[@] Orthodoxy? Does it matter? (2a)

I know I promised a historical source, but I'm side-tracked for a minute here ...

We have a new Pastor at our church (after running about 18 months without one), and yesterday he made a reference to the following part of Galatians 5:
3I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. 4You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. 5For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. {emph added}(ESV)
”only faith working through love”. It’s like the theme song for the on-going monologue I’m conducting here on the matter of orthodoxy.

Because some people who are on the front line of this dispute have already done a lot to expose the matter of what Galatians means to us as a church today, I’m not going to rehash that. What I am going to say is this: it is not love only which makes one a Christian any more than it is faith only which makes one a Christian.

Note please: I am not denying sola Fide here but underscoring the correct perspective on sola Fide. Certainly: only faith justifies us before God; only the faithful are saved. But the question is: what is faith?

In this passage, faith is described as two things:
(1) the “eager waiting” for the anticipated out come of righteousness by Christ’s work.
(2) the “working out” of that anticipation in acts of love (charity, benefice, or good will.

Without plowing through James 1 & 2 (again), Paul says that the faith which saves is a faith which demonstrates itself. But what is interesting about this description, in our context here of “orthodoxy”, is that Paul makes a very vivid point: accepting the circumcision violates the premise of faith.

So if one accepted the circumcision but then took part in the communal life of the church of Paul’s generation – sharing all things with one another, etc. – by Paul’s description, that person is not providing faith working through love: that person is demonstrating his reliance on the Law.

There are two forks to this assertion I want to follow as we go forward. The first one is obvious: “What is the definition of orthodoxy in Paul’s view?” The second is not so obvious, and it may draw some heat from people who I respect and admire, and perhaps for others who are not so much: what does this view say about baptism in relation to the matter of the covenant by which the elect are saved? In other words, can baptism possibly be a covenant sign like circumcision if what Paul says here is true and nothing but faith (worked out in love) is of any consequence in Christ?