The Berean Expositor
Volume 37 - Page 80 of 208
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these Galatian Christians found themselves. In his commentary upon this passage Locke
"Christ's taking them out of the present world may, without any violence to the words,
be understood to signify his setting them free from the Mosaical constitution."
Poneros "evil" sometimes means defective or imperfect as for example "If thine
eye be evil" (Matt. 6: 23). So the law was described as "weak through the flesh"
(Rom. 8: 3), as making nothing "perfect" (Heb. 7: 19) and as a system that could be
"blamed" (Heb. 8: 7).  In the epistle to the Galatians itself it is likened to weak and
beggarly elements (4: 9), and was "added because of transgressions till the Seed should
come" (3: 19). In this light we must read the strange words of Ezek. 20: 25 "I gave
them statutes which were not good". To the Jewish believer in Galatia the apostle's
words would be vivid and incontrovertible. There is the fact to be faced that this epistle
is addressed not to converted Jews only, but to converted Gentiles, and however much it
may be conceded, that the Jew reading these words, would have sensed their application
and import, it still remains to be shown how a Gentile could thus be conceived of
understanding them. When, however, we realize that Paul has not hesitated to bracket
together as it were legalism and ceremonial rites whether Mosaic or Pagan in origin,
when they stand opposed to the free grace of the Gospel the difficulty is partly removed.
Later in his argument the apostle refers to the condition under which his hearers had
lived "in bondage under the elements of the world" (Gal. 4: 3), and in his concluding
testimony he does not speak so much as dying to the law or to sin, but being "crucified
unto the world" (6: 14). It will be seen by comparing 2: 19, 20 with 6: 14, that in the
one place Paul claims to have been "crucified with Christ" and so become "dead to the
law" and in the other place, to have been crucified with Christ and so become crucified to
the world. In both instances there is a new life as a sequel "the life I now live in the flesh
I live by the faith of the Son of God" and "for in Christ Jesus neither circumcision
availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature".
Lightfoot says "Aion `age' in the Scripture, very ordinarily is `the Jewish age'. In
which sense, circumcision, the Passover, and other Mosaic rites are said to be eis aiona
`for an age'."
We may sum up this argument concerning the present evil age with a quotation from
Sadler's commentary:
"The evil world of St. Paul is twofold. It was the Jewish evil world, with its
self-righteousness, its legalism, its utterly Godless and immoral traditions, forming a
character of intense worldliness and deep seated alienation from God, and the Gentile evil
world with its lasciviousness, lusts, and abominable idolatries."
Christ has come to deliver from both systems, and for a Gentile who had professed to
believe in Christ, to come out of the evil world of Gentile Paganism and to turn to the
equally evil world of Judaistic formalism was such a lapse that the apostle could only say
of such "ye are fallen from grace", "Christ is become of no effect".