Thursday, October 22, 2009

Galatians Journal: Chapter 5, verse 10

Galatians 5:10 I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be.

“I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view” The first sentence of verse 10 is an interesting insertion.. As he has in other sections of the letter, (see, e.g., 4: 11-21) Paul is letting his personal emotions show, and his deep affection for the people of the Galatian churches. This also speaks to the previous references in the letter to a real, authentic conversion experience by the members of the Galatian churches, a real relationship with Jesus (see, e.g., 3: 1-5). The implication here is that the faith of the Galatians was and is (at the time Paul wrote the letter) real – they really ARE children of the promise. While Paul says his confidence is in the Lord, what he really means is he has confidence in the Lord TOWARDS the Galatians, and that the “other view” they will not take -- the position they will maintain is to really coming to agree with the truth Paul is teaching – they will be of one mind with Him. How can Paul have this kind of confidence? How can he be assured that the Galatians, as screwed up about theology and the nature of God and salvation as they are, as ethnically prejudiced as they are, will come around? How can Paul be so confident of failed, fallen humans? Because of the PROMISE!!!! The Galatians, as a people (as a congregation, meaning most of them) had truly come to know Jesus. That is, truly born again! As Paul had been arguing throughout this book, the promise of God through faith in Jesus can never be negated. Paul is simply expressing this reality – We can’t be saved by what we do, or what group we belong to – therefore, we can’t be lost once we’ve come into a real relationship with God by what we do or what group we choose to identify with or exclude. The Promise never fails.

“The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be”
The level of difficulty here is hard to determine. The word translated here as “throwing into confusion” is presented as “troubling you,” “unsettling you,” or “disturbing you” in other translations. I have a sense that the NIV is closer to the literal meaning with “throwing into confusion,” (this is serious business, and we wouldn’t have this letter if this wasn’t crucial), but the less intense words in other translations seem better in the context of the preceding sentence – this is not a matter that ultimately robs or affects the Galatians regarding their salvation, but is merely a bump in the road for them.

“The one . . . whoever he may be.” Paul does not absolve the Galatians from blame for these issues (see 3: 1-5), but here it is made clear that the greater blame rests with those who are trying to deceive them. Paul does not identify who they are – there were probably many. But by leaving it vague, he also seems to imply that there is a demonic “spiritual warfare” side to this battle as well. He seems to identify a singular “one” that represents the many Judiazers – this would imply a satanic, “borg” like concept (you Star Trek fans will catch on to my reference) of demonic control over a large group of people.

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