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Grammar of Galatians 2:20
 
Live Free coz' U r Free!
A practical perspective of:
'being moved from receiving Life through faith to the power of living by faith'
(Romans 1:17, the Passion)
 
Presented by Pastor Ron on Live Free coz U r Free

Last week Hope and I were in our discipleship group from Church. During our fellowship together we recognized one of our pastor’s strong faith in God. Faith that weathers every storm—heart attacks and bypass surgeries… and now cancer with all its treatment and struggles. As we went through the weekend, Pastor Dan's faith reminded me of the last words in Isaiah 40:31. …they shall run and not grow weary, walk and not faint. And I was praying ‘God I want to run and not grow weary! God, I want that kinda faith!'

As, I was working on my next blog post for: Live Free coz U r Free, I decided to share this desire with my readers. A post I’ve entitled: Grammar of Galatians 2:20. I know, Isaiah? Galatians? Which? Well, hopefully that will become clear.

The Galatians 2:20 Teaching is simply: my old life of sin is now dead and I’ve been raised to a new life—the crucified life, the surrendered life, the deeper life, the exchanged life. Jesus’ Life! An exchange of identity—mine for His. A Life empowered by Jesus’ righteous Life living within me. It’s a life of being instead of doing. Being so you can do. A life where I live out the faith of Jesus and live by faith in Jesus.

Which is it? Some translations read: ‘the life we now live, we live by faith of the Son of God’; others read: ‘the life we now live, we live by faith in the Son of God’. The latter seems to make more sense. But which is—of or in? The grammar seems to change the meaning drastically, doesn’t it? 

But then I learned something I never knew. And that’s difficult for this damaged brain of mine. Learning new things isn’t my forte. So, it must be a God thing when I do.

 

GRAMMAR

Okay… it’s gonna get a little tedious. You know how grammar can be. So bare with me for a bit.

The Greek language has many strange grammar types. Subjective and objective sounds simple enough. But genitives or moods?  And then there's the plenary genitive. A mood with plurality? But I should have been aware of the plurality concept. For God’s Word has many truths that seem to be contradictive. Yet we all know, there isn’t any contradictions in God or His Word. Simply put, there are many parallel truths in God’s Word that don’t seem to make any sense and are often beyond human understanding. So it seems, when we don't understand we tend to label as wrong. And we argue over what appears to be contradictive. 

For example, we know that God has sovereign choice, and that humanity has freedom of choice. These are parallel truths in the Bible that can’t be denied. Both are true, but often they’re argued as contradictions. However, peace is gained when we simply accept both as true, whether we can reason through them or not. For me, I reason that my human freedom of choice begins and ends in God’s sovereign choice; for He is the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end. There my heart rests, and all arguments cease, even if I don't understand. 

 

SO, WHAT ABOUT GALATIANS 2:20?

The Christian’s old sinner life—i.e., our lives born fallen into God’s wrath of sin, sins, and sinning—is now dead. And the new Life we live, is Jesus’ Life living in and through us. So as a Christian, I now live in and from God’s Life within. How? By faith of course.

But questions arise with translation. Do I live by faith of the Son of God or by faith in the Son of God? And I think the answer is simple. We live by the faith Jesus has given us (the subjective genitive or mood). And we live by faith in Jesus (the objective genitive or mood). Making the use of grammar in Galatians 220 a plenary genitive or mood. Both being true.

We also see this grammar gymnastics in the Galatians 2:20 Old Testament twin—Isaiah 40:31.

They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint (ESV).

Two verbs stand out: ‘wait’ and ‘renew’. The first verb, wait, is the Hebrew word for rope. So, we could read Isaiah’s words like this: they who braid themselves into or wrap themselves up in the Lord… or in southern slang, they who ‘hogtie’ themselves to Jesus… shall renew their strength.

The second verb/action is ‘renew’, which can also be translated as ‘exchange’. In other words, those of us who dive into and drown ourselves in the waters of Jesus’s Life, can exchange our strength for His. And here’s the EXCITING! part. As Christians, we can then live by faith of and in the Son of God, a faith that runs and never grows weary, walks and never faints. A faith that never fails us in times of trouble.

Lord, may that be true of me. 

 

Live Free coz U r Free! 

Ron

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