed One, it allows the use of an illustration to help us understand Paul’s somewhat complex thinking. From the moment of conception, the fetus depends on the umbilical cord and the mother’s intake of nutrition to stay alive.  But the day comes when the baby leaves the womb, and the umbilical cord is cut in order to live in the outside world. So, the child then says, “By leaving the womb, I’m rejecting the womb as my permanent home in order for me to exist in the environment outside.”   Yes, the womb gave the baby an environment in which to be conceived and grow, but its destiny was not to remain there into adulthood. And what child would ever wish to go back into the womb and live in a bag of water again, especially after their first Christmas? That’s not possible anymore. Now that the child breaths air, they would be unable to survive by returning to the womb. No wonder Nicodemus was somewhat taken aback when Jesus told him that in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven he needed to be born again, and he thought that meant he needed to return to the womb.

[1] See Romans 6:6-7

[2] Ibid. 8:3-4

[3] This is Wayne C. Aman’s paraphrase of Galatians 2:20

[4] Wayne C. Aman: The Cross and Crown of Holiness, Books for the Ages, 1997, p. 15

[5] See Romans 6

[6] Luke 23:42

[7] Heaster, Duncan: European New Testament Commentary on Galatians, op. cit., loc., cit., Kindle Locations 544-596

[8] The Works of That Famous and Worthy Minister of the Anointed One in the University of Cambridge, Mr. William Perkins, Printed by John Legatt, London, 1631, Vol. II, p. 215

[9] Platt, David; Merida, Tony.  Galatians, op. cit., p. 49

[10] See Galatians 2:20

[11] Ibid. 6:21

[12] Martin, Ralph P.; Lane, William L.; Morris, Leon. The Shorter Letters of Paul: Galatians to Philemon (Open Your Bible Commentary, New Testament Book 8) (Kindle Locations 562-566). Creative 4 International. Kindle Edition.

[13] See Galatians 3:2; 4:6; Romans 8:1-17

[14] Robert Gundry: On Galatians, op. cit., loc. cit., Kindle Locations 465-492

[15] Psalm 143:2 – Complete Jewish Bible

[16] Don Garlington: On Galatians, op. cit., p. 85

[17] Ephesians 2:13-18 – Complete Jewish Bible

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s