Dying 'through the law to the law' (Gal. 2.19)
In the Letter to the Galatians the law has been superseded by Christ's cross and faith in Christ is contrasted to the law. The juxtaposition of the law and the cross occurs in 2.19, where Paul speaks of them in terms of dying and living. The purpose of the present study is to do four things. First, Paul's letters have been examined for their uses in context of 'cross, crucifixion' and 'law', so that the basis for theological reflection might be the texts themselves. We conclude that although Paul's references to 'law' oscillate in stridency and meaning, and his references to 'cross, crucifixion' are few, the law and cross represent the before and after of Paul's life. Second, our exegesis of Gal 2.19 leads to three observations. 'Dying to-living to' refers to death and life within specific relationships, that to law and that with God. 'Being crucified with' refers to Paul's own inclusion and participation in the death of Christ, so that when Christ died Paul also died. 'Through the law' indicates the death-bringing character of the law itself. Behind Paul's statements about dying and living are the death and resurrection of Christ, which serve as the frame of reference for Paul. Third, Gal 2.19 has been compared to the argument of Galatians 2-3,4.1-7, and Paul's summary statement in 6.14-15. Our test question is what Paul means by dying 'through law' and whether law should be understood as the cause of death. s Finally, it is the conclusion of this study that Paul views the law as death-bringer, causing the death of Christ and the death of Paul in relation to law. This heightens the singularly life-giving character of faith in Christ.