This article treats the place of “justification” within the soteriology of Galatians. Galatians appears to lack some elements in other literature, including Pauline letters (esp. Romans), that cue one to read justification’s conceptual backdrop as a legal-theological one of forgiveness or divine approbation in view of one’s sin. More dominant are images of conflict between God and inimical powers. Some have thus argued that the soteriology of Galatians is incompatible with legal readings of justification, seeing instead a battle between God and cosmic powers replacing a divine courtroom. Building on recent research, this article argues first that the legal conceptualization of justification is itself one of conflict in Jewish and Pauline contexts. Second, it sketches the place of humans, “anti-God powers,” and the redemptive act within the conflict as portrayed in Galatians. It concludes that the legal and conflict images are complementary and that the latter offers a framework in which the former is implied.

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