Paul’s Defense and Argument.Posted: July 18, 2012
Some *more* continuing thoughts from Paul S.
In Galatians 1:11-3:15 St. Paul defends the view that God justifies us on the basis of faith in Jesus Christ alone. He makes three arguments.
The first is an argument from testimony, and its to be found in Galatians 1:11-2:14. In brief, his argument is something like this:
(1) The disciples–who later became apostles–were educated by Jesus, so they’re in a position to know what the gospel is and how one is justified. (Gal 1:18-2:16)(2) Jesus also taught this gospel to Paul, by means of revelation. So Paul is also in a position to knowwhat the gospel is and how one is justified. (Gal 1:11-12)(3) Both Paul and the Apostles agree that justification is by faith in Jesus alone. (Gal 1:11-2:16)(4) Those who disagree with Paul and the Apostles about this are not even nearly in as good a position to know what the gospel is and how one is justified because Jesus has not directly communicated the gospel to them.
(5) So, it’s unreasonable for the Galatians to believe anyone else other than Paul and the Apostles on this matter of justification.
Paul’s second argument is to be found in Galatians 3:1-6. Here Paul appears to make the following argument:
(1) When I [Paul] preached the gospel to you [Galatians], you trusted in Jesus. Upon trusting in Jesus, you were justified by God.(2) You have evidence to think that you were justified upon believing because of (i) thepresence of the Spirit in your lives and (ii) the miracles God was performing among you. Neither would have occurred had you not been justified. (cf. John 5:36; Heb 2:4; Eph 1:13;John 7:36-39; Acts 2:37-39)(3) Thus, because your justification was prior to any works, your justification does not depend on works.
Paul’s final argument may be found in Galatians 3:6-18, the main point of which seem to be this:
(1) Was Abraham was justified by faith in God a few hundred years before the law was given to Moses.(2) So, clearly, justification can come by faith in God and apart from keeping the Law, even if justification could also come by law-keeping(3) But justification cannot come by law-keeping, at least not for us, because we’ve not kept the whole of the law.(4) So there is only one way for us to be justified, and it is through faith in Jesus.