Justification By Faith in Christ Apart From Works of the Law Galatians 2:16

Introduction

Historically the nature and truthfulness of justification by faith alone has been viewed as an essential element of the Christian faith. The apostle Paul clearly states, “Now I remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the words I preached to you—unless you believed in vain” (1Cor. 15:1–2). No book of the Bible, except maybe Romans, communicates better the necessity to have a clear understanding of the gospel better than Galatians. Thomas R. Schreiner reminds us that, “Paul is engaged in a battle for the gospel in this letter [Galatians], and his words still speak to us today. . . . Paul unpacks the heart of the gospel. One can see the meaning and the centrality of justification by faith, which Luther rightly argued was the article by which the church stands or falls.”[i] With this caveat in place, the following paper is going to argue that Galatians 2:16 teaches that justification is by faith in Christ alone apart from works of the law. This thesis will be established by discussing: (1) The historical context of Galatians; (2) The literary unit and structural context of Galatians 2:15–21; (3) The nature of the gospel taught in verse 16; in particular, (A) The concept of faith in Christ; (B) The nature and function of “works of the law”; and (4) Practical application and conclusion.

 

Historical Context of Galatians

In their book, The Cradle, The Cross, and The Crown, authors Andreas Kostenberger, L. Scott Kellum, and Charles Quarles (from here on, KKQ), discuss the variety of scholarly opinions regarding the letter to the Galatians. KKQ argue that the book of Galatians was written by Paul around the time of AD 48 or 49. They also affirm a southern Galatian theory of composition maintaining the letter was written prior to the Jerusalem Council.[ii] Due to the fact it is not the purpose of this paper to provide substantiating details to evidentially secure each of these contextual claim, the view of KKQ will be assumed for the sake of argument. In addition, the chart provided below by KKQ offers the presuppositions governing the historical context used for this paper.[iii]

Event Likely Date NT Passage
1. Famine relief visit to Jerusalem 47 Acts 11:30 = Gal 2:1–10
2. First missionary journey 47–48 Acts 13:4–14:28
3. Paul wrote Galatians 48/49 Galatians
4. Jerusalem Council 49 Acts 15:1-20

Moises Silva cautions his readers to not downplay the significance the timeline of events surrounding the composition of Galatians has for the theology of Paul’s epistle. Silva notes, “The dating of Galatians relative to the Jerusalem Council is not a trivial question. Something important is to be gained if one decides that the epistle deals not simply with the specific question settled at the council but with a variation on it.”[iv] In addition, he warns his readers that commentators ought not overplay the significance of the dating of events because, “. . . the force of the apostle’s argument is sufficiently clear to compensate for our relative ignorance of other factors.”[v] For the purposes of this research, however, the outline offered by KKQ will be used and this paper will presuppose that Paul’s challenge of Peter and the Judaizers predates the Jerusalem Council.[vi]

Excurses: Exegetical and Interpretative History

Commentators must also recognize that aside from the historical context of Galatians, one’s interpretation of any biblical book is also affected by the interpretive history of the book. Regardless of whether they like it or not, contemporary readers are the recipients of exegetical debates from previous centuries. Consequently, for the purposes of this paper, it is important to mention briefly the exegetical and interpretative context as well. Timothy George in his commentary on Galatians provides a brief overview of the interpretive history of Galatians. Two important debates from his list are especially important to any study of Galatians 2:15–21: (1) The Reformer’s and the Roman Catholic Church; and (2) Advocates of the New Perspective on Paul.[vii]

While each position will be fleshed out in greater detail later; however, for the sake of brevity, it ought to be noted that Roman Catholics criticize Luther and Calvin for reading wrongly “works of the law” upon the magisterial declarations of the Catholic Church. They claim “works of the Law” do not apply to the Catholic Church’s notion of faith plus works.[viii] In addition, advocates of the New Perspective on Paul claim: (1) Present-day evangelicals have wrongly read the debates between the Reformers and the Roman Catholics back upon the books of Romans and Galatians; and (2) The Reformers misunderstood Paul and his message of justification; consequently, there needs to be a new understanding of Paul’s writings in lieu of new discoveries in Second-Temple Judaism; and (3) The Reformers insufficient exegesis caused them to misunderstand the notion of justification by faith in Christ and apart from “works of the law.”[ix]

 

The Literary Unit and Its Structure

 When determining the literary unit and structure of Galatians 2:15–21, Schreiner claims, “The first question to be asked is where Paul’s words to Peter, which began in 2:11, end.”[x] The point Schreiner is trying to make is that since the original text lacked quotation marks, it is difficult to know if the previous verses actually end in 2:14, 2:15, 2:16, 2:18, or 2:21.[xi] In other words, Schreiner and others are trying to determine if and/or how much of 2:15–21 ought to be considered a continuation of Paul’s analysis of his rebuke of Peter. John Calvin believes the rebuke continues to 2:16; whereas, Hans Betz believes the new section consists of 2:14.[xii] Schreiner on the other hand, believes it makes most sense to view 2:14–21 as an address to Peter, for the following reasons:

[First], verse 15 is not clearly set off from 2:11–14. [Second], the first person plural pronouns in 2:15–17 most naturally refer to Jewish Christians and would speak to such people in Antioch. [Third], verse 17 may reflect the charges against Peter. [Fourth], a new subject commences in 3:1, where the Galatians are addressed directly. As Matera notes, the lack of a reply from Peter also plays a rhetorical role, showing he has no answer to Paul’s gospel.[xiii]

In other words, Schreiner agrees with Betz that in this section, “Paul addresses Cephas formally, and the Galatians materially.”[xiv] Douglas Moo on the other hand, does not want us to make such a dogmatic claim in defense of a particular outline.[xv] However, Moo does agree with Schreiner and Betz, and goes so far as to agree with I. Scott, quoting him favorably, claiming, “Paul wants ‘to lay the situation in Antioch alongside the situation in Galatia, to see the crises as parallel and the true solution as the same in both cases.’”[xvi] In summary then, regardless of the academic debate over the actual transitional verse, general evangelical scholarship provides enough evidence to warrant the conclusion that the literary structure of Galatians 2:15–21 ought to be viewed as either a continuation of Paul’s rebuke, or at least a parallel situation strongly mirroring Paul’s rebuke of Peter.

The Nature of the Gospel

 Since space does not permit a detailed exegesis of the whole section of 2:15–21, and because most of this debate in this section centers around the concepts of justification by faith in Christ and apart from works of the law, this portion is going to defend the thesis of my paper (e.g., that Galatians 2:16 teaches that justification is by faith in Christ alone apart from works of the law), by focusing upon the fact that individuals are justified: (1) Apart from works of the law; and (2) By faith in Christ alone. It ought also be clear this section is going to defend the classic Reformed position over and against the Roman Catholic view and the New Perspective on Paul. It will do this by quoting (a) The Passage Under Consideration; and discussing: (b) Individuals Under Consideration; (c) The Nature of Justification; (d) Faith in Christ; and (e) Works of the Law.

Passage Under Consideration

Galatians 2:16 (ESV)

Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

Galatians 2:16

εἰδότες [δὲ] ὅτι οὐ δικαιοῦται ἄνθρωπος ἐξ ἔργων νόμου ἐὰν μὴ διὰ πίστεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, καὶ ἡμεῖς εἰς Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν ἐπιστεύσαμεν, ἵνα δικαιωθῶμεν ἐκ πίστεως Χριστοῦ καὶ οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων νόμου, ὅτι ἐξ ἔργων νόμου οὐ δικαιωθήσεται πᾶσα σάρξ.

Individuals Under Consideration

 Paul starts out by clearly arguing that no human being or (ἄνθρωπος) is justified by “works of the law” (ἐξ ἔργων νόμου). In keeping with the immediate context of the passage, the referent “no human being,” ought to be understood as referring to both Jews and Gentiles. Schreiner elaborates upon the total context of this verse, claiming, “Such a statement clearly does not reflect the standard Jewish point of view (cf. 1:13–16!), for not all Jews agreed that people were justified by faith in Jesus Christ.”[xvii] He goes on to claim, “The conjunction ‘but’ (δε), though disputed textually, is probably original, and it should be interpreted as signifying an adversative relation between [vs.] 15 and 16.”[xviii] Schreiner’s point is that Paul is appealing to the “common ground” between him and Peter.[xix] In other words, Schreiner rightly notes that the old covenant is “insufficient” and that righteousness for all kinds of people (e.g., both Jew and Gentile) does not come by “works of the law” but through faith in Christ Jesus.[xx]

The Nature of Justification

 The second thing that ought to be noticed in this passage is Paul’s use of the word justified (δικαιοῦται). Paul uses the term “justification” throughout Galatians (cf. 2:17; 3:8, 11, 24; 5:4) and his other literature (Rom. 2:13; 3:4, 20, 23). There is one problem with these references though, at least to the average English speaking individual who is attempting to interpret his Bible. Namely, it is the problem of the English language and the fact that the way it uses the word “justify” or “justification” does not match the Bible’s use of the term. James White notes that for most English speaking individuals they naturally believe, “. . . that ‘righteousness’ has a moral character about it. For us, to be righteous is often defined as a state in which one lives.”[xxi] In addition, he states, “. . . in common opinion ‘justification’ speaks of something legal in character. Justification, it is often said, is something done for us, while righteousness is something done in us. Righteousness is moral, justification is legal. Or so the English usage commonly goes.”[xxii] However, White rightly notes these ideas do not correspond to the correct biblical meaning of the terms. Therefore he writes,

The fact of the matter is, there are not two different terms used in the Bible (the New Testament, primarily) that are translated as ‘righteousness’ and ‘justification.’ There is only one term or, perhaps better, one family of terms, dikaios (the adjective), dikaiosune (the noun), and dikaioō (the verb). It is the translator’s decision whether to render dikaiosune as ‘righteousness’ or as ‘justification.’ Normally, the choice is made upon the basis of context—it would be rather awkward to use one or the other terms in certain situations. For example, it is easier to say, “Therefore, having been justified . . .” than it is to say, “Therefore, having been made righteous . . .” Similarly, it flows better to speak of receiving righteousness than it does receiving justification.[xxiii]

White does not want to downplay the fact that at times the terms do speak of moral or ethical qualities. But Protestants do not want to insist upon the idea that “righteousness” and “justification” always, in every lexical and textual instance, refer to the divine act whereby God legally declares the sinner to be righteous.[xxiv] However, there are clear instances in the Old Testament in which the Hebrew equivalent of the term “justify” (צָדַק), is used in a legal or forensic sense. Moo notes, “Paul’s use of this verb [sdq] [in Gal. 2:17; 3:8; 11, 24; 5:4] reflects the use of the Hebrew verb in the OT, which, in its Hiphil form, refers to a forensic, or judicial, declaration that a person is ‘just.’ There is very good reason to think that Paul consistently uses the verb in this sense.”[xxv] Schreiner agrees with Moo and White, and he goes on to list the following examples of Judges declaring the righteousness innocent and condemning the wicked (Deut 25:1; cf. 2 Sam 15:4; 1 Kings 8:31–32; 2 Chr 6:23; Prov 17:15; Isa 5:23).[xxvi] Schreiner concludes by noting that, “Judges do not ‘make’ anyone righteous. They pronounce on what is in fact the case—if they are righteous judges. In other words, the verbal form belongs in the forensic realm, and Paul does not use the verbal form to denote a righteousness that transforms us or ‘makes us’ righteous.”[xxvii] Therefore, up to this point in the argument, it can be assumed Paul is arguing that a person is not “declared righteous” by “works of the law.”[xxviii]

Faith in Christ

 A third issue in this passage worth considering is the notion that one is justified “through faith in Jesus Christ.” Commentators do not agree over the proper translation and interpretation of the phrase, “πίστεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.” There are two main interpretations, one advocated by traditional Reformed theologians who argue it should be translated “faith in Jesus Christ.” The other advocated by adherents of the New Perspective of Paul, who argue the phrase should be translated “faithfulness of Jesus Christ.”[xxix] The former translates the phrase as an objective genitive, whereas the latter translates it as a subjective genitive. In order to understand this distinction, David Alan Black defines the two uses of the genitive in the following manner, claiming: “Subjective Genitive. Linked with an “action noun,” the genitive indicates the subject or producer of that action. The action noun is what distinguishes this genitive from the possessive genitive. Objective Genitive. Connected with an “action noun,” the genitive indicates the object or recipient of that action.”[xxx] To illustrate the difference, Daniel Wallace provides his readers a syntactic and semantic diagram.[xxxi] Wallace claims the subjective genitive argues that “God loves X.” But the objective genitive would argue that “X loves God.”[xxxii] In short, George summarizes the syntactical debate claiming that according to the traditional view, Jesus Christ is the object of the action; whereas, according the New Perspective, Jesus Christ is the subject or producer of the action.[xxxiii]

While there are good reasons to translate some of Paul’s passages using the subjective genitive construction, and while a variety of scholars believe there are good reasons to use the subjective genitive in 2:16; Schreiner believes it is still permissible to translate this passage as an objective genitive (e.g., faith in Jesus Christ). He offers the following seven reasons:[xxxiv]

  1. The genitive object with “faith” is clear in some instances (Mark 11:22; Jas 2:1).
  2. A genitive object with other verbal nouns shows that an objective genitive with the verbal noun “faith” is normal grammatically: e.g., “knowledge of Jesus Christ” τῆς γνώσεως Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ, Phil. 3:8). Therefore those who claim that the genitive must be subjective fail to convince.
  3. The texts that use the verb “believe” in a verbal construction and the noun “faith” with the genitive are not superfluous but emphatic, stressing the importance of faith to be right with God. Readers hearing the letter would hear the emphasis on faith in Christ, and thus this interpretation is to be preferred as the simpler of the two options.
  4. Paul often contrasts works and human faith in his theology. Therefore, seeing a polarity between works of law and faith in Christ—both human activities—fits with what Paul does elsewhere.
  5. Nowhere does Paul in speaking of Jesus Christ use the word “faith” (πίστις) to describe his “obedience.”
  6. The salvation-historical argument fails to persuade well. Certainly, Gal 3:23, 25 refer to the coming of faith at a certain time in redemptive history. But such an observation hardly excludes faith in Christ, for faith in Christ becomes a reality when he arrives and fulfills God’s saving promises. We should not pit redemptive history against anthropology.
  7. Nor is the emphasis on faith in Christ somehow Pelagian, as if it somehow detracts from God’s work in salvation A human response of faith does not undercut the truth that God saves, particularly if God grants faith to his own (Eph 2:8–9).

One final argument in favor of translating 2:16 in favor of an objective genitive, comes from KKQ, who claim:[xxxv] “However, this statement ‘we have believed in Christ Jesus’ (2:16); the references to “hearing with faith’ (3:2,5); the example of Abraham’s faith (3:6–9); and the reference to Christ as the object of faith (3:26) all support the traditional interpretation.”[xxxvi] In short, since other passages in Galatians recognize that Christ is the object of faith, the entire literary construction of the book and flow of Paul’s argument favors interpreting 2:16 as an objective genitive (e.g., faith in Christ).[xxxvii]

Works of the Law

The fourth and final issue in this passage investigates Paul’s use of the term “works of the law” (ἔργων νόμου). Unsurprising, commentators also differ over what Paul is trying to communicate by this phrase. Some believe the apostle is strictly referring to the Old Testament Torah or the law of Moses.[xxxviii] Moo believes, “The Reformers may have moved too quickly from this phrase to general theological conclusions about ‘works.’”[xxxix] Schreiner claims there are three broad understandings of the phrase. The first refers to a legalistic understanding, where the term “works of the law” suggests deeds done to merit God’s favor.[xl] The second view claims that “works of the law” refers to boundary markers.[xli] This is the view affirmed by E. P. Sanders and N. T. Wright. Schreiner notes that according to Sanders, “The common pattern in Jewish religion . . . was covenantal nomism, in which God’s people become members of the covenant by God’s grace, and they maintained their place in the covenant by obedience.”[xlii] Schreiner’s third view suggests that “works of the law” refers to the works prescribed by the Mosaic law.[xliii] This is the traditional view and classical interpretation of the phrase, which argues that Paul is referring to the whole or totality of the Mosaic law, not just segments or notions of it. This third view is maintained by individuals such as the Protestant Reformers, classic evangelicalism, and commentators such as Douglas Moo, Thomas Schreiner, and John Piper.[xliv] There is a final view not mentioned, affirmed by Roman Catholics, which according to John Calvin claims, “The Papists, misled by Origin and Jerome, are of the opinion, and lay it down as certain, that the dispute relates to shadows; and accordingly assert, that by ‘works of the law’ are meant ceremonies.”[xlv]

While each position deserves meaningful interaction, space will only permit a positive defense of the view that claims “works of the law” refers to the Mosaic law. This view seems best for the following reasons. First, the notion of law in the Scriptures can be understood in a tripartite fashion: (1) Judicial; (2) Moral; and (3) Ceremonial. That being said, there seems to be no warrant to claim Paul is referring to one of these notions, apart from the other notions (e.g., like the Roman Catholics who believe Paul is merely referring to the ceremonial notion of the law). Paul also uses the phrase “works of the law” in Galatians 3:10. There Paul quotes from the book of Deuteronomy where it claims, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all the things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” The use of the term “all the things written in the Book of the Law,” is Paul’s way of referring to the totality of the law, not just segments or aspects of the law.[xlvi]

Second, the claim that Paul is referring to one aspect of the law in 2:16 and the totality of the law in 3:10, lacks justification because there are no exegetical or linguistic reasons to suggest Paul uses the term “law” in two different senses. Therefore, consistency demands that Paul uses the terms univocally; hence, “law” in both instances refers to the whole law. In addition, Paul uses the term “law” again in 5:3, where he warns the Galatians they are to keep the “whole law.” Therefore, consistency again demands that Paul uses the terms univocally; hence, in all three instances it refers to the whole of the law.[xlvii] Third, Schreiner offers compelling reasons with Paul’s other letters to warrant that he is referring to the whole law. Schreiner writes:

We should also bring in Rom 3:20 at this point, where Paul affirms that ‘no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law.’ Here Paul summarizes the arguments of Rom 1:18–3:20 as a whole and emphasizes that all deserve judgment since all have sinned and violated God’s law (cf. 3:23). It is hardly credibly to claim that the Jews were condemned for their bad attitude of excluding Gentiles. They were liable to judgment because they had not kept the entirety of God’s law.[xlviii]

Schreiner recognizes that Paul’s other letters warrant understanding the term “law” as a unit, not a segment. John Calvin recognizes the weakness of segmented approaches, in particular, he employs a reductio ad absurdum form of argumentation against the Roman Catholic claim that this passage merely refers to the ceremonial aspects of the law. Calvin writes, “But the context clearly proves that the moral law is also comprehended in these words; for almost everything which Paul afterwards advances belongs more properly to the moral than to the ceremonial law. . . .”[xlix] Calvin goes on to note that Roman Catholics appeal to Paul’s criticisms against the keeping of ceremonies (Gal. 4:10–11) to justify their claim that Paul is merely referring to the ceremonial law.[l] While it might be true that Paul refers to ceremonies in certain passages, it ought to be recognized that he refers to the totality of the law elsewhere (2:16; 3:10; 5:3). For that reason, after someone consults the larger corpus of Paul’s use of the term “law” in Galatians and his use of it in Romans, one cannot conclude he is merely referring to the ceremonial law. Therefore, it ought to be determined that the broad context of Paul’s use of “law” overturns the Roman Catholic objection.

 

Conclusion

Although this study has not dealt with every exegetical issue presented in Galatians 2:16, it may serve to shed light upon the doctrine of justification taught by the apostle Paul. The thesis of this paper argues that: Galatians 2:16 teaches that justification is by faith in Christ alone apart from works of the law. This thesis was defended by maintaining Paul wrote his epistle prior to the Jerusalem Council; hence, it interpreted the debates over the function of the law without consulting the conclusions from the Council in AD 49. Second, it placed the passage in its historical and interpretive context to properly bring in the historical exegetical debates concerning the book of Galatians and the doctrine of justification. Third, the paper presented the literary context of the book arguing that 2:15–21, and 2:16 in particular ought to be understood as a continuation of Paul’s rebuke against Peter and a parallel to the apostolic confrontation. Fourth, this paper argued that justification must be understood in a legal and forensic sense, for that is the proper Old and New Testaments use of the term (e.g., hence, justification is a legal declaration alone). Fifth, this paper argued that it is best to understand the notion of “faith in Christ” in the traditional sense as an objective genitive (e.g., justification is by faith in Christ). Finally, this paper argued that “works of the law” must be understood as referring to the whole law, not just segments or notions of the law (e.g., “works of the law” refer to any human effort of righteousness, whether they be judicial, moral, or ceremonial).

 

[i]Thomas R. Schreiner, Galatians Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010), 21.

[ii]Andreas J. Kostenberger, L. Scott Kellum, and Charles L. Quarles, The Cradle, The Cross, and The Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament (Nashville: B&H, 2009), 407–429.

[iii]Ibid., 418.

[iv]Moses Silva, Interpreting Galatians: Explorations in Exegetical Method, 2nd ed (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001), 138–139.

[v]Ibid., 139.

[vi]This will bear exegetical consequences for this paper. Namely, when interpreting Galatians 2, it will attempt to understand the debate occurring prior to the Jerusalem Council. Consequently, one cannot read the events and theological declarations from the Council back upon the text of Galatians.

[vii]Timothy George, Galatians (Nashville: B&H, 1994), 66–73.

[viii]Alistair McGrath, Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998); James R. White, The God Who Justifies: A Comprehensive Study: The Doctrine of Justification (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2001), 181–203.

[ix]N. T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God: Christian Origins and the Question of God, vol. 1. (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1996); What Saint Paul Really Said: Was Paul of Tarsus the Real Founder of Christianity? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997); John Piper, The Future of Justification: A Response to N.T. Wright (Wheaton: Crossway, 2007); Guy Prentiss Waters, Justification and the New Perspective on Paul: A Review and Response (Phillipsburg: R&R, 2004).

[x]Schreiner, Galatians, 150.

[xi]Ibid.

[xii]Ibid. See also: Hans D. Betz, Galatians: A Commentary on Paul’s Letter to the Churches in Galatia (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979), 139–140; John Calvin, Galatians (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1999), 70.

[xiii]Schreiner, Galatians, 150.

[xiv]Ibid. See also: Betz, Galatians, 114.

[xv]Douglas Moo, Galatians: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2013), 154.

[xvi]Ibid. See also: I. W. Scott, Implicit Epistemology in the Letters of Paul: Story, Experience and the Spirit (Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006), 180.

[xvii]Schreiner, Galatians, 154.

[xviii]Ibid.

[xix]Ibid.

[xx]Ibid.

[xxi]White, The God who Justifies, 74.

[xxii]Ibid.

[xxiii]Ibid., 74–75.

[xxiv]Ibid., 75.

[xxv]Moo, Galatians, 161.

[xxvi]Schreiner, Galatians, 155.

[xxvii]Ibid., 155–156.  Schreiner also adds four more reasons why this must be understood forensically: “(1) the law-court background of ‘justify” is clear in Rom 8:33 (ESV): ‘Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.’ On the last day some may bring charges against God’s chose at the divine tribunal, but all charges will be dismissed because God has declared believers to be in the right before him. As the Judge he has declared that they are innocent of all the accusations leveled. (2) Paul often says that human beings are righteous by faith. In such contexts Paul contrasts righteousness by faith with righteousness by works. Righteousness by faith refers to the gift of righteousness given to human beings by God. Human beings are not righteous by virtue of doing but believing. The righteousness given to believers, then, is alien since it is not based on anything they have done but on God’s work in Christ. This suggests that righteousness as a gift is granted to those who believe. (3) That righteousness is a forensic declaration is also supported by the link between righteousness and forgiveness. Paul slides easily from justification to forgiveness in Rom 4:1–8. David’s forgiveness of sins is another way of speaking of his justification—his being in the right before God (4:6–8). The idea is not that David is transformed by God; the text calls attention to David’s sins and his forgiveness by God, for he blots out his sins and declares him to be in the right. (4) The idea that righteousness is counted (λογίζομαι) to believers indicates that righteousness is not native to human beings, that it is granted to them by God (Rom 3:28; 4:3–6, 8–11, 22–24; 9:8; Gal 3:6). This argument is strengthened when we add that righteousness is counted to those who believe—not to those who work. God does not ‘count’ sins against those who have put their faith in Christ (2 Cor 5:19). This is a strange reckoning or counting indeed when those who have done evil are considered to be righteous. This fits with the notion, however, that believers have received ‘the free gift of righteousness’ (Rom 5:17 ESV).” Ibid.

[xxviii]See also: Piper, The Future of Justification, 73–116.

[xxix]Schreiner, Galatians, 163.

[xxx]David Alan Black, It’s Still Greek to Me: An Easy-To-Understand Guide to Intermediate Greek (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998), 49, emphasis in original.

[xxxi]Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 118.

[xxxii]Ibid.

[xxxiii]George, Galatians, 133, 195–196.

[xxxiv]Schreiner, Galatians, 165–166.

[xxxv]It ought to be noted that earlier in the paper the acronym KKQ refers to: Kostenberger, Kellum, and Quarles.

[xxxvi]Kostenberger, Kellum, and Quarles, The Cradle, The Cross, and The Crown, 426.

[xxxvii]Silva, Interpreting Galatians, 64–68.

[xxxviii]Moo, Galatians, 160.

[xxxix]Ibid.

[xl]Schreiner, Galatians, 159.

[xli]Ibid., 160.

[xlii]Ibid.

[xliii]Ibid., 161.

[xliv]Piper, The Future of Justification.

[xlv]Calvin, Galatians, 67.  See also: John Calvin and Jacopo Sadoleto, A Reformation Debate, ed., John C. Olin (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1966).

[xlvi]Schreiner, Galatians, 161.

[xlvii]Ibid.

[xlviii]Ibid.

[xlix]Calvin, Galatians, 67.

[l]Ibid., 68.

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