Raised from the Dead

Paul anchored all that God has done in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, which also inaugurated the age of fulfillment.

Cemetery Sunrise - Photo by Ayanna Johnson on Unsplash
In his letter to the Galatians, Paul claimed that his apostleship was from the same God who raised Jesus from the dead, the same Messiah who died to “
deliver us from this evil age.” He was responding to men from Jerusalem who were operating in Galatia as if the old era was still in effect - [Photo by Ayanna Johnson on Unsplash].

Paul defined his apostleship by asserting a negative (“neither from men nor through man”), then issuing a positive affirmation (“but through Jesus Christ”). In this way, he affirms his divine appointment to the apostolic office.

His opponents did not dispute his office but claimed his apostleship was received from human authorities, presumably, the church leadership in Jerusalem.
  • (Galatians 1:1-5) - “Paul, an apostle, not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ, and God the Father who raised him from among the dead, and all the brethren with me; to the assemblies of Galatia; Grace to you and peace from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us out of the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory unto the ages of ages: Amen!

Paul denied that his commission was dependent on any human authority, whether the mother church in Jerusalem or the church at Antioch. Instead, he claimed to have received it directly from Jesus - (1 Corinthians 9:1Acts 9:4-622:726:16).

PAUL’S COMMISSION

Unlike his opponents, Paul received his commission from the risen Jesus. He also linked his gospel to the “Father…who raised Jesus from the dead.” The fatherhood of God plays an important role in the letter since in it he stresses that believers have become children of God by “adoption” - (Galatians 3:73:264:2-74:22-31).

Paul presents the resurrection of Jesus as an apocalyptic event that signaled the commencement of the messianic age. In his death and resurrection, all the “powers and principalities” that enslaved humanity were defeated, and most decisively so. As in his other letters, Paul points to the death and resurrection of Christ as the central event in God’s redemptive plan.

The resurrection of Jesus marked the inauguration of an entirely new era and the final stage in the redemptive plan of God. And since then, nothing has ever been the same - (1 Corinthians 2:5-8Ephesians 1:17-23Colossians 2:151 Peter 3:22).

Paul writes from this perspective when he exhorts the Galatians not to subject themselves again to the “elementary spirits of this world.” They will do so if they submit to circumcision and place themselves under the calendrical rituals of the Torah.

With the sacrificial death and the resurrection of the Son of God, the jurisdiction of the old order reached its end. Jesus appeared in Galilee in the “fullness of time,” inaugurating the long-awaited era of fulfillment - (Galatians 4:3-11).

DEATH AND RESURRECTION

By reminding his audience that the God who commissioned him is the same One who raised Jesus from the dead, Paul prepares his readers for the description of how he received his gospel by direct revelation from Jesus - (Galatians 1:11-16).

Moreover, Jesus is the one who “gave himself on account of our sins.” His death was necessary “on account of” the sins of humanity that had alienated men and women from God. The same idea is implicit in two declarations in the letter - (Galatians 2:20, 3:13):
  • The life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself on account of (huper) me.”
  • Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse on account of (huper) us.”

His death for men was “according to the will of our God and Father.”  This statement emphasizes the magnitude of what God did. If the believers place themselves under the Mosaic Law, they risk the loss of God’s “grace and peace.” To return to what preceded Jesus is regression. It is tantamount to rejecting the grace of God made available to all through the sacrificial death of His Son.

By means of Christ’s death, God “rescued us from the present evil age.” In his death and resurrection, the expected messianic age has commenced, and the time of “types and shadows” has given way to the era of fulfillment in Jesus - (Romans 12:2, Colossians 1:12-13).

In the Hebrew Bible, history is divided into two ages – the evil age and the age to come. In Paul’s Christ-centered view, the Mosaic law belongs to the “present age.” It is part of the old order that began to “pass away” following the resurrection of Jesus - (Galatians 2:194:3-95:51 Corinthians 7:31).

By emphasizing his death and resurrection, Paul highlights the all-sufficiency of Christ’s death for the forgiveness of sins and the deliverance of believers from this “present evil age.” In him, God has acted decisively and thus impacted human history, indeed, the entire creation.



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