Tuesday, December 20, 2011

St. Paul on Sinners in the Church: Example of the Galatians

By Dave Armstrong (12-20-11)

St. Paul is our model of behavior (Gal 4:12; Phil 3:17; 4:9; 2 Thess 3:7-9). He, in turn, imitates Christ (1 Cor 11:1; 1 Thess 1:6).

The Apostle Paul on Galatians as Miserable Sinners

Galatians 1:6 (RSV) "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel"

Galatians 3:1-3 "O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? [2] Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? [3] Are you so foolish? Having begun with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh?"

Galatians 4:9b ". . . how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental spirits, whose slaves you want to be once more?"

Galatians 5:4 "You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace."

Galatians 5:7 "You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?"


The Apostle Paul on Galatians as Fellow Christians

Galatians 1:2 "To the churches of Galatia"

Galatians 1:11 "For I would have you know, brethren, . . ."

Galatians 3:25-27 "But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian; [26] for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. [27] For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ."

Galatians 4:4-7 "But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, [5] to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. [6] And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" [7] So through God you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then an heir."

Galatians 4:9a "but now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, . . ."

Galatians 4:12 "Brethren, I beseech you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong"

Galatians 4:19 "My little children, . . ."

Galatians 4:28 "Now we, brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise."

Galatians 4:31 "So, brethren, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman."

Galatians 5:1 "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."

Galatians 6:1 "Brethren, . . ."

Galatians 6:18 "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen."

There are similar dynamics with the Corinthian church as well.

Our Lord Jesus also calls all seven assemblies of Revelation "churches" (2:1; 2:8; 2:12; 2:18; 3:1; 3:7; 3:14; along with the repetition of "what the Spirit says to the churches" in 2:7 and similar passages), yet excoriates several of them in no uncertain terms (2:4-5; 2:14-16; 2:20-22; 3:1-3; 3:15-18).



Ron Van Brenk said...

"St. Paul is our model of behavior" (Galatians)

So why do I see St. Peter as your model of behavior here in Galatians, Dave? As I reference in my latest post- why do I see you referencing all the chapters except Chapter 2?

A chapter that shows your St. Peter compelling the Gentiles to live like Jews. A chapter that shows your St.Peter importing works into the Gospel of Grace. That shows your St. Peter nullifying Grace with the Law.

The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree, does it Dave?

Dave Armstrong said...

As usual, you don't look far enough into what I have actually written. I have several papers about the Peter vs. Paul incident in Galatians. Peter was acting hypocritically. No one denies it.

That is simply another proof of sinners in the Church. In this particular post I was dealing with Paul alone. The original charge that made me do this post came from an anti-Catholic who claimed that I was inconsistent in classifying anti-Catholics as brothers in Christ, while severely criticizing them. Thus, I provided the example of Paul doing precisely the same with the Galatians. Peter had nothing to do with the immediate point.

Here are my papers on that:

Dialogue: Is St. Paul Superior to St. Peter?


Does St. Paul's Rebuke of St. Peter Prove that Peter Was Not a Pope? / Is St. Paul More "Important" Than St. Peter?


Paul was not above hypocrisy, either. He rightly rebuked Peter, but there was no doctrinal disagreement. Peter was simply being a sinful human being again, worried about the opinions of the Jews. But of course Paul did virtually the exact same thing (if not worse) in at least one instance. He had Timothy circumcised after (quite arguably) worrying what men would think, even after preaching that it was no longer necessarily in the slightest degree:

1 Corinthians 7:18 Was any one at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was any one at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision.

Galatians 6:12-13 It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that would compel you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. [13] For even those who receive circumcision do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may glory in your flesh.

Acts 16:3 Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him; and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews that were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.

So both Paul and Peter were at times overly concerned with the opinion of the Jews or Judaizers. No big dif there . . .