Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Galatians 4:8-20 Notes

Having laid out his sweeping argument based on God’s plan of salvation in history, Paul now turns to a more personal, emotional appeal.

8 Formerly, when you did not know God, 
See Eph. 2:12. God was in covenant relationship with Israel but not the other nations, and in fact they had degenerated into pagan idolatry and were not in covenant relationship with God.
you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods.
“Those that by nature are not gods” is Paul’s way of describing idol worship (see 1 Cor. 8:4-6). However, while Paul did not believe the pagan gods were real gods, he did believe there were real powers at work in idolatry – demons (1 Cor. 10:19-20).

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Galatians 4:1-7 Notes

Having said that we are “heirs according to promise,” Paul now makes an argument on the status of sons before and after they receive their inheritance.

James Dunn points out in his commentary that this section restates many of the same points in 3:23-29:

Galatians 3:22-29

Let’s review Paul’s argument so far:

In the first two chapters Paul distanced himself from the Judaizers in Jerusalem while at the same time showing that his understanding of the gospel came directly from God and was in agreement with the teaching (though sometimes not the practice) of the other apostles (Gal. 1-2).
In chapters 3-4 Paul sets forth several doctrinal arguments to refute the contentions of the Judaizers:
-The experience of the Galatians was that they received salvation and the Spirit by faith in Christ, not through the Law (3:1-5).
-The Scriptures taught that Abraham was justified by faith, long before he was circumcised (3:6-9).
-In fact, Israel has historically failed to keep the Law, receiving the curse that Jesus had to die to remove (3:10-14).
-The Law came 430 years after the promise to Abraham, and does not change the fundamental nature of God’s promise to make of Abraham one family (“offspring”), not multiple families (“offsprings”), a family identified by being in Christ not by keeping the Law (3:15-20).
-The Law had an important purpose, to define sin and lead Israel to Jesus (3:21-22).

The argument in 3:23-4:7 hinges on sonship. Notice the following contrasts:
-The contrast between being a slave and son.
-The contrast in pronouns: “we” (Jews) and “you” (Gentiles).
-The contrasts in past and present tenses.

Galatians 3:15-22

While working through the middle chapters of Galatians, it is important to keep in mind that Paul is speaking in terms of God’s covenant purposes. This means:
-The issue here is not so much “how can I be saved?” but “what are God’s covenant plans for Israel and the Gentiles in Christ?”
-And of course the basis for any discussion of God’s covenant promises is the promise to Abraham (Gen. 12:1-13).

While Paul was dealing with a specific challenge here in Galatians, there are many similarities between Gal. 3-4 and Rom. 4.
-Both emphasize the fundamental basis of the promise to Abraham in terms of faith.
-Both argue that Abraham is the father of both Jews and Gentiles.

This section hinges on the timing and scope of God’s promise to Abraham.