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Quits Sabio
Elder at Sovereign Mercy Evangelical Church Inc. and President of Reformed Exegetes Society
User since 2013
Quits's published pages
To be under the Mosaic law again is not only childish, but also devilish and damning.
Galatians 4:8-11
Beware of working for God! Instead, gladly obey God as our Father and not as our taskmaster.
Galatians 4:1-7
The law serves the promise until the coming of the seed
Galatians 3:19-22
The Law cannot nullify the Promise
Galatians 3:15-18
Law demands a life of perfect obedience, but Faith demands a life of faith in Christ's act of redemption alone
Galatians 3:9-14
Faith is the spiritual DNA by which our familial relationship to Abraham can be proven.
Galatians 3:6-9
We can't start with the Spirit and then end with the flesh
Galatians 3:1-5
Lead others to the truth of the gospel not just with propositions but also with our actions.
Galatians 2:11-14
How important that there is only one gospel?
Galatians 2:1-10
What are you hoping for?
Psalm 42:11
No other gospel that brings glory to God than the gospel of grace that transforms its messenger
Galatians 1:18-24
If you want to please God, seek what pleases Him, namely the preaching of Christ
Galatians 1:11-17
Want some peace of mind? So Pray!
Philippians 4:6-7
What brings understanding, our thinking or God's granting?
2 Timothy 2:7
What it means to be a slave of Christ?
Galatians 1:10
To desert from the Gospel is to desert away from God
Galatians 1:6-9
Seek God's approval and not the approval of men
Galatians 1:1-5
God gets more glory when more people rely on Him for contentment in times of need.
Philippians 4:10-20
Standing Firm in the Lord demonstrates itself in unity, peacekeeping, rejoicing in the Lord always and forbearance toward one another
Philippians 4:1-9
Resurrection is a means to lay hold of the prize who is Christ Jesus so strive to attain it since He already laid hold of you
Philippians 3:12-21
Jesus came into the world to exegete the Father
John 1:1-18
God is more glorified in us when we enjoy him than when we fear him
Luke 2:8-20
The supremacy of the worth of Christ outweighs all things, and that includes all human boastings!
Philippians 3:1-11
Risking for Jesus will yield greater returns
Philippians 2:25-30
Seeking the interest of Christ is seeking the interest of others above one's own
Philippians 2:19-24
What is the secret to a grumble free life and happy pastors?
Philippians 2:14-16
God is not wasting our suffering,  we shouldn't also
Philippians 1:12-18
How to work out your own Salvation?
Philippians 2:12-18
Motivations for Obedience
Philippians 2:12-13
Christ Emptied himself by Adding
Philippians 2:6-7
Christian unity delights itself in the interest of others
Philippians 2:1-5
To Know Christ is to have the will of the Father
John 7:17-18
Find your Joy in God in the joy of your leaders and the flock
Hebrews 13:17
The Law does not negate the Promise, it's the restatement of the Promise
Galatians 3:15-18
The Church Abides to Chirst so should Wives to their Husbands. Christ never forsake His Church, so should Husbands to their Wives
Ephesians 5:22-33
Herald the word even if your life is at stake
2 Timothy 4:2
Any talk of gender roles and equality must be grounded on creation.
1 Corinthians 11:7-12
There is Joy in praying for the sanctification of our brethren!
Philippians 1:3-11
Since God is righteous, God must elect according to his own freedom
Romans 9:14-18
view all (40 total)
Dead to the Law, Living to God
Galatians 2:15-21
What is dying to the law and living to God?
#galatians
#Law
#Works
Published March 24th, 2019; Updated March 30th, 2019
Author
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Main point summary
Bracket
Exegesis
Introduction
Exposition of 15-21
Application
notes
Main point summary
Even though justification is by faith alone apart from the works of the law, Christ did not suddenly become a minister of sin, because those who were crucified with Christ can no longer live for themselves, and as a result they now live to God and Christ is living in them.
Bracket
NT
Galatians 2:15-21
nasb
na28
net
esv
mine
“We are a Jews by nature
Ἡμεῖς φύσει Ἰουδαῖοι
We are Jews by birth 47
We ourselves are Jews by birth
We are Jews by birth
and not Gentile sinners;
καὶ οὐκ ἐξ ἐθνῶν ἁμαρτωλοί•
and not Gentile sinners, 48
and not m Gentile sinners;
and not Gentile sinners;
negativepositive
nevertheless knowing
εἰδότες [δὲ]
yet we know 49
yet we know
yet we know
that a a man is not justified by the works of 1 the Law
ὅτι οὐ δικαιοῦται ἄνθρωπος ἐξ ἔργων νόμου
that no one 50 is justified by the works of the law 51
that n a person is not justified 1 by works of the law
that a man is not justified by the works of the Law
but through faith in Christ Jesus,
ἐὰν μὴ διὰ πίστεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ,
but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. 52
o but through faith in Jesus Christ,
but through faith in Christ Jesus,
ideaexplanation
concessive
even we have believed in Christ Jesus,
καὶ ἡμεῖς εἰς Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν ἐπιστεύσαμεν,
And 53 we have come to believe in Christ Jesus,
so we also have believed in Christ Jesus,
[therefore] even we have believed in Christ Jesus,
so that we may be justified by b faith in Christ
ἵνα δικαιωθῶμεν ἐκ πίστεως Χριστοῦ
so that we may be justified by the faithfulness of Christ 54
in order to be justified by faith in Christ
in order that we may be justified by faith in Christ
and not by the works of 1 the Law;
καὶ οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων νόμου,
and not by the works of the law,
and not by works of the law,
and not by the works of the Law;
actionpurpose
since c by the works of 1 the Law
ὅτι ἐξ ἔργων νόμου
because by the works of the law
p because by works of the law
because by the works of the Law
no 2 flesh will be justified.
οὐ δικαιωθήσεται πᾶσα σάρξ.
no one 55 will be justified.
no one will be justified.
no flesh will be justified.
actionmanner
ground
inference
But if, while seeking to be justified in Christ,
εἰ δὲ ζητοῦντες δικαιωθῆναι ἐν Χριστῷ
But if while seeking to be justified in Christ
But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ,
But if while seeking to be justified in Christ,
we ourselves have also been found a sinners,
εὑρέθημεν καὶ αὐτοὶ ἁμαρτωλοί,
we ourselves have also been found to be sinners,
we too were found q to be sinners,
we ourselves have also been found to be sinners,
actionresult
is Christ then a minister of sin?
ἆρα Χριστὸς ἁμαρτίας διάκονος;
is Christ then one who encourages 56 sin?
is Christ then a servant of sin?
is Christ then one who encourages sin?
b May it never be!
μὴ γένοιτο.
Absolutely not!
Certainly not!
Absolutely not!
questionanswer
conditional
For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed,
εἰ γὰρ ἃ κατέλυσα ταῦτα πάλιν οἰκοδομῶ,
But if I build up again those things I once destroyed, 57
For if I rebuild what I tore down,
Because if I rebuild those things I once destroyed,
I a prove myself to be a transgressor.
παραβάτην ἐμαυτὸν συνιστάνω.
I demonstrate that I am one who breaks God’s law. 58
I prove myself to be a transgressor.
[Then] I prove myself to be a transgressor
For through 1 the Law I a died to 1 the Law,
ἐγὼ γὰρ διὰ νόμου νόμῳ ἀπέθανον,
For through the law I died to the law
For through the law I r died to the law,
Because through the law I died to the law
so that I might live to God.
ἵνα θεῷ ζήσω.
so that I may live to God.
so that I might s live to God.
in order that I may live to God.
I have been a crucified with Christ;
Χριστῷ συνεσταύρωμαι•
I have been crucified with Christ, 59
I have been t crucified with Christ.
[That is] I have been crucified with Christ,
and it is no longer I who live,
ζῶ δὲ οὐκέτι ἐγώ,
and it is no longer I who live,
It is no longer I who live,
and [as a result] it is no longer I who live,
but b Christ lives in me;
ζῇ δὲ ἐν ἐμοὶ Χριστός•
but Christ lives in me.
but Christ who lives u in me.
but Christ lives in me.
and 1 the life which I now live in the flesh
ὃ δὲ νῦν ζῶ ἐν σαρκί,
So 60 the life I now live in the body, 61
And the life I now live in the flesh
[therefore] the life that I now live in the flesh
I live by faith in c the Son of God,
ἐν πίστει ζῶ τῇ τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ
I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, 62
I live by faith in the Son of God,
I live by faith in the Son of God,
who d loved me
τοῦ ἀγαπήσαντός με
who loved me
v who loved me
who loved me
and e gave Himself up for me.
καὶ παραδόντος ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ.
and gave himself for me.
and w gave himself for me.
and [as a result] gave Himself up for me.
I do not nullify the grace of God,
Οὐκ ἀθετῶ τὴν χάριν τοῦ θεοῦ•
I do not set aside 63 God’s grace,
I do not nullify the grace of God,
[Therefore] I do not nullify the grace of God,
for a if righteousness comes through 1 the Law,
εἰ γὰρ διὰ νόμου δικαιοσύνη,
because if righteousness 64 could come through the law,
for x if righteousness 1 were through the law,
Because if righteousness comes through the Law,
then Christ died needlessly.”
ἄρα Χριστὸς δωρεὰν ἀπέθανεν.
then Christ died for nothing! 65
y then Christ died for no purpose.
then Christ died needlessly.
bilateral
na28
discourse
Exegesis
We are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, [therefore] even we have believed in Christ Jesus, in order that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified. But if while seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have also been found to be sinners, is Christ then one who encourages sin? Absolutely not! Because if I rebuild those things I once destroyed, [Then] I prove myself to be a transgressor. Because through the law I died to the law in order that I may live to God. [That is] I have been crucified with Christ, and [as a result] it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, [therefore] the life that I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and [as a result] gave Himself up for me. [Therefore] I do not nullify the grace of God, Because if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.
Introduction
Galatians 2:15-21 is the last argument that Paul gave to support his claim that he was a slave of Christ in Galatians 1:10. This section also serves as a transitional passage from Paul's defense of his apostolic authority to his defense of the gospel. Paul's primary contention here is that even though justification is by faith alone apart from the works of the law, Christ did not suddenly become a minister of sin, because those who died to the law will live to God. This in turn, will in essence also support his claim that he's a slave of Christ because he no longer lives for himself. That is, by the very definition and effects of his gospel message, he can't be a man pleaser. He couldn't have invented this just to please the gentile sinners because the gospel have a transformative effect to those who believe. They will live to God.
Exposition of 15-21
Jews and Gentiles equally need the Gospel(verse 15-16) We can construe this section as part of Paul's response to Peter's hypocrisy in verses 11-14. Paul not only told Peter what was wrong with his actions but also reminded him of what the gospel is and what virtually he's rebuilding by withdrawing fellowship with the gentiles, namely a return to the Law. So Paul begins in verse 15 with the recognition of their privileged status as Jews. He said "We are Jews by nature and not Gentile sinners." Jew by nature only means a Jew by birth. But when he said that they are not Gentile sinners, he's not saying that they are not sinners in the absolute sense of the word but rather he's just borrowing the phraseology of the Judaizers. Jews think of Gentiles as unclean and sinful. So he's drawing the attention of the Judaizers in Galatia. Now Paul said in verse 16 that even though they are Jews by birth, they know that the way to be justified is the same for both. Man is not justified by works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus. The last clause of verse 16 makes the denial crystal clear. He said "since by works of the Law no flesh will be justified". Faithfulness of Christ or Faith in Christ? But are we justified by Christ's faithfulness or our faith in Christ? The word "faith" appears twice in verse 16 as the head noun of the genitives Jesus and Christ, and once in verse 20 as the head noun of the genitive phrase Son of God. Scholars are divided on whether to treat the genitives "Jesus", "Christ", and "Son of God" as subjective or objective. Meaning is it Christ's(subjective genitive) faithfulness or our faith in Christ(objective genitive)? To answer this question, we must ask first what's being contrasted with the word faith? In verse 16 it is contrasted with works of the law in both instances. Now we can also see the verb form of the word faith here and it is being modified by the prepositional phrase "in Christ Jesus", which is the same as saying that the object of the act of believing is Christ. It says "we have come to believe in Christ Jesus." Not only that, it is somewhat contrasted to the works of the law too because the reason he gave for believing in Christ was that by works of the law no one will be justified. Therefore it is not a stretch to say that the genitives are objective. Verse 16 talks about our faith in Christ Jesus. In verse 20, the grammatical construction literally is "in/by faith I live of the Son of God". If Paul wanted to refer to the faithfulness of Christ he would have use a different word order. He would have stated "I live by faith of the Son of God." So what's in view here really is our faith in what Christ did on the cross as we will see in the following participles; "who loved me and gave himself for me." Therefore both instance talks about our faith in Christ Jesus. Christ a servant of Sin?(verse 17-18) Now Paul anticipates an objection from the Judaizers in verse 17. He says "But if while seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have also been found to be sinners, is Christ then one who encourages sin?" Then Paul's reponse was "Absolutely not!" But what is the meaning of "seeking to be justified" and "found to be sinners"? There are two possible interpretations as to what they mean. First, it could be interpreted as a reflection of what happened in their conversion, namely that at that moment, Paul, Peter and the other Jewish Christians found themselves to be sinners—that is, they understood that they were truly as sinful as the Gentiles, and in need of Christ alone for justification. Second, it could be that what's in view here is a post-conversion situation where they are seeking to be justified in the sense of being proven righteous in Chirst but it would still be apart from works of the law, they therefore “find themselves” to be in the same category as the Gentiles(verse 15): “sinners” who do not live by God’s law. I'm leaning towards option two because of how Paul defended his strong negative response in verse 17 where he denies the conclusion that Christ promotes sin and not obedience to God. That is, instead of asserting in verse 18 the necessity of works of the law in order to show that Christ doesn't condone sin, he did just the opposite of it. He asserts that by erecting the law, we prove ourselves to be transgressors. Paul says "because if I rebuild those things I once destroyed(referring to the law), then I prove myself to be a transgressor." Notice the words "rebuild" and "once destroyed". Unbelievers cannot rebuild what they yet to destroy. The word for destroy here means to do away with. Therefore it is clear from these words that Paul is talking about a post-conversion situation in verse 17. But, how does verse 18 gives support to verse 17? Why is rebuilding the law a transgression? And why can't we infer from the abandonment of the works of the law in this side of conversion that Christ would become one who encourages sin? Or to be more precise; how can we maintain the grace of God without making Christ looks like a promoter of sin? Sandwiched between verse 18 and verse 21 is the answer. Verses 19-20 supports both the preceding verse and what follows. Dead to the Law, Living to God(verses 19-20) First, if I build up again the law, I prove myself to be a transgressor because through the law I died to the law. Death frees us from the law(ie. 1 Corinthians 7:39). So if we try to use the law as the norm for how to conduct our lives, we prove ourselves to be sinners because we're condemning ourselves by it. For there is now no more condemnation in Christ according to Romans 8:1-4. Second it will not lead to the conclusion of the Judaizers in verse 17 that Christ would become a servant of sin, because the very purpose of dying to the Law is so that we might live to God. Verse 19 says; "through the law I died to the law in order that I may live to God." Dying to the law is not an end in itself. It's meant to lead us to live to God. Therefore rather than being a means to that end, the law becomes a hindrance to it. According to Douglas Moo: '“I” would be a transgressor if “I” rebuilt the authority of the law because (γάρ, gar) “I” am in a totally new relationship to the law. “I” have experienced a reorientation of values so radical that it can only be compared to death and new life: “I have died to the law,” and “I live for God.” This extraordinary transformation comes through identification with Christ’s own death: “I have been crucified with Christ.”' But when did we through the law died to the law and what does live to God means? Verse 19-20 gives us the answer. Paul says in the last clause of verse 19 that he was crucified with Christ. We died to the law bacause of our union with Christ. Romans 8:2-4 says that God condemned sin in Christ's flesh in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us. Or Galatians 3:13, Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. Romans 7:4 have the same idea therefore in Romans 7:6 Paul can assert that we are freed from the Law. So Douglas Moo asserts that "When Paul therefore claims that he has “died to the law,” he means that he has been released from the binding authority of the law of Moses. How foolish, then, for Peter, or any other Jewish Christian, to “rebuild” that authority again (v. 18)! “The question of transgressing the law does not arise for one who has died in relation to the law”" Then verse 20 gives us the answer as to how we live to God. As a result of being crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me. Therefore the life that I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. In other words, abandoning the law in this side of conversion will not lead to licentiousness because those who died to the law no longer live for themselves. According to John MacArthur; "The life I received by faith I now also live by faith. The Greek verb behind live is in the perfect tense, indicating a past completed action that has continuing results. When a believer trusts in Christ for salvation he spiritually participates with the Lord in His crucifixion and in His victory over sin and death. That is why, the apostle continues, the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God." Again Romans 6 and Romans 7:4 speaks of the same thing; "you also have died to the law through the body of Christ in order that you may belong to another, to Him who has been raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God." Therefore in verse 21 we can still maintain that we do not nullify the grace of God because if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.
Application
There are two ways to dishonor Christ or nullify grace. One is by going back to the law not only for our acceptance with God but also for using it as the norm by which we live our Christian lives. Second, by living as if Christ is not living in us. Many of us fall or might have fallen already on one of the two and sometimes both if we are inconsistent. In the first instance, we thought of being dead to the law as means only to justification but after that, we would use that very same law to regulate our lives. Or to put it in the language of Galatians 3:2-6, "having begun by the Spirit, are we now being perfected by the flesh?" Now let me make this perfectly clear, first, what I meant by works of the law was the observance of the Mosaic law as a unit. I don't just mean the dietary laws. Second, what I meant by works was working apart from the power of the Spirit. I say that because "work" in itself is not wrong, the law in of itself is not evil. After all we are under the law of Christ. But we must obey God not because of the sway of the demands of the law but because of the sway of the Spirit. So no matter what theological persuasion you're in with regards to the law(NCT,CT), the real issue is the means by which we obey God. Do we still rely on our own flesh or are we relying now on the power of the Spirit? The other pitfall is licentiousness. I mentioned already that even though we are no longer under the Mosaic law, we are under the law of Christ. We don't belong to ourselves. We're bought by the blood of Christ and He is now living in us. So don't act as if Christ is not living in you! Christ set us free not only from the law but from sin. That's why there's Galatians 5 and Galatians 6! The lawless think that they glorify the grace of God when they live in a lifestyle of sin, and the legalists think that they glorify the grace of God by strict compliance to the law. No! Both reliance on works of the law and lawlessness will nullify the grace of God. Grace is magnified not only because it brought us freedom but also brought us transformed lives.
Comments
Douglas Quenzer
"I live by the faithfulness of the Son of God" I believe is incorrect; although not wrong theology.   The phrase is translated literally  "in faith I live which in the Son of God."  Or in a more English way, "in faith I live which (is) in the Son of God"  The Greek word for "faith" is the same for "faithfulness" to be sure.  But had Paul wanted to refer to the faithfulness of Christ he would not have this kind of word order.  He would have stated "by faith of the Christ Jesus" without the "life" and the "which" between the two.
Quits Sabio
Thanks brother, I believe you're not the first one to point that out to me..I'll definitely look into that.
Quits Sabio
@Douglas Quenzer, thanks for your input. I updated the page to reflect your input. Thanks
Doug Wondra
I just wanted to say I appreciate you continuing to expound  on the Scriptures the way that you do.  It is very appreciated and helpful for me.
Quits Sabio
I'm glad that I've been helpful to you..Soli Deo Gloria
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.