Circumcisio evacuit a Christo
Circumcision makes void of Christ
5:1 Qua libertate Christus nos liberavit. State, et nolite iterum jugo servitutis contineri. [n. 276]
5:1 By the freedom with which Christ has made us free. Stand fast and do not be held again under the yoke of bondage. [n. 276]
5:2 Ecce ego Paulus dico vobis: quoniam si circumcidamini, Christus vobis nihil proderit. [n. 279]
5:2 Behold, I, Paul, tell you that if you be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. [n. 279]
5:3 Testificor autem rursus omni homini circumcidenti se, quoniam debitor est universae legis faciendae. [n. 281]
5:3 And I testify again to every man circumcising himself, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. [n. 281]
5:4 Evacuati estis a Christo, qui in lege justificamini: a gratia excidistis. [n. 283]
5:4 You are made void of Christ, you who are justified in the law are fallen from grace. [n. 283]
276. Supra ostendit Apostolus, quod per legem non est iustitia hic vero reducit eos ab errore ad statum rectitudinis. Et
276. Above, the Apostle showed that justice is not through the law; here he leads them back from error to a state of rectitude.
primo quantum ad divina;
First, with respect to divine matters;
secundo quantum ad humana, VI cap., ibi et si praeoccupatus fuerit homo, et cetera.
second, with respect to human affairs, at brethren, even if a man be overtaken in some fault (Gal 6:1).
Circa primum duo facit.
As to the first, he does two things:
Primo proponit admonitionem;
first, he admonishes them;
secundo eius rationem assignat, ibi ecce ego Paulus, et cetera.
second, he gives the reason underlying his admonition, at behold, I, Paul.
277. Et in admonitione etiam duo ponit. Quorum unum est inductivum ad bonum; secundum est prohibitivum a malo.
277. In the admonition itself he includes two things: one is an inducement to good; the other is a caution against evil.
Inducit quidem ad bonum, cum dicit state ergo, quasi dicat: ex quo per Christum liberati estis a servitute legis, state firma fide, et fixo pede permanentes in libertate. Sic ergo cum dicit state, inducit ad rectitudinem. Qui enim stat, rectus est. I Cor. X, 12: qui se existimat stare, et cetera. Inducit etiam ad firmitatem. I Cor. XV, 58: stabiles estote et immobiles, et cetera. Eph. ult.: state succincti lumbos vestros, et cetera.
He induces to good when he says, stand fast. As if to say: since you have been set free from the bondage of the law through Christ, stand fast and, with your faith firm and feet planted, persevere in freedom. And so when he says, stand fast, he exhorts them to rectitude. For he that stands is erect: he that thinks himself to stand, let him take heed, lest he fall (1 Cor 10:12). Likewise he exhorts them to be firm: therefore, be steadfast and unmoveable (1 Cor 15:58); stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth (Eph 6:14).
Prohibet vero et retrahit a malo, cum subdit et nolite iterum iugo servitutis contineri, id est non subiiciamini legi, quae in servitutem generat. De quo iugo dicitur Act. XV, 10: hoc est onus quod neque patres nostri, neque nos, etc., a quo tantum per Christum liberati estis. Is. IX, 4: virgam humeri eius, et cetera.
But he cautions and draws them from evil, when he adds: and do not be held again under the yoke of bondage, i.e., do not subject yourself to the law which engenders unto bondage. Of this yoke, it is written: this is a yoke which neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear (Acts 15:10), a yoke from which we have been loosed by Christ alone: for the yoke of their burden, and the rod of their shoulder, and the scepter of their oppressor, you have overcome (Isa 9:4).
278. Ideo autem addit iterum, non quia prius sub lege fuerint, sed quia, ut Hieronymus dicit, post Evangelium servare legalia adeo peccatum est, ut sit sicut servire idololatriae. Unde quia isti idololatrae fuerant, si subiiciant se iugo circumcisionis et aliarum legalium observationum, quasi ad eadem revertuntur, quibus antea in idololatria servierant.
278. The reason for adding, again, is not that they had been under the law before, but that, as Jerome says, to observe the legal ceremonies after the Gospel is so great a sin as to border on idolatry. Hence, because they had been idolaters, if they were to submit themselves to the yoke of circumcision and the other legal observances, they would be, as it were, returning to the very things wherein they had formerly practiced idolatry.
Secundum Augustinum vero, ut supra dictum est, circa legalium observantias triplex tempus distinguitur, scilicet tempus ante passionem, ante gratiam divulgatam, et post gratiam divulgatam. Post ergo gratiam divulgatam servare legalia est peccatum mortale, etiam ipsis Iudaeis. Sed in tempore medio, scilicet ante gratiam divulgatam, poterant quidem absque peccato etiam illi, qui ex Iudaeis conversi fuerant, legalia servare, dum tamen in eis spem non ponerent; conversis vero ex gentibus non licebat ea servare. Quia ergo Galatae ex Iudaeis non erant, et tamen legalia servare volebant et ponebant in eis spem, ideo revertebantur in iugum servitutis. Nam huiusmodi observatio erat eis sicut idololatria, inquantum non recte sentiebant de Christo, credentes ab ipso sine legalibus salutem consequi non posse.
However, according to Augustine in Epistle 19, three periods of time are distinguished with respect to the observance of the legal ceremonies: namely, the time before the passion, the time before the spreading of grace, and the time after the spreading of grace. To observe the legal ceremonies after grace has been preached is a mortal sin for the Jews. But during the interim, i.e., before the preaching of grace, they could be observed without sin even by those who had been converted from Judaism, provided they set no hope in them. However, those converted from paganism could not observe them without sin. Therefore, because the Galatians had not come from Judaism but wanted, nevertheless, to observe the legal ceremonies and put their hope in them, they were in effect returning to the yoke of bondage. For in their case, observances of this sort were akin to idolatry, inasmuch as they entertained a false notion concerning Christ, believing that salvation cannot be obtained by him without the observances of the law.
279. Deinde cum dicit ecce ego, etc., exponit praedicta duo. Et
279. Then when he says, behold, I, Paul, tell you, he explains these two parts of his admonition:
first, the second part;
secundo primum, ibi nos autem spiritus, et cetera.
second, the first part, at for we in spirit (Gal 5:5).
Circa primum duo facit.
As to the first, he does two things:
Primo ostendit quid sit iugum servitutis, quod non debent subire;
first, he shows what the yoke of bondage is to which they should not submit;
secundo probat, ibi evacuati estis, et cetera.
second, he proves it, at you are made void of Christ.
Circa primum duo facit.
Regarding the first, he does two things:
Primo ostendit iugum illud esse valde nocivum;
first, he shows that this yoke is a source of great harm;
secundo valde onerosum, ibi testificor autem, et cetera.
second, that it is terribly burdensome, at and I testify again.
280. Nocivum est quidem iugum legis, quia aufert Dominicae passionis effectum. Et ideo dicit: nolite contineri iugo servitutis, quia ecce ego Paulus, qui, supple: voce auctoritatis, dico, et bene, si circumcidimini, Christus vobis nihil proderit, id est, fides Christi.
280. The yoke of the law is harmful because it nullifies the effect of the Lord’s passion. Hence he says, do not be held again under the yoke of bondage, because behold, I, Paul, who am speaking with the voice of authority, tell you, and well, that if you be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing, i.e., faith in Christ.
Sed contra, Act. XVI, 3 dicitur quod Paulus circumcidit Timotheum, ergo fecit quod Christus ei nihil prodesset, ergo decepit eum.
But against this is something recorded in Acts, namely, that Paul circumcised Timothy (Acts 16:3). Hence in effect he brought it about that Christ profited him nothing; furthermore, he was deceiving him.
Respondeo. Dicendum est, secundum Hieronymum, quod Paulus non circumcidit Timotheum quasi legem servare intenderit, sed simulavit se circumcidere, faciendo opus circumcisionis. Nam, secundum ipsum, apostoli simulatorie servabant legalia ad vitandum scandalum fidelium ex Iudaeis. Faciebant autem actus legalium, non tamen cum intentione servandi legalia, et sic non exibant a fide. Unde non decepit Timotheum.
I answer that, according to Jerome, Paul did not circumcise Timothy as though intending to observe the law, but he feigned circumcision in working circumcision on him. For, according to him, the apostles feigned observing the works of the law to avoid scandalizing the converts from Judaism. In other words, they performed the actions of the law without the intention of observing them, and so they did not depart from the faith. Hence he did not deceive Timothy.
Secundum vero Augustinum dicendum est quod apostoli secundum veritatem servabant legalia, et cum intentione ea servandi, quia, secundum apostolorum sententiam, licebat fidelibus ex Iudaeis illo tempore, scilicet ante gratiam divulgatam, ipsa servare. Et ideo quia Timotheus fuit ex matre Iudaea, circumcidit eum Apostolus cum intentione servandi legalia. Quia vero Galatae ponebant spem in legalibus post gratiam divulgatam, quasi sine eis gratia non sufficeret ad salutem, et ideo ea servare volebant, ideo dicit eis Apostolus si circumcidimini, et cetera. Sequebatur enim ex hoc, quod non reputarent Christum, in cuius signum data fuit circumcisio. Gen. XVII, 11: ut sit in signum foederis inter me et vos, et cetera. Qui ergo circumcidebantur, credebant adhuc signum durare, et tunc signatum nondum venisse, et sic excidebant a Christo.
However, according to Augustine, the answer is that the apostles did in very truth observe the works of the law and had the intention of observing them; because, according to the teaching of the apostles, it was lawful at that time, i.e., before grace had become widespread, for converts from Judaism to observe them. Therefore, because Timothy was born of a Jewish mother, the Apostle circumcised him with the intention of observing the law. But because the Galatians were putting their hope in the legal observances after the spreading of grace, as though without them grace was not sufficient to save them, and they observed them in that frame of mind, for that reason the Apostle declared to them that if you be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For it followed from this that they did not correctly estimate Christ, to signify whom circumcision was given: that it may be a sign of the covenant between me and you (Gen 17:11). Therefore, those who submitted to circumcision believed that the sign was still in vogue and that the one signified had not yet come. Thus they were fallen away from Christ.
Sic ergo patet onus legis esse nocivum.
In this way, then, it is plain that the yoke of the law is harmful.
281. Est etiam valde onerosum, quia obligat ad impossibile, et hoc est quod dicit testificor autem, etc., quasi dicat: dico quod si circumcidimini, Christus vobis nihil proderit. Sed adhuc, testificor enim omni homini, scilicet Iudaeo et gentili, et cetera.
281. Furthermore, it is a heavy burden, because it obliges to the impossible. And this is what he states: I testify again to every man circumcising himself, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. As if to say: I say that if you be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. But in addition to this, I testify to every man, both Jew and gentile, circumcising himself, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
Nam quicumque profitetur in aliqua religione, facit se debitorem omnium quae ad observantiam illius religionis pertinent. Et sicut dicit Augustinus: numquam fuit aliqua religio sine aliquo visibili signo, ad quod obligarentur qui in ipsa religione vivunt; sicut in religione Christiana signum visibile est baptisma, ad quod omnes Christiani tenentur quoad cultum. Obligantur etiam ad omnia quae ad cultum Christianae religionis pertinent. Signum autem legis Mosaicae fuit circumcisio. Quicumque ergo circumcidebat se, obligabatur ad omnia legalia servanda ac implenda, et hoc est quod dicit quoniam debitor est universae legis faciendae, Iac. II, v. 10: qui offendit in uno, factus est omnium reus. Quam tamen nullus servare poterat, secundum illud Act. XV, 10: hoc est onus, quod neque patres nostri, neque nos portare potuimus, et cetera.
For one who professes a religion makes himself a debtor to all that pertains to the observances of that religion. And, as Augustine says: there has never been a religion without some visible sign to which those who live in that religion are obligated; as in the Christian religion the visible sign is baptism, which all Christians are held to undergo. Furthermore, they are obligated to everything that pertains to the Christian religion. Now the sign of the Mosaic law was circumcision. Therefore, whoever circumcised himself was put under obligation to observe and fulfill all the matters of the law. And that is what he says: he is a debtor to do the whole law: whosoever offends in one point, is become guilty of all (Jas 2:10). No one, however, was able to keep the law, according to Acts: this is a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear (Acts 15:10).
282. Sed dato quod aliquis circumcideretur, ergo secundum praedicta obligat se ad servandum legalia, sed hoc est peccatum mortale, ergo tenetur peccare mortaliter, et sic videtur esse perplexus.
282. But suppose someone is circumcised; then according to the aforesaid he is obligated to observe all the matters of the law. But this is to sin mortally. Therefore, he is obligated to sin mortally and thus he sins in either case.
Respondeo. Dicendum est quod eadem conscientia durante, tenetur servare legalia, puta si aliquis haberet conscientiam, quod, nisi circumcideretur, peccaret mortaliter, et circumcisus, ipsa conscientia durante, peccaret mortaliter, si non observaret legalia: cuius ratio est, quia habere conscientiam de re aliqua facienda, nihil aliud est quam aestimare quod faciat contra Deum, nisi illud faciat. Facere autem contra Deum est peccatum. Sic ergo dico, quod nisi faceret hoc ad quod inducit conscientia, peccaret mortaliter, non quidem ex genere operis, sed ex intentione operantis. Et similiter si facit, peccat; quia huiusmodi ignorantia non excusat, cum sit ignorantia iuris. Nec tamen est perplexus simpliciter, sed secundum quid, quia potest deponere erroneam conscientiam. Et hoc modo hic Apostolus testificatur omni circumcidenti se, quod tenetur ad servandum legem.
I answer that on the assumption that the same conviction prevails, he is obliged to observe the matters of the law: for example, if one is convinced that he would sin mortally unless he were circumcised, then, having become circumcised, if the same conviction remains, he would sin mortally were he not to observe the matters of the law. The reason for this is that the conviction that something must be done is nothing else but a judgment that it would be against God’s will not to do it. If this is the case, I say that unless he did what his convictions dictate, he would sin mortally, not by reason of the work done but by reason of his conscience. Likewise, if he does it, he sins, because ignorance of this kind does not excuse him, since he is ignorant of a precept. Nevertheless, he is not absolutely perplexed, but only in a qualified sense, because it is within his power to correct his erroneous conscience. And this is the way the Apostle is here testifying to everyone who circumcises himself that he is obliged to observe the ceremonies of the law.
283. Consequenter cum dicit evacuati estis, etc., probat quae dicit, scilicet quod non debent accipere legis observantiam ratione damni iam praesentis, quod est duplex. Unum est amissio Christi; secundum est amissio gratiae Christi. Primum est causa secundi, ibi qui in lege, et cetera.
283. Then when he says, you are made void of Christ, he proves what he said, namely, that they must not embrace the observances of the law, because it involves a double injury: first, the loss of Christ; second, the loss of grace. Moreover, the first is the cause of the second, because you who are justified in the law are fallen from grace.