Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Galatians and Righteousness (3) Pride

I presume that a desire to be justified before God is driven by human pride. Paul suggests in Galatians 2:17 that seeking to be declared righteous is sinful, even if it is by the Messiah.

If, in seeking to be justified in Christ,
we find ourselves also among the sinners,
doesn’t that mean that Christ promotes sin?
Absolutely not!
This verse is odd, because if we are justified by faith, then we are no longer counted as sinners. I suspect that Paul might be suggesting that it is sinful to worry about being justified. If we are forgiven then we do not need to be concerned about being justified to God.

Paul then asks if our seeking to be justified by Jesus makes him an agent of sin. The answer is an emphatic “No!”. Paul goes on to suggest that if he builds up his own justification, which he tore down to follow Jesus, he proves that he is a transgressor (Gal 2:18). If I am worried about my justification, the problem is mine, not Jesus’.

Paul declared that he had been crucified with Jesus. He no longer lives, but Jesus lives in him (Gal 2:20). Paul’s life does not count, so his justification does not matter. The only thing that matters is Jesus the Messiah, and being united with him.

Paul explained to the Corinthians that he is not interested in his own justification.

For I am not conscious of anything against myself, but I am not justified by this. It is the Lord who judges me (1 Cor 4:4).
Paul explained to the Romans that the Gentiles were not seeking righteousness, but they gained it freely. In contrast, the Jews pursued righteousness, but they failed to achieve it. Pursuing righteousness is pointless (Rom 9:30-31).

No comments: