Christus non est minister peccati
Christ not the minister of sin
2:17 Quod si quaerentes justificari in Christo, inventi sumus et ipsi peccatores, numquid Christus peccati minister est? Absit. [n. 97]
2:17 But if, while we seek to be justified in Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ then the minister of sin? God forbid! [n. 97]
2:18 Si enim quae destruxi, iterum haec aedifico: praevaricatorem me constituo.
2:18 For if I build up again the things which I have destroyed, I make myself a prevaricator.
97. Postquam Apostolus ostendit per conversationem apostolorum legalia non esse observanda, quod ipse dicebat, hic movet quaestionem in contrarium.
97. After proving by the apostles’ manner of life that the works of the law ought not to be observed, the Apostle raises a question to the contrary.
Et circa hoc tria facit.
About this he does three things.
Primo movet quaestionem;
First, he raises the question;
secundo solvit eam, ibi absit, etc.;
second, he solves it, at God forbid;
tertio solutionem eius manifestat, ibi ego enim per legem, et cetera.
third, he explains his solution, at for I, through the law (Gal 2:19).
98. Primum dupliciter potest exponi secundum Glossam. Primo sic: posset enim aliquis dicere quod apostoli deserentes legem, veniendo ad fidem Christi peccassent. Sed ex hoc Apostolus introducit quasi quoddam inconveniens, scilicet Christum esse auctorem peccati, eo quod homines ad suam fidem vocat. Et hoc est quod dicit quod, id est sed, si nos apostoli quaerentes iustificari in ipso, id est, per ipsum, scilicet Christum, inventi sumus, id est, manifeste comprobemur, et ipsi Apostoli peccatores propter legis dimissionem, numquid Christus est minister peccati? Id est, inducens nos ad peccandum qui nos a statu legis ad suam fidem vocavit? Infra IV, 4: factum sub lege, ut eos qui sub lege erant redimeret, scilicet ab onere legis.
98. The first point can be developed in two ways according to a Gloss. First, thus: someone could say that the apostles sinned by abandoning the law and turning to the faith of Christ. But the Apostle shows that this would lead to the following unwelcome conclusion, namely, that Christ is the author of sin in calling men to his faith. This is what he means when he says, but if, we apostles, while we seek to be justified in him, i.e., through him, namely, Christ, are found, i.e., plainly proven to be, sinners for leaving the law, is Christ then the minister of sin? i.e., is he inducing us to sin, who called us from the slavery of the law to his faith? Made under the law that he might redeem them that were under the law (Gal 4:4), namely, from the burden of the law.
Respondet Apostolus absit, quia magis est minister iustitiae. Rom. V, 19: per unius obedientiam iusti constituuntur multi. I Petr. II, 22: qui peccatum non fecit, et cetera.
The Apostle answers, God forbid, because he is rather the minister of justice; by the obedience of one, many shall be made just (Rom 5:19); who committed no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth (1 Pet 2:22).
Et quod Christus non sit minister peccati abstrahens a lege veteri, patet, quia si ego ipse quae destruxi, scilicet superbiam gloriantem de lege, iterum reaedifico, volens redire ad gloriandum de lege, praevaricatorem meipsum constituo, resumens quae destruxi. II Petr. II, 22: canis reversus ad vomitum, et cetera. Ios. II: maledictus homo qui reaedificaverit Iericho.
That Christ is not the minister of sin in leading one from the old law is plain, because if I myself, by wanting to glory once more in the law, build up again the things I have destroyed, namely, my pride taking glory in the law, I make myself a prevaricator in taking up what I destroyed: the dog is returned to his vomit (2 Pet 2:22); cursed be the man that shall raise up and build the city of Jericho (Josh 6:26).
Dicit autem quae destruxi, non ipsam legem, ut Manichaei volunt, quia lex sancta est, Rom. VII, 12, sed superbiam de lege, de qua dicitur Rom. X, 3: quaerentes suam iustitiam statuere, et cetera.
He says, which I have destroyed, i.e., not the law itself, as the Manicheans would have it, because the law is holy (Rom 7:12), but pride in the law: for they, seeking to establish their own justice have not submitted themselves to the justice of God (Rom 10:3).
Si quis autem obiiciat quod cum ipse olim destruxerit fidem Christi, praevaricatorem se faciebat eam aedificans, patet responsio, quia fidem Christi conatus fuit quidem destruere, sed non praevaluit propter veritatem. Act. IX, v. 4: quid me persequeris? Durum est tibi, et cetera. Sed superbia legis vana erat, et ideo destrui poterat, et reaedificanda non erat.
Now if someone were to object that since he formerly had wasted the faith of Christ, he makes himself a prevaricator by trying to build it up, the plain answer is that he did indeed try to destroy the faith of Christ, yet because of the truth he did not persist: why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goad (Acts 9:4). But pride in the law was vain and this pride could be destroyed, never again to be re-established.
99. Secundo modo potest exponi, ut quod dicit inventi sumus et ipsi peccatores, referatur non ad dimissionem legis, sicut nunc expositum est, sed magis ad ipsam legis observantiam. Manifestum enim est quod quicumque quaerit iustificari, profitetur se non esse iustum, sed peccatorem.
99. The second way in which it can be developed is to refer his statement, we ourselves also are found sinners, not to their abandoning the law, as in the first explanation, but to the observance of the law. For it is plain that anyone who seeks to be made just does not profess himself to be just but a sinner.
Est ergo sensus: si nos quaerentes iustificari in Christo, ex hoc ipso quod quaerimus nos iustificari, inventi sumus, id est, ratione comprobamur et ipsi peccatores fuisse, propter hoc quod legem observabamus, numquid Iesus Christus minister peccati est? Ut scilicet mandaverit homines post suam passionem legalia observare, quod sine peccato fieri non potest.
The sense, therefore, is this: if, while we seek to be justified in Christ, we are by the very fact of seeking to be justified found, i.e., reasonably proved, to have been sinners, because we observed the law, is Jesus Christ then the minister of sin? That is, does he command men to observe the works of the law after his passion, which is something that cannot be done without sin?
Et attendendum est, quod haec expositio procedit secundum opinionem Hieronymi, qui ponebat statim post passionem Christi legalia fuisse mortifera.
Note that this explanation harmonizes with Jerome’s opinion which posited that the legal justifications were deadly immediately after the passion of Christ.
100. Tertio modo potest exponi, ut quod dicit inventi sumus et ipsi peccatores, pertineat quidem ad statum quo lex observabatur, non tamen quod ipsi offenderent propter legis observantiam, sed propter legis defectum, quae peccatum auferre non poterat, ut sit sensus: si quaerentes iustificari in ipso, inventi sumus et ipsi peccatores, id est, peccatum habentes, lege peccatum non auferente, secundum illud Rom. III, 9: causati sumus Iudaeos et Graecos omnes sub peccato esse, numquid Iesus Christus peccati minister est, ut reducat nos ad observantiam legis, in qua sub peccato eramus?
100. It is possible to explain, we ourselves also are found to be sinners, in a third way as referring, indeed, to the state in which the law was observed; not that they offended by observing the law, but that the law is deficient and cannot remove sin. Hence the meaning is this: if in seeking to be justified in it, we ourselves are found to be sinners, i.e., still in our sins, because the law does not remove sin: for we have charged both Jews and Greeks, that they are all under sin (Rom 3:9), is Christ then the minister of sin, so as to bring us back to observing the law in which we are under sin?
Et haec expositio procedit secundum expositionem Augustini.
This explanation accords with Augustine’s exposition.
Et respondet, secundum utramque expositionem, absit, quia ego destruxi legem carnaliter intellectam, spiritualiter iudicando et docendo. Unde si iterum vellem aedificare carnalis legis observantias, essem praevaricator legis spiritualis.
And Paul answers to either explanation, God forbid, because I destroyed the law understood carnally by judging and teaching it spiritually. Hence, if I should desire to re-establish the observances of the carnal law, I would be a prevaricator of the spiritual law.
101. Potest et quarto modo sic exponi. Dixeram, hominem non iustificari ex operibus legis. Posset aliquis dicere, quod nec etiam per fidem Christi, quia multi post fidem Christi acceptam, peccant. Et hoc est quod dicit: si quaerentes iustificari in Christo, id est, per fidem Christi, inventi sumus post fidem Christi susceptam etiam ipsi nos fideles peccatores, id est, in peccatis viventes, numquid Iesus Christus minister peccati est et damnationis, sicut minister veteris legis est minister peccati et damnationis? Non quod lex induceret ad peccatum, sed occasionaliter, quia prohibebat peccatum, et non conferebat gratiam adiuvantem ad resistendum peccato. Unde dicitur Rom. VII, 8: occasione accepta, peccatum per mandatum, et cetera. Sed Christus dat gratiam adiuvantem. Io. I, v. 17: gratia et veritas per Iesum Christum facta est. Unde nullo modo est minister peccati, nec directe, nec occasionaliter.
101. Furthermore, it can be explained in a fourth way, thus: I had said that man is not justified by the works of the law. But someone might say, nor by the faith of Christ either, because many sin after embracing the faith of Christ. And this is what he says: if, while we seek to be justified in Christ, i.e., by the faith of Christ, we ourselves, who have become believers by embracing the faith of Christ, also are found sinners, i.e., living in sin, is Christ then the minister of sin and of damnation, as the minister of the old law is a minister of sin and damnation? Not that the law led one into sin, but was its occasion, because it forbade sin and conferred no grace to help one resist sin. Hence it is said: but sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence (Rom 7:8). But Christ gives a helping grace: grace and truth came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17). Hence in no way is he the minister of sin, either directly or as its occasion.
Vita in Christo, non in lege
Life in Christ, not the law
2:19 Ego enim per legem, legi mortuus sum, ut Deo vivam: Christo confixus sum cruci. [n. 102]
2:19 For I, through the law, am dead to the law, that I may live to God; with Christ I am nailed to the cross. [n. 102]
2:20 Vivo autem, jam non ego: vivit vero in me Christus. Quod autem nunc vivo in carne: in fide vivo Filii Dei, qui dilexit me, et tradidit semetipsum pro me. [n. 108]
2:20 But I do not live now: but Christ lives in me. But that I live now in the flesh: I live in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and delivered himself for me. [n. 108]
2:21 Non abjicio gratiam Dei. Si enim per legem justitia, ergo gratis Christus mortuus est. [n. 111]
2:21 I do not cast away the grace of God. For if justice be by the law, then Christ died in vain. [n. 111]
102. Hic Apostolus solutionem superius assignatam manifestat. Et
102. Here the Apostle amplifies the solution given above.
primo ponit solutionis manifestationem;
First, he explains the solution.
secundo concludit principale intentum, ibi non abiicio gratiam Dei, et cetera.
Second, he concludes to his principal proposition, at I do not cast away the grace of God.
Sed attendendum est, quod Apostolus inquirendo procedens, nullum dubium indiscussum relinquit. Et ideo verba eius licet videantur intricata, tamen si diligenter advertantur, nihil sine causa dicit, et hoc apparet in verbis propositis. Ubi tria facit:
It should be noted that the Apostle proceeds in a very thorough manner, leaving no doubt unexamined. Hence his words, although they seem involved, nevertheless, if they are carefully considered, say nothing without a purpose. This is plain from the words he uses. Therefore, he does three things:
primo manifestat solutionem;
first, he manifests the solution;
secundo explicat solutionis manifestationem, ibi Christo confixus sum cruci, etc.;
second, he explains his manifestation of the solution, at with Christ I am nailed to the cross;
tertio removet dubitationem, ibi quod autem vivo, et cetera.
third, he settles the question, at that I live now in the flesh.
103. Quia ergo Apostolus dixerat si enim quae destruxi, etc., quod intelligitur de veteri lege, posset enim ab aliquo reputari legis destructor, et per consequens iniquus, secundum illud Ps. CXVIII, 126: dissipaverunt iniqui legem tuam, ideo Apostolus vult ostendere quomodo legem destruat, et tamen non est iniquus, dicens ego enim per legem, et cetera.
103. Therefore, because the Apostle had said, for, if I build up again the things which I have destroyed (Gal 2:18), which is understood to refer to the old law, for one might regard him as a destroyer of the law and consequently impious: they have dissipated your law (Ps 119:126), for that reason the Apostle wishes to show how he destroys the law without being impious, saying, for I, through the law, am dead to the law.
Ubi sciendum est, quod quando aliquis dissipat legem per ipsam legem, talis est praevaricator legis, non iniquus. Dissipatur autem lex per legem, quando in lege datur aliquod praeceptum locale seu temporale, ut scilicet lex illa tali tempore, seu tali loco servetur, et non alio, et hoc ipsum exprimatur in lege. Si quis tunc in illo tempore, seu in illo loco lege non utitur, destruit legem per ipsam legem, et hoc modo Apostolus destruxit legem. Unde destruxi, inquit, quodammodo legem, tamen per legem, quia ego mortuus sum legi per legem, id est, per auctoritatem legis ipsam dimisi, quasi legi mortuus.
Here it should be noted that when anyone destroys a law by means of the law itself, he is indeed a prevaricator of the law, but not impious. For a law is destroyed by means of the law when the law itself contains some local or temporary precept, such that the law should be observed for such a time or in such a place and no other, and this fact is expressed in the law. If someone, therefore, after that time or outside that place, does not use the law, he destroys the law by means of the law itself, and in this way the Apostle destroyed the law. Hence he says: I somehow destroyed the law, but by means of the law; because through the law I am dead to the law, i.e., by the authority of the law I have rejected the law, as being dead to the law.
Auctoritas enim legis, per quam mortuus est legi, in multis Sacrae Scripturae locis habetur; Ier. XXXI, 31, tamen sub aliis verbis: confirmabo testamentum novum super domum Israel, etc.; Deut. XVIII, 15: prophetam suscitabit Dominus de fratribus vestris, etc.; et multis aliis locis; non est ergo transgressor Apostolus legem destruendo.
For the authority of the law, through which he is dead to the law, is cited in many places in Sacred Scripture. For example, although not in so many words, it is had: I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel (Jer 31:31); the Lord will raise up to you a prophet of your brethren like unto me (Deut 18:15), and in many other places. Therefore the Apostle is not a destroyer of the law in the sense of a transgressor of the law.