Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Galatians Chapter 3 comments; Sermons 4 and 5

This post will cover some of the controversial parts of chapter 3 that were not covered in detail by Christy and Amanda (last post). My notes on last Sunday’s sermon from David Ward will wait until the next post. In the following I quote at length from Thomas Lancaster book. Any comments I have are in italics.
The Pedagogue (Galatians 3:19-26) pp. 175 - 186 (Selected portions)
“The majority of traditional church thought holds that the Torah remained in effect only until the coming of Messiah and was cancelled at his death. For Messianic believers, this is troubling because it seems to contradict the words of our Master, who says that we are not to think that he came to abolish the Torah. Moreover, it contradicts numerous passages of Scripture which speak of the Torah as eternal and enduring, and it seems to suggest a contradiction in the character of God himself.”
“From where did this concept arise? Yeshua did not teach it. I believe that one place from which it arose is Galatians 3:19...”
Thomas offers this paraphrase to clarify the matter:
“If salvation comes by being Jewish (under the law), then it is no longer a promise that all nations will be blessed in Abraham. But the promise that God made to Abraham was for all nations. If so, what was the purpose of the Torah? He added the Torah to the promise to define sin. He delivered it by angels through the hand of Moses, the intermediary, until the Messiah comes, the promised seed through whom God promised to bless all nations. And Moses, as the intermediary, delivered it from the one God to Israel.”
Here are three common translations of Galatians 3:22-23: Note the negative slant that it gives on the Torah:
NKJV: But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
NIV: But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed.
ESV: But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed.
Here is Thomas Lancaster’s take on verses 3:22 and 23:
Galatians 3:22: “The Torah has included everyone under sin.” (i.e., both Jews and Gentiles)
Galatians 3:23 is an unfortunate translation in almost every Bible. To better understand the meaning we need to know what a Pedagogue (paidagogos in Greek) does.
“A Pedagogue was responsible for overseeing a child’s conduct and moral behavior, particularly as the child became a teen and young adult. He ensured that the child was safe, stayed out of trouble, attended to his responsibilities, and did not fall in with the wrong crowd. The paidagogos taught the child social skills and manners. Moreover, the paidagogos was responsible for coordinating and overseeing the child’s education by arranging tutors, lesson schedules, and courses of study. The paidagogos’ job was to conduct the boy or youth to and from school and to superintend his conduct... he was not a teacher. In that regard, he served as a type of a bodyguard, high school principal, and school guidance counselor all rolled into one, with the responsibility of ensuring the student’s safety and good behavior on the way to school and back.”
With this background, here is how Thomas translates Galatians 3:23-24, in [brackets].
“Now before faith came, we [the Jewish people] were [protected] under the Torah, [kept inside for] the coming faith [that] would be revealed. So then, the [Torah] was our guardian until the Messiah came, in order that we might be justified [i.e., exonerated] by faith.”
“The Torah did this by creating moral boundaries which kept Israel inside the parameters of ethical monotheism until the fulness of faith in Messiah was revealed. The revelation of Torah was the only place from which the people of Israel could draw hope for salvation, relationship with God, and the expectation of eternal life.”
“But the paidagogos is not the teacher; neither is the Torah the means to earn salvation. When Paul said, “We are no longer under a guardian,” he did not mean that the Torah is done or cancelled. He meant that we should not look to Torah or legal conversion to Judaism as a means of earning salvation. Salvation is (and always will be) through the grace of God in Yeshua the Messiah for Jews and Gentiles both.”
“The Gentile believers to whom Paul was writing had already been led to the Teacher of Righteousness. They were already sons through faith; they had already come to the teacher. In previous generations, prior to the revelation of Yeshua, there were valid reasons for Gentiles to become Jewish and thus under the law. Doing so brought them and their children inside, protected, and preserved by the Torah along with the rest of the Jewish people until the coming faith would be revealed. Now that it has been revealed, conversion “under the law” no longer serves that purpose. The Messiah is already revealed.”
“A Brief Recapitulation of a Difficult Passage
1. God made promises to Abraham, saying the all nations would be blessed in his seed.
2. The Torah was added to define and condemn sin.
3. God gave the Torah to Israel through the hands of intermediaries, but is still the essential revelation of the one God, for God is One.
4. The Torah does not contradict the promises that God made to Abraham.
5. The Written Torah includes both Jews and Gentiles in its condemnation of sin; so that the universal Abrahamic promise can be fulfilled only through the faithfulness of the Messiah.
6. Before the revelation of Messiah, the Torah preserved both the Jewish people and the Gentiles who joined them by conversion.
7. After a person becomes a believer, the Torah no longer performs that specific role of escorting him to Messiah.”

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