Friday, December 21, 2012

Theophylact: Faith Alone Justifies

11-12. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for the just shall live by faith; and the law is not of faith; but, the man that doeth them shall live in them. Having established that the law renders men accursed, but faith brings blessings, now the Apostle shows that it is faith alone which makes men righteous, not the law. He cites Habakkuk, who says, The just shall live by faith (Hab. 2:4), and not by the law. For the law demands works as well as faith. Aptly does Paul add the phrase, in the sight of God, because, in the sight of men, those who appear to keep the law -- such as the Pharisees, who justify themselves before men -- appear equally righteous. Therefore, since the law did not make us righteous, instead brought us under a curse because it was so difficult to fulfill, grace came to reveal faith as a gentler path by which we may be justified and blessed. Behold, now it has been revealed that not only before the law did faith bless and make men righteous, but even more so after the law. Theophylact, The Explanation of the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Galatians (at Gal. 3:11-12), Chrysostom Press (House Springs, Missouri 2011), trans. Christopher Stade, pp. 49-50