Thursday, August 13, 2009

Galatians Journal: Chapter 2, verse 17

Galatians 2:17 “"If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! “

Paul begins an explanation here very similar to the more detailed presentation in Romans 7. This is very much like the statement “shall we sin that grace might abound?” made famous in the book of Romans. But here, Paul seems a bit more subtle. “While we seek to be justified” indicates a sincere heart – even though the Galatians were struggling with sin in their midst, and particularly these ethnic divisions, Paul is making it clear that at the base, they were not hypocrites – they were earnestly seeking the Lord. (I also see in the context of the discussion about Peter’s shortcomings in the verses just before this, this serves as a recognition that Peter wasn’t to be written off – He too was “seeking to be justified in Christ,” and had also been influenced by evil forces, much like the Galatians).

“It becomes evident” this indicates a sense of discovery.

“We ourselves are sinners” We all fall short. Paul may be employing his trademark sarcasm here. Then again, he is simply stating the truth. In our humanity, we all fail, fall short, and are prone to sin. He has held Peter out as a living example of this – a sincere believer who has acted wrongfully. Jesus does not “promote sin.” “ABSOLUTELY NOT!” Paul is beginning what serves in this book the same purpose as the entire concept of Romans 6,7 and 8 does in that book – we walk in holiness and sanctification by faith, by grace, dependent on Christ’s work and not on our own. In the context of the kind of sin that the Galatians are struggling with, this also means that we will discover that while we diligently seek Christ, we will deal with ethnic and cultural differences – Jesus does not promote these either! But as the subsequent verses show (especially verse 20) total reliance on Jesus and the finished work of Christ is the only way to overcome those issues.

No comments: