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Christ’s Roles in Galatians

In Peter Oakes’ new commentary on Galatians in the Paidiea series, he says that even though Galatians isn’t “primarily a narrative text, there is a christological narrative [underlying] the argument [of Galatians which] makes itself evident at various points” (88).

The Seed of Abraham

  • As ‘the seed’ of Abraham, Christ received the promise made to Abraham (3:15-16, 19). Christ was sent to ‘redeem those under law,’ with the intended result of enabling ‘adoption’ (4:5).

Death

  • Galatians repeatedly states that Christ experienced death, crucifixion (2:19, 21; 3:1, 13; 6:12, 14, 17). This death is described as a motivated action by Christ: he ‘gave himself’ ‘for our sins’ (1:4), ‘for me’ [2:20].
  • In 1:4, this has a purpose, ‘to rescue us from the present evil age.’
  • We can link that with 5:1, Christ ‘set us free,’ and 3:13, in which redemption from the law’s curse involves him becoming ‘a curse.’

The Cross

  • The cross also acts as a locus for identification with Christ (2:19-20) and a changed relationship to the world (6:14).

God’s Actions

  • Christ experienced resurrection by God (1:1).
  • Christ ‘lives’ in Paul and, by implication, in other Christians (2:20).
  • God sends ‘the Spirit of his Son’ into Christians’ hearts (4:6).

Christians

  • Conversely, Christians are ‘baptized into Christ’ and ‘put on Christ’ (3:27).
  • They are ‘in Christ Jesus’ (3:28) and share Christ’s identity as ‘seed of Abraham’ (3:29) and as ‘sons of God’ (3:26; 4:6).

All bullet points are quoted from page 89.

Gal

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3 comments

    1. Thanks, Slimjim. Yeah, aside from the justification aspect, I easily lose sight of Christ and what else he’s done for us when reading Galatians. This part of Oakes’ book helped to clear that up by focusing on Paul’s references to Christ.

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