Ferdinand Christian Baur.

Paul, the apostle of Jesus Christ: his life and work, his epistles ..., Volume 2 online

. (page 15 of 35)
Online LibraryFerdinand Christian BaurPaul, the apostle of Jesus Christ: his life and work, his epistles ..., Volume 2 → online text (page 15 of 35)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

that he never is what he ought to be ; the law also computes what
is or is not possible, and makes men aware of the impossibility of
fulfilling it. The more it quickens the perceptions with regard
to sin, the more does it weaken the consciousness of any power in
the will, so that in respect to sin, knowledge and will stand to
each other in an exactly inverse ratio. The apostle speaks of this
in the same section of Eomans, viL 14 ; he describes the antagonism
of the carnal man and the spiritual law ; as carnal, man stands
under the power of sin, is as it were sold under sin. " For what I
do, I do not consciously, with the full consciousness of my freedom,
for not what I will do I, but what I hate, that I do. But if I do
that which I would not, then I consent to the law that is good.
But now it is not I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I
know that in me, that is, in my flesh, there dwells nothing good : for
to will is present with me ; but how to perform that which is good
I find not. For not the good that I will do I ; but the evil that I will
not, that do I." Thus there reside in man two antagonistic laws.
*' I find the law that when I would do good, evil is present with me.

Digitized by



I delight in the law of God after the inward man : but I see
another law, which in my members opposes the law of my spirit,
and brings me into captivity to the law that is in my members.
wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me from the body
of this death ?" (from the body which is the actual seat of sin,
because it is in it that the consequences of sin are accomplished,
namely, death.)

If the passage, viL 7 sqq., be regarded in its whole connexion with
what precedes and follows it, we can have no scruple in rejecting
as quite erroneous the opinion of those who would understand the
condition depicted by the apostle, vil 14 sq., to be the condition of
the regenerata The contrast of the condition under the law and
that under grace could not be expressed more forcibly than is done
by the apostle, vii. 24, 25, and viii. 1. The apostle is here
describing how the law in its bearing on the moral volitions and
acts of man determines his self-consciousness. The highest state of
mind man can reach, as long as he merely stands over against the
law, is to recognise the good which the law prescribes, and to will
to do it. But that he should never get past mere willing, that the
possibility implied in willing never becomes a reality, that instead
of the good he willed to do, he should do the evil which the law
forbids, and which he himself does not wiU; this is the imperfec-
tion and defect inherent in the condition under the law, and which
cannot be explained but by assuming the presence of a power
opposing man's will in its recognition and desire of what is good.
This power can only be in the flesh, which, as it directs itself only
to the sensuous, is the principle of sin, and which enables the
sin that dwells in man, and manifests itself through the flesh as
its organ, to become a special power, determining the man's whole
actions. The apostle calls this power a law, inasmuch as that may
be called a ]aw which underlies a constant tendency as its
determining principle. There is thus a i/o/i09 ev roU fieKeai, which,
as the sensual impulses accomplish the results to which they
exclusively tend, becomes a vd/juy; dfiaprioM ; and there is a vofixy;
Tov voo^t a tendency determined by the rational principle, which is

Digitized by



opposed to the sensual: Thus, even in the state under the law,
before man has received into himself by faith the divine m/evfia,
there is, beside the a-ap^, a higher and better principle which- is
spiritual in its natura The apostle calls it leason, vov^, to mark
it as distinguished from the Trvevfia, which is the result of a com-
munication from without, and as belonging to man's own nature.
It is the inward man (o lo-co avOptoiro^, ver. 22) in opposition to the
outward or carnal man ; it is the higher spiritual self-conscious-
ness which is determined by reason, as opposed to the sensual
consciousness, the determining principle of which is the aap^?-
This vov^ becomes the 1/0/A09 rov voo^ which answers in so far to
the i/o/to9 rov Beov, as it is a spiritual principle, and, by its nature
as such, cannot but recognise the law, which is also spiritual, feel
itself one with that law, and make it the principle of its thought
and will. But as this thought and will never grows to anything
more than thought and will, does not realize itself in practice, the
more man becomes conscious of his union with the law, the more does
he grow conscious of his opposition to it. Taking the law up into
his consciousness, and being thus aware of that Shall which his union
with the law brings home to him, he finds that this is only to
discover how far he stands below that Shall, and how little it is
possible to him to fill up the gap within him between the Shall and
the Am. The whole being of the man is divided between two
hostile powers which strive against each other ; and the one is so
greatly stronger than the other, that it might seem that this latter
is only saved from extinction in order that the man, so divided and
drawn to and fro in contrary directions, should feel the whole
torture of the opposition and struggle with which he is fighting
against himself. This is the difference between the 2/01)9 and the
'jTvevfia; the spiritual principle of the 2/01)9 can never be the
invader and conqueror of the aap^; what it is, it is only

^ This shows distinctly, as the author goes on to say. Neatest. TheoL L 48,
that the Pauline doctrine of sin is different from the Augustinian doctrine. In
the Theol. Jahrb. xiii. 29. 5 sqq., I have entered more fuUy into the relation of
the Pauline doctrine of sin and grace to the Augustinian and the early Protestant
doctrine. — Editor,


Digitized by



potentially, and can never come to be actually.^ This is the con-
dition in which man finds himself as long as he is under the law,
it is a state of distraction, disunion, conflict; an unhappy
consciousness, in which one longs for the redemption which can
deliver from its torture. In this longing the man can do nothing
but cry out, " wretched man that I am ! who will deliver me
from the body of this death ; as for me, as I am in myself, I serve
the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin." Reason is
the better principle in him, but the flesh is the predominant
and ruling principla Man cannot emerge from this state of
division and distraction so long as he is under the law, and the
law itself is there, just to create in him the full consciousness of
the division. But as soon as he becomes conscious of the enormity
of the division, and begins to long for deliverance from it, he has
in reality got past it, and the lower negative standpoint is now
looked back upon and judged by a standard which only the
superior standpoint has given. It is seen namely, and that from
above, how the position under the law is that of a mere naked
Shall, which can never be fused into union with the human con-
sciousness in- its entirety. We have therefore a right to say that
no one ever felt so truly this disunion of man with himself — this
division which prevails at the standpoint of the law — as the apostle,
who, when he felt it, had already overcome it. In this respect the
interpreters are right, who hold that the so-called gratia praeveniens
has to be presupposed to Eom. vii. 15, Only in presentiment of
the state of grace can one feel rightly what is wanting in the

^ This 18 the difference between Bom. vii 18 «g. and Gal. v. VJ sq. In the
iinBvii/tiv of the (rhp^ koto, tov irvevfjurros and of the irvevfia Kara ttjs aapKos^ the
irv€Vfia gains the victory just because it is the nvevfia. In the words, verse 1*1, tva
fjiri ASp 3€\jjT€y etc., the apostle does not mean that the struggle is so undecided
that no irottiv ensues at all, but only that this woulv cannot take place save
through the subjection of an opposing power. These two tendencies, impulses,
principles, are at strife with each other, as if they only aimed to effect that you
shall not do just what you wish to do. But if in this contest of the two prin-
ciples, in which the victory is yet undecided, you give yourselves tb be deter-
mined by the irvcv/ta, and the itv€Vfia thus obtains the preponderance, then you
wiU not only not fulfil that which the flesh desires, — you wiU also cease to stand
under the law, you will have Christian freedom.

Digitized by



state of law.^ A BiKaiova-Oai ef epycov vofiov, or an ]Zla Si/caiO'
avvT}, obtained through the fulfilling of the law (with regard to
which only a ^rjrecv, SitoxeiVy is possible, which must not grow to
an opinion of actual legal righteousness, Bom. x. 3, ix. 30) has thus
no existence, not only because the epya vdfMov which man has to
point to are never fuUy adequate to the law, but still more because
he can never feel the possibility of fulfilling the law, — can never
know himself one with the law in the totality of his self-conscious-
ness. AioTL ef efyyoDv vofiov ov BiKaiayO-qaerai iraaa (rdp^, GaL ii
16 ; Bom. iii 20. If this union, this Sv/cauxrvvr) rod Oeov, is ever
to be reached, that can only be in a word, in this way : that the
vov^ (which is the highest element in this stand-point, and in which
nevertheless we only see its negativity) is changed into the
irvevfia. How this is brought about is the other side of the Pauline
doctrine of justification.

^ We are here supplied with a simple answer to the question how far the
apostle is speaking, in the first person at Bom. vii. 7 sqq. He is speaking gener-
ally, and what he says applies not only to himself, but to all who are in the same
case. At the same time, only he himself is properly the subject, and he has to
use the first person in speaking of himself, because no one had gone through the
same experience before him.

Digitized by



o avdpcyiro^ BiKaiovrai €K Triareto^.

It is not in the way of the works of the law, it is only in the
way of faith, that the true hiKaioavvrf is to be realized. Faith is
the indispensable and all-important element and condition of
justification, as the apostle very clearly intimates in the passage
Eom. i 16, where he states the main proposition of the whole
subsequent discussion in the words, ''I am not ashamed of the
gospel : for it is a power of God to salvation for every one that
believes ; both Jew and Gentile. For righteousness, the adequate
moral relation to God, is manifested in it as one which goes from
faith to faith, as it is written : The just shall live by faith." The
apostle thus regards faith as all-important; he cannot speak of
righteousness, even at the very threshold of his Epistle, without
at once declaring faith to be its essential element. The peculiar
expression which he uses here is to be explained by the supreme
importance which faith possessed to him. He says of the
SiKaioavvrj Oeov that it airoKaXxurreraL eK Trurrefo^ eU ttIotiv, i.e.
it is manifested in the gospel as a righteousness which begins with
faith and ends with faith, of which faith is the beginning, middle,
and end ; the essential and pervading element of which is simply
faith : cf. Eom. iii. 22, Bixaioavvr) Geov Sia 7rw7T€a)9 Irja-ov XpioTov,
eU irdina^ Koi hri irdma^ tov9 irKTrevoma^} Thus everything
depends on faith ; now what is faith ? It comes externally from

^ In this passage also the two prepositions only serve to add strength to the
one conception. The addition of tU iriariv to ck frtorcttr is best illustrated by
the passage 2 Cor. iL 16 : da-fifj Bavdrov tU Bavarovy oafifj (»fjs tls (afiv.

Digitized by



hearing the preaching of the gospel (aKoff irurreco^, GaL iii 2,
5, Eom. X. 17), and thus it is primarily a recognition of the truth
of the contents of the gospel, tt/ot*? tov evayyeXlov. Now as
Christ is the essential contents of the gospel, this Trlarc^s becomes
iruTTi^ ^Irja-ov XpurroVf Gal. iL 16, i.e, the faith of which Christ
is the object, or Tri(m<s ev Xpurr^ 'Irja-ov, Gal. iii. 26, the faith which
has in Christ the principle on which it rests. This ttioti^ is further
defined as iriaTi^ ev tjS atfiarv ain-ov, Eom. iii. 26, since what faith
apprehends in Christ as its proper object is the atoning death of
Jesus. And here the apostle defines the contents of faith yet
further, as irioTeveiv em tov eyeipavra Irjaovv, rov Kvpcov rjfi&v,
€K V€Kp&v, 5? irapehoOri tiA ra irapaTrrafiara ^fi&v, Koi fffepBr) hia
TTjv Bixalaxriv ^fi&v, Rom. iv. 24, 25. Thus the object of faith is
narrowed stage by stage, and in proportion as this is done the faith
grows more intense and inward. From theoretical assent it becomes
a practical trust in which the man's deepest interests find expres-
sion. This trust becomes in turn a certainty of conviction, in
which what has once been taken up into the subjective conscious-
ness, even though a mere representation or expectation has all the
force of an immediate objective reality. Now this faith, awakened
first by an external agency, but then proceeding to discover and to
rest upon its own inward resources, has for its object the death of
Jesus. How has the death of Jesus come to occupy this position,
and how does the Sixaioavvrf Oeov result from the direction of faith
to this its object ?

At the standpoint of the law, the Sixaioavvrf Beov was sought to
be attained through the works of the law; thus what the epya
vofiov sought to effect, but, being an iSla Sixaioavvr}, could not,
is now to be effected through faith as a ZiKatoavvq rov Beov.
Faith then must have what works had not. But faith does not of
itself possess this mediating power; all that it is, it is only in
virtue of the object to which it is directed. There must, there-
fore, be something in the death of Jesus which qualifies faith to
effect what the law with its works could not. This relation of the
death of Jesus to the law is most explicitly stated by the apostle

Digitized by



in the passage, GaL iii 13, "Christ has bought us free from the

curse of the law, in that he became a curse for us ; for it is written

in the Scriptures, 'Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree."*

There is thus a curse in the death of Christ on the cross ; this

curse cannot have been incurred by Christ himself, — ^it must have

been laid upon him. It is the curse of the law, for the result at

which one arrives on the way of the SueacovaOcu e^ cfyycov vofiov is

just this, that oaoi ef epytov vdfiov elaiv, triro Kardpav eurl, GaL

iii. 10, since man has not those epya vdfiov which he ought to

have, and, instead of the righteousness of the law, has only sin,

which the law can do nothing but condemn. It is this curse, then,

which Christ has taken on himself, for he suffered the penalty

which the law demanded for the sins of men, viz., death. By this

men are bought free from the curse of the law ; the demand which

the law made upon them for penalty has been met, hence the law

has now ceased to have any valid claim against them ; in respect

of the law they are free. That principle which the law sets up as

its ultimcUum, that only 6 iroi/rjaa^ avra ^Tiaercu ev avTot^^ and

that thus every one who does not exactly observe aU that the law

prescribes, rov iroifjaai airra, has fallen under the curse of the

law — this principle has ceased to apply to them. Man is thus

free from the curse of the law — the Kardpa rov vdfiov, the curse,

the penalty, which the law denounced, or the curse of which the

law was the cause, the objective ground of which resided in

the law. This deliverance is given to men, only in so far as

Christ has died for their sake ; but if he died for their sake,

then this mutual relation between him and them must come

home to their consciousness, must be recognised by them. They

must, in order to appropriate to themselves what he has done

for them, feel that they are one with him. Faith is this relation ;

only in faith in him, and in the death which he died for them

upon the cross, are they free from the curse of the law. Faith is

this union of man with Christ, by means of which the deliverance

from the law which the death of Christ has effected, becomes his

own deliverance from it. Here, however, something would seem

Digitized by



to be wanting in the logic of this theory. For though man be
bought free from the curse of the law, all that is effected thereby
is that that demand is cancelled which the law made on them in
respect of sins already committed. But does it follow from this
that the law itself is done away ? The law remains what it is,
it continues to be binding, the obligation to keep it can never
cease, and every failure in the observance of it involves the same
demand for penalty, the same curse ; and so man remains under
the curse of the law. How then can the apostle say that the law
in itself is done away ? This implies that the constant repetition
of the law's demands is met by the death of Christ being con-
stantly set over against them, and constantly producing the same
effect in respect of them. Thus if the death of Christ be really a
deliverance for men, then its doing away with the law must be a
doing away with it for ever, or as such. And that is so : what the
law could not effect because of the constant failure to observe it,
and indeed cannot possibly effect, that the death of Christ accom-
plishes by doing away with the law ; it accomplishes it without the
law, but only in so far as it is the object of faith. How it is the
object of faith can only be explained at a later stage in our dis-
cussion. The question before us now is in what way it is the
abolition of the curse which lies upon man because of the law.
The chief passage in which the apostle expresses his views on this
point is Eom. iii. 21-26, "Now is made manifest without the law
the righteousness which avails before God, as it is attested by the
law and the prophets, ie. that which is to be regarded as the con-
dition of the adequate relation of man to God. This adequate
relation is mediated by faith in Christ Jesus, so that all in general
are merely such as believe, for there is no difference; all have
sinned, and have nothing to glory of before God. They are
justified freely through his grace through the redemption in Christ
Jesus, whom God has set up as a propitiatory sacrifice through
faith in his blood, for a proof of his righteousness, because he had
passed over the sins that had been done before, in the long-suffering
of God, for a proof, that is, of his righteousness at the present time,

Digitized by



that he might be just, and might justify him who is willing to be
justified by faith." Here we have to distinguish two momenta
which the apostle, in regarding the death of Jesus as an object of
faith, keeps separate from, and opposes to each other. On the one
hand, the redemption which is effected through the death of Jesus
is an act of the free grace of God ; sinners as they are, men can
only be justified through the grace of Grod ; but, on the other hand,
there has been manifested in the death of Christ the righteousness
of God, which cannot suffer sin to go unpunished. Bedemption,
which has been effected through the death of Jesus, is an act of
grace, but with this qualification, that that death is a bloody
sacrifice presented for the propitiation of God. In this sense the
apostle calls the death of Jesus a tkaan^piov, an atoning sacrifice,
and that in order to prove God's righteousness, which cannot but
cause the guilt to be followed by the punishment of sin. This
righteousness of God had therefore to be satisfied, and this was
done by the penalty of sin being actually borne. De Wette
justly remarks that this passage leads up to the Anselmic doctrine
of justification ; but as for tlie view held by our apostle there is no
reason here to travel beyond the idea of evBei^i^, which does not
imply that Grod requires such a sacrifice for the expiation of sins
on his own accoimt, in order to satisfy the claims of his own
righteousness, but only that this was done for men to demonstrate
his righteousness to them. Tet this distinction is seen ultimately
to be unreal, for what God does can never be for the mere external
purpose of an crSetf t?, — it must have its objective ground in God's
own nature. Since it was inconsistent with the idea of the
righteousness of God to leave sins unpunished that had been
already committed, it was necessary that Christ should die for the
punishment of the sins of men. Tet this is not to say that the
obstacle to the forgiveness of men's sins which was to be removed
by Christ's death was actually and essentially in God's nature, in
his penal judgment, or his wrath against men. It was not that
God himself is to be appeased ; and though the apostle speaks of a
reconciliation, a KaraXKayrj, a KaraWdreadai, the reconciliation

Digitized by



that he speaks of is not such a one as should have brought about
a change of disposition towards man in God himself. We have
received the reconciliation, says the apostle, Eom. v. 10, 11 ; though
exjSpoi ovT€^, we have been reconciled to God through the death of
his Son. This exPpoi ovre^ must be understood rather of men's
enmity against God than of God's enmity against men, — of that
€)(0pa €i9 Oeov which has its seat in the ^povr^p/i rfj^ aapKo^,
Eom. viii 7. Of course the death of Christ must have some
reference to the righteousness of Grod, and what it was in this
aspect may be said to have been the removal of the wrath of God,
Eom. V. 9, and in so far a reconciliation of God with men ; but
here, however, we must remember that it is God Himself who is
the reconciler, who brings about the reconciliation of men with
himself through Christ, . Oeo^ h/ Xpurr^ xda-fiov KaTaWcuramv
eavT^, 2 Cor. v. 19. This implies the gracious disposition of God
towards men as the condition without which the whole transaction
would not have taken place, and on which alone it was possible
for them to enter on a new relation towards him. Thus it rests
entirely with men to cease from their enmity against God, and to
allow that disposition with which God has always regarded them,
and which he has actually proved through the death of Christ, to
pass over into their minds ; or since God by His gracious and con-
ciliatory disposition has reconciled the world to Himself in Christ,
to let themselves be actually reconciled to Him. The /earaWayij
is nothing but the manifestation of the grace of God for men's
acceptance. By their acceptance of it they enter upon a relation
towards him where there is elpi^vr) irpo^ tov Seov, and all enmity
between the two parties has disappeared. Here we may already
discern the relation which those two elements bear to each other,
which are distinguished in the passage Bom. iii 21-26, as the
opposite aspects of the death of Christ, viz., righteousness and
grace. The death of Jesus is to be regarded in the light of the
Divine justice as having to do with a matter of guilt and penalty,
yet this is merely the outside of the affair ; the merely judicial
aspect pertaining to the sphere of law where that justice which is

Digitized by



based upon the law which God himself has given dare not be
violated. The inward motive, however, of the provision made by
God in the death of Jesus, that element in it in which God's
essential nature is most distinctly revealed, is the grace of God
(^ avTov xapt9, Eom. iiL 24). This teuctoT predominates so greatly
over the other, that even the strong claim which God's justice puts
forth in the death of Jesus may be regarded as simply a result of
his grace. The evBei^if; of his Bixaioa-vvrf in the death of Jesus
could never have taken place had he not, before he showed him-
self the just one, already been the gracious one, who gave the
greatest proof of his graciousness in this, that so far as the penalty

Online LibraryFerdinand Christian BaurPaul, the apostle of Jesus Christ: his life and work, his epistles ..., Volume 2 → online text (page 15 of 35)