A Gift and a Task

Throughout this commentary, we have tried to do justice to justification as “gift and task.” It is “gift” insofar as Christ gave himself on our behalf, as an expression of God’s love and generosity toward us, to reconcile us to God and to redeem us from this present, evil age. It is “gift” insofar as God pours his Holy Spirit out upon all who are joined in trust to Jesus, the Seed. It is “gift” insofar as this Holy Spirit, freely lavished upon us, is sufficient to guide us into and empower us for living righteously before God, specifically by living fully in line with the commandment to love our neighbor with the care, investment, and commitment that the fleshly person reserves for himself or herself above the neighbor. It is “task,” however, insofar as we must “walk by the Spirit” (5:16), “fall in line with the Spirit” (5:25), “serve one another as slaves through love” (5:13), “stand fast,” not submitting again to the powers and principles that formerly enslaved us, from which Christ freed us at such cost to himself (5:1) and, here, “sow to the Spirit” by “working what is good toward all” (6:7–10), fulfilling the command to “love one’s neighbor as oneself” in concrete, practical, beneficent, helpful, needful ways. Participating in this process of transformation that God has opened up for believers in Christ through the power of the Spirit leads to “the final fulfillment of that which began in justification, namely, the gift of salvation to be consummated at the last day.”

David A. deSilva, The Letter to the Galatians, ed. Ned B. Stonehouse et al., The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2018), 498–499.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *