In his letter to the churches of Galatia Paul’s first proposition (1:11-12) is that the gospel he preached was (1) not something man made up, (2) not something he received from man, (3) not something he was taught, but, rather (4) was something that he received through direct revelation from Jesus Christ. His arguments supporting that proposition (I find ten) are found in Galatians 1:13 – 2:14.

     In Galatians 2:15-21 we come to The Grand Proposition of Paul’s letter to the disciples in Galatia. This two-fold proposition will be unpacked (supported, explained, proved) for the remainder of the letter. It is, quite frankly, an astounding proposition. Here is my summary of its two parts stated first in the negative:

  • Compliance with the requirements of a code of rules, deeds and observances is not the SOURCE of justification (i.e., to be made righteous) for any human being, 2:15-16.
  • Compliance with the requirements of a code of rules, deeds and observances is not the STANDARD by which a justified human being (i.e., one who has been made righteous) lives out life upon the earth, 2:17-21.

Then, stated in the positive: 

  • A human being is justified (i.e., made righteous, given God’s righteousness) by faith in Jesus Christ and him crucified. Faith is the SOURCE of justification, 2:15-16.
  • A justified human being (i.e., one who has been made righteous) lives out life by faith in the fact that Jesus Christ and him crucified has brought about that person’s justification. Faith is the STANDARD by which a justified person lives, 2:17-21. 

     As I preach and teach the Gospel of Peace, it is my prayer that each one of us comes to a peaceful understanding of the profound and significant meaning of this proposition. My prayer is that we grow to embrace it freely and that we begin to live out its radical implications for our lives. May this occur in each of us individually and in all of us collectively as the community of faith and the body of Christ on the earth. AMEN.

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