Of Promises and the Law: An analysis of Tyconius’ Third Rule

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By Elena Mirus, Franciscan University of Steubenville

All scholars of Pauline theology – in fact, almost everyone who has read a majority of Paul’s letters – are aware of his emphasis on the distinction between faith and the law, between faith and works. The meaning of this distinction is highly debated. Most will interpret it as describing the difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. In this theory, the distinction is temporal – before the coming of Christ works justified and after the coming of Christ faith justifies. Even those who claim that works never justified, even under the Old Covenant, believe that justifying faith is an element belonging only to the New Covenant. The ancient writer Tyconius disagrees. In his work, The Book of Rules, Tyconius presents ten rules for the interpretation of Scripture. In the third rule, “Of Promises and the Law,” Tyconius claims that the distinction between law and faith is not the distinction between Old and New Covenant. According to Tyconius, the law never justified, but justification through faith has always been an option, even before the Son redeemed the human race.

Tyconius begins by giving the reader his foundational principle: “Divine authority tells us that no one has ever been able to achieve justification by works of the law. The same authority asserts in the strongest terms that there have always been people who kept the law and were justified.”[i] This is the base on which his whole argument rests – the law does not justify but there were always people who were justified, even during the time when the law prevailed. According to Galatians 2:16, “no one will be justified by the works of the law.”[ii] The law provides parameters and rules but does not give the ability to follow it. Augustine says, “the law merely shows what one ought to do, and what one ought to guard against.”[iii] He later adds, “They who know from the law how man ought to live, are not made righteous by their knowledge.”[iv] This is not a concept that belongs exclusively to the New Covenant, it was true even under the Old Covenant. Peter refers to this during the Council of Jerusalem when he says, “Now therefore why are you putting God to the test by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear?”[v] No man has ever been able to do what the law requires, no man has ever been justified by doing the works of the law.

None of this is new or surprising to anyone who has a basic grasp of the gospel preached by Paul. It is the second half of Tyconius’ claim that starts to bring in something new – there have always been people who kept the law and were justified. Paul says, “as to righteousness under the law, [I was] blameless.”[vi] And Scripture tells us that Zechariah and Elizabeth (the parents of John the Baptist) “were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord.”[vii] Tyconius says that even if one did not believe these testimonies, “Who would be so impious, so inflated by senseless pride as to assert that Moses, the prophets, and all the saints (of old) did not fulfill the law or were not justified?”[viii] Christians look to many of the figures of the Old Covenant as examples of great holiness. How could they not have been justified? How could they have been left to fail in their sins, striving to do the works of the law but never making any progress in advancing toward God? Tyconius holds that this cannot be the case.

But if the holy persons of the Old Covenant were not justified by the law, how were they justified? According to Tyconius, the answer is faith – those who are the seed of Abraham have always lived under faith and the Spirit; and the seed of Abraham comes not from the law but from the promise. “But if it is a fact that Abraham’s seed existed before the law and is that seed which comes from faith, then it is also a fact that it never came from the law…Therefore, Abraham always had children by faith, but never by the law.”[ix] In Romans 4, Paul tells us that Abraham is not primarily a father according to the flesh. Abraham had many sons, but it was only through Isaac – the son of the promise, the son who was the blessing given because of Abraham’s faith – that God promised a savior. Hundreds of years later, the law was given to the descendants of the flesh of Isaac – the tribe of Israel – but it was not through the law that they were children of Abraham. Abraham was rewarded for his exemplary faith, “Abraham ‘believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.’”[x] The sons of Abraham were those who had the same faith as Abraham, faith in God and his promised redeemer. So even though all of Israel were under the law, not all of Israel were children of Abraham.

But those who were children of Abraham were justified by faith. “A man is not justified by the precepts of a holy life, but by faith in Jesus Christ, – in a word, not by the law of works, but by the law of faith; not by the letter, but by the spirit; not by the merits of deeds, but by free grace.”[xi] In his commentary on Galatians, Saint Jerome says, “Moreover, believers will be blessed along with Abraham the man of faith, who by virtue of his exemplary faith in God is said to have been the first person to put his trust in God.”[xii] In the eyes of Tyconius, this applies not only to the believers of the New Covenant, but also to men of faith in the Old Covenant. A close look at Galatians 3:11 supports this idea. This verse reads, “Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law; for ‘The one who is righteous will live by faith.’”[xiii] The passage that Paul quotes here is Habakkuk 2:4. Thomas David Gordon, in his work, Promise, Law, Faith, says, “Paul’s citation of Habakkuk 2:4 suggests that the Old Testament taught not merely that righteousness (negatively) is not by the law, but that the righteous one (positively) is so by faith.”[xiv] Even in Old Testament writings, it is indicated that the righteous live by faith.

Another reason that God’s promise of blessing to Abraham had to be through faith, and not through the law is that “God’s promise does not allow any condition; else the promise would not be firm, nor would faith retain its integrity. For how could God’s promise or Abraham’s faith remain stable if that which was promised and believed depended upon the choice of the promised ones? God would have been promising something that was not his, and Abraham would have believed incautiously.”[xv] The fulfillment of the law rests on the free choice of man. God could not promise to Abraham that his descendants would fulfill the law, this would be disregarding the ability of man to choose evil. So, “If the promise rested on works it would not be guaranteed,” (Origen)[xvi] and Abraham would have “believed incautiously.” Thus, Ambrosiaster concludes, “The promise could not be certain to every offspring, that is, to everyone from every nation, unless it was by faith.”[xvii] From this precept – the promise is from faith – Tyconius concludes, “Therefore, if faith and the promise to Abraham cannot be abolished at all, the promise has been in force continuously from its inception.”[xviii] From the moment the promise was made to Abraham, there were men who were justified by faith.

Tyconius then raises the question, why was the law given if faith was sufficient even then? It seems unnecessary to add the law – which could not justify – if faith was enough to justify. Tyconius answers that the law was given that grace would be sought in faith. “God gave the law as an agent of death for the good of faith; those who love life should see life by faith, and the righteous should live by faith, believing that they cannot do the work of the law by virtue of their own strength but only by virtue of God’s gift.”[xix] God gave the law so that man could see his inability to save himself. Faced with the harsh reality of his failure to follow the law, man was forced to turn to the Lord in faith and ask for grace and mercy. “For there was need to prove to man how corruptly weak he was, so that against his iniquity, the holy law brought him no help towards good…That being thus convicted and confounded, he might see not only that he needed a physician, but also God as his helper.”[xx] Saint Thomas Aquinas declares, “it behooved man first of all to be left to himself under the state of the Old Law, so that through falling into sin, he might realize his weakness, and acknowledge his need of grace.”[xxi] The law, especially the Levitical laws and the Deuteronomic laws, was also given because of man’s failure to trust and obey God. Jerome says, “Since it seemed that the Law given later through Moses had been imposed in vain as long as the promise made to Abraham was still in effect, Paul explains that it had been given ‘because of transgressions.’”[xxii] Israel needed to be disciplined. They had lost their way and needed to be guided back to holy living and righteous faith. Israel was God’s first-born son, the one to whom he had entrusted the promise of blessing. If Israel became hopelessly lost, how would be the promise be fulfilled? Jerome defines the function of the law as preservative:  

We should not imagine that the Law nullifies the promise because it appeared after the promise and seemed to abolish what came before. Rather, because the Law could not impart life or accomplish what the initial promise offered, it clearly was given in order to preserve the promise, not to subvert it. For if the Law had been given to bring life and deliver what the promise had vowed, the promise would be reckoned void on account of the Law.[xxiii]

The law was given to preserve the people of God until the blessing was fulfilled. Tyconius claims that “The law was given ‘until the time, when the seed to whom the promise was made would come’ [Gal 3:19] and proclaim the good news of faith. Before this time, however, it was the law that drove people toward faith; for faith as the search for God’s grace cannot be expressed without the law, because sin would have no power.”[xxiv] When the promise was fulfilled, the promise would guide people to faith. Until that time, the law was given to drive people toward faith.

Tyconius then asks, “If the law was given to benefit faith, why did its giving not coincide with the beginning of Abraham’s seed, if it was constantly present?”[xxv] If the law was given to preserve the people of God by driving them to faith, why was the law given not at the same time as the promise, but more than four hundred years later? Tyconius answers that the law was always present in the “ability to discern good and evil,”[xxvi] in other words, natural law, which was written on the heart of man from the beginning. But if natural law was always present, why was the written law added at Sinai? As Abraham’s carnal seed expanded, his seed in faith needed to expand as well. The expanded law allowed for this by making it abundantly clear what was expected, even to those who had warped their consciences and could not decipher the natural law. With the law clearly stated, their “will [was] by the law shown to be weak”[xxvii] and they were able to see their need to turn to God in faith.

“One might say that the law of works lay in Judaism, and the law of faith in Christianity…But there is a fallacy in this distinction.”[xxviii] The true distinction, Tyconius says, is not between Judaism and Christianity, not between the Old and New Covenants, but between those who live in the flesh and the law, and those who live in the Spirit and the promise.[1] Tyconius explains:

 But if God’s Spirit and Christ’s Spirit is one and the same, then the prophets and saints who had God’s Spirit also had the Spirit of Christ. Since they had the Spirit of God, they were not in the flesh. Since they were not in the flesh, they fulfilled the law, for the flesh is at enmity with God and does not submit to his law. Therefore, anyone who flees to God receives God’s Spirit, and once the Spirit is received, the flesh is put to death. Once the flesh is put to death, one can fulfill the law as a spiritual person, freed from the law.[xxix]

There is only one Spirit of God, so when Paul says in Romans 8:9 that, “anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him,”[xxx] he is not referring necessarily to those who lived in the time of the Old Covenant. Anyone who had the Spirit of God through faith also had the Spirit of Christ, because they are one and the same. Those who are in the Spirit are not in the flesh.[xxxi] When man is not in the flesh, which is hostile to God, but in the Spirit, the Spirit works in him and enables him fulfill the law. “But by surrendering to grace, one dies to the law; now the Spirit fulfills the law in one’s person while the flesh, unable to submit to the law of God, is dead.”[xxxii]

Although those who are in the Spirit are the only ones who can fulfill the law, those who are of the Spirit are not under the law.[xxxiii] The law is not intended for the righteous but the unrighteous. “Why should the law apply to the righteous for whom it was not made, who fulfill the law without the law because God is gracious, who serve God freely and live according to the image of God and Christ?”[xxxiv] Paul says in 1 Timothy, “the law is laid down not for the innocent but for the lawless and disobedient, for the godless and sinful.”[xxxv] Those who have true faith in God and live in his Spirit do what is good without the threat of the law. The law is there to guide the unrighteous to faith, to help man align his will to the will of God, to make man realize his total helplessness and so to beg God for grace. Those who live under the law, not in the Spirit of faith but in the spirit of fear, even if they follow the precepts of the law, are not able to be righteous because doing what is good out of fear of punishment is not the same as having a will that loves God and the good. “Someone who is good only out of necessity has an evil will. The law curbs the deed, not the will.”[xxxvi] Augustine explains, “Sin abounded, committed as it was by them who knew the law. For whoever did even what the law commanded, without the assistance of the Spirit of grace, acted through fear of punishment, not from love of righteousness.”[xxxvii] He goes on to say that having a will that is pure from all unlawful desire “comes not from the letter, inculcating and threatening, but from the Spirit, assisting and healing.”[xxxviii] Again, the law does not purify or make righteous. It only drives man toward faith, which alone can justify. “Let, then, those who are under the law pass over hither, and become sons instead of slaves.”[xxxix]

It seems, however, that those who lived before Christ’s coming could not have lived in the Spirit because they lacked the grace of Christ. Tyconius disagrees and claims that the faith and grace of the righteous have always been the same “Those Israelites who were righteous by virtue of faith had already been called to the same faith. For the Spirit, the faith, and the grace given by Christ have always been the same. By his coming, Christ bestowed the fullness of these gifts upon the whole race, having removed the veil of the law. The difference between their earlier and their later bestowal was one of degree, not of kind.”[xl] He later explains, “In the full and proper sense, the Holy Spirit ‘was not yet’ before the Lord’s passion [John 7:39]. But he existed in those who had faith through him being present so that, sealed by him, the victor and perfector of all things, they might reach perfection.”[xli] Even before his coming, Christ offered grace to man, though to a lesser degree. Through his coming he offered the fulness of grace in a new way. Augustine says, “This grace hid itself under a veil in the Old Testament, but it has been revealed in the New Testament.”[xlii]

But how could the faith of those who lived before the coming of Christ be the same faith as those who lived after? After all, those who lived before Christ did not know him and thus could not have faith in him. Jared M. August explains that those who lived before Christ had implicit faith in him through the promise made in Genesis 3:15 – the promise of the “seed” who would overcome the powers of evil.

In this view, Abraham’s faith was demonstrated in response to very specific promises given to prior generations and subsequently passed to Abraham in the genealogical line of promise. The passages of Genesis to which Paul alludes indicate a strong correspondence between Abraham’s expectation of a single eschatological Offspring and Paul’s newfound belief that Jesus was the promised Christ. Although it would certainly be anachronistic to refer to Abraham as a “Christian” or “believer in Messiah,” his faith was certainly in the same Offspring who would receive the title “Messiah.”[xliii]

The faith of those who lived before Christ was faith in the one who would defeat the serpent. In Genesis 22, Abraham is told that it would be through his “seed” that the nations would be blessed. In other words, God is telling Abraham that the seed of Genesis 3:15 would come from his descendants. This seed who would crush Satan eventually became known as the Messiah.

Monsignor Joseph C. Fenton gives a very good explanation of this concept in his essay on “The Theological Proof for the Necessity of the Catholic Church.” Although Fenton is speaking of the Church after the coming of Christ. His ideas can help to give an understanding of how faith functions when Christ is not explicitly known.

Thus, far from implying that a man can merit eternal salvation by purely natural acts, performed outside of the Catholic Church, the encyclical letter of Pope Pius IX[2] really teaches that the man who observes all the natural law can attain eternal salvation through that process by which he was disposed to or prepared for justification…In other words, the man who is sedulously observing the natural law in such a way as to avoid mortal sin for a considerable period of time is one who has already made an explicit act of supernatural faith.[xliv]

If a man is following the natural law and avoiding mortal sin, this means that he must have grace from God. “For it is manifestly these works [the works of iniquity] which he does, and for the achievement of such alone is he naturally fit. The works of righteousness he never does, except as he receives ability from that fountain and that light.”[xlv] On his own, man cannot do good and avoid evil. If it is observed that a man is living in a consistent state of doing good and avoiding evil, this indicates that he has faith, from which the grace of God flows. There were people under the Old Covenant that consistently did good and avoided evil. Thus, it can be surmised that these people had faith.

This pre-incarnational faith in Christ helps to explain in what way the ceremonial laws of the Old Covenant were tied to justification. Saint Thomas, in speaking about the efficacy of the ceremonial laws of the Old Covenant, says,

However, it was possible at the time of the Law, for the minds of the faithful, to be united by faith to Christ incarnate and crucified; so that they were justified by faith in Christ: of which faith the observance of these ceremonies was a sort of profession, inasmuch as they foreshadowed Christ. Hence in the Old Law certain sacrifices were offered up for sins, not as though the sacrifices themselves washed sins away, but because they were professions of faith which cleansed from sin.[xlvi]

This is another element of how men were justified in the Old Covenant, even though the works of the law did not themselves justify. Any justification that occurred under the Old Covenant was through faith, even if that faith was expressed in ceremonial works.

All works that were done under the Old Covenant were accomplished through grace given because of faith.[3] No man can achieve anything without this grace. “Because by the law of faith every one learns that whatever good life he leads he has from the grace of God, and that from no other source whatever can he obtain the means of becoming perfect in the love of righteousness.”[xlvii] Because of this, “Even man’s righteousness must be attributed to the operation of God.”[xlviii]  It is impossible for any man to have glory without the grace of God through faith. “For since the victory is not ours, it is not achieved by works but by faith, and there is nothing of ourselves in which to glory.”[xlix] It is for this reason that Paul writes, “Let the one who boasts, boast inthe Lord.”[l]

Tyconius concludes that the Old and New Covenants are not something that are separated in the temporal order, with the Old Covenant coming first and then ending when the New Covenant began. The Old and New Covenants refer to a way of living – without faith and grace or with faith and grace. The body of the people of God always had and always will have two parts – those who choose to live under slavery to the law and those who live in the freedom of the promise, of faith and grace. In the time when the Old Covenant prevailed, there were still people who lived under the New Covenant. These were the seed of Abraham – “In the multitude of ancient Israel, therefore, the only seed of Abraham were those who, like Isaac, were children of faith and of promise.”[li] Now, in the time when the New Covenant prevails, there are still people living under the Old Covenant. “The old covenant did not stop generating when the new one was revealed.”[lii] Tyconius describes this reality by using Paul’s allegory of Hagar and Sarah.[4] “In the past, the new covenant revealed in Christ lay hidden under the proclamation of the old covenant – (the new covenant of) grace which would generate children of the promise, like Isaac, from the free woman. In the same way, now that the new covenant prevails, there is no lack of children of slavery born of Hagar.”[liii] When Christ became incarnate the precepts of the moral law were not abolished, but they were still unable to justify. Those who attempt to be justified through the doing of the law, even the law given by Christ, live under the Old Covenant, the covenant of fear and works.

Augustine of Hippo supported Tyconius’ theory but with reservations. In On Christian Doctrine, Augustine gives a brief evaluation of Tyconius’ third rule: “Of Promises and the Law,” which Augustine says could also be titled “Concerning the Spirit and the Letter” or “Of Grace and Commandments.”[liv] His main concern is Tyconius’ treatment of the source of faith. “Speaking of faith and works, he said that works were given to us by God because of the merit of faith; but faith, he said, originates in us and is not a gift of God.” Augustine does not have an issue with Tyconius’ principle per se, just with his approach to faith. According to Augustine, Tyconius puts the source of faith in man, which would mean that faith comes from man’s own merit. In Romans 4:16, Paul says that the promise “depends on faith.”[lv] Origen, commenting on this passage says, “It might appear from this that faith is not a free gift of God but that it must first be offered to him by man in order for grace to be given in return. But consider what the apostle teaches about this elsewhere. For when he lists the gifts of the Spirit, which he says are given to believers according to the measure of faith, there among the rest he asserts that the gift of faith is also given.”[lvi] In isolation, Romans 4:16 can be misinterpreted to mean that faith is something that we must obtain and offer to God in order to earn the promise and grace. Origen’s words remind the reader, however, that interpretation of a text must include the broader context, which in this case would be the other writings of Paul. Origen refers to 1 Corinthians 12, where, when listing the gifts of the Holy Spirit, Paul says that faith is among the gifts which are given to man through the Spirit.[5]

Augustine’s critique of Tyconius is not unfounded. However, Tyconius does not explicitly say that faith comes from man and not from God. If Tyconius is not directly teaching this error about faith, why is Augustine so concerned? Augustine says that it is important to make the teaching about faith clear because of the Pelagian heresy. This heresy was not an issue when Tyconius was writing. Augustine comments, “This heresy has rendered us much more vigilant and diligent so that we attend to those things in the sacred Scriptures which were overlooked by Tyconius, who, being without an enemy, was less attentive, neglecting among other things that faith is the gift of Him who has divided to everyone his measure of it.”[lvii] Pelagian heretics denied the doctrine of original sin, saying that the effects of the sin of Adam were not passed down to his offspring. Pelagians also claim the sufficiency of man’s will to achieve the state of goodness and to get to Heaven. If there is no original sin and man is able to save himself through sheer willpower, the sacraments are unnecessary, expect for the very weak. Tyconius’ principle that faith justified even before the coming of Christ could easily be used to support the Pelagian heresy, even if this was not Tyconius’ intention. Since the heresy was not a problem in Tyconius’ time, he neglected to clarify his position on the source of faith. In fact, since Tyconius was himself a Donatist heretic, he might have put more of an emphasis on man’s faith than appropriate. (Donatists believed that the sacraments could only be celebrated validly by those in the state of grace. An emphasis on grace coming from faith, not works, would be helpful in preserving both the precepts of the heretics and the availability of valid sacraments.) Augustine, writing during the time of the Pelagian heresy, saw the danger Tyconius’ writings posed and was quick to point out the possible errors.

Tyconius’ interpretation of the doctrine of justification by faith is certainly fascinating and includes a great deal of helpful insights. However, Tyconius has some deficiencies in his argument that need to be addressed. These deficiencies stem from the fact that Tyconius does not adequately explain the difference between before and after the coming of Christ. There must be a substantial difference between the workings of faith and justification before and after the events of the Pascal Mystery, or there would have been no reason for the Son to become man. It is the clear teaching of Christianity that man needed to be saved and that it is Jesus’ death and resurrection that redeemed and saved man. “The Lord gives himself as ‘flesh’ so that in him, and by participating in his way, we may become ‘spirit.’”[lviii] Therefore, even if man were justified by faith before the Messiah came, this justification could not have been altogether the same thing. Tyconius does not necessarily deny this, but he does explain his principle in such a way that leaves the reader uncertain as to what the difference between the Old Covenant and New Covenant actually is.

The first difference between before and after Christ is that it was much harder to have faith, and be righteous, before Christ came. Tyconius does allude to this when he says that while faith and grace have always been the same, Christ, by his coming, bestows the fulness of these gifts.[lix] Even if the type of faith and grace they had during the time before Christ was the same type of grace and faith that Christians receive after the coming of Christ, the difference in the degree to which these gifts are bestowed is monumental. By his death and resurrection, Christ opened the floodgates of Heaven and poured out a totally unprecedented amount of grace. Tyconius does not address this, and even seems to downplay it in order to support his principle.

In addition to the difference in amount of grace, the availability of grace was immensely increased by the institution of the sacraments. The Old Testament sacrifices/sacraments, as discussed above, did not make one righteous or directly release grace. Their only effectiveness was in being “professions of faith which cleansed from sin.”[lx] In contrast, the sacraments of the New Testament are visible signs of invisible realities – that which they symbolize they actually accomplish. Thomas Aquinas says, “Now that which is preponderant in the law of the New Testament, and whereon all its efficacy is based, is the grace of the Holy Ghost, which is given through faith in Christ…Nevertheless the New Law contains certain things that dispose us to receive the grace of the Holy Ghost, and pertaining to the use of that grace.”[lxi] The Church, with her sacraments, Magisterium, and rules, orient man toward Christ in a way that is far more effective than anything in the Old Covenant. The teachings and rules of the Church, given through the Magisterium, help man to conform his will to God and thus prepare him to receive the grace of the Holy Spirit, especially through the sacraments.

The second major difference, one that Tyconius entirely neglects, is that before the coming of Christ the gates of Heaven remained closed. No matter how much faith the saints of the Old Testament had, they could not enter Heaven until after the coming of Christ. They may have been justified in the eyes of God, but unless the Son became man, they would wait forever outside the gates of Paradise. This does not mean that Tyconius’ principle is in any way false, it simply means that the justification of man before Christ had qualifications, it was a “Yes, but not yet.”

No man has ever been justified by works. It simply is not possible for man to earn supernatural grace and justification through natural works. God makes man righteous through faith, because He knows that man cannot be made righteous through works. God is all benevolent and all merciful, he does not wish for a single soul to be lost, and this includes those who lived before the coming of Christ. This is what Tyconius’ argument ultimately comes down to. In his omnipotence and great mercy, God justified the men of the Old Testament through their implicit faith in the Christ, the “seed” who would conquer the powers of darkness and usher in the kingdom of light. God is Love. The beauty of the interpretation of Scripture is that it will ultimately always lead to that truth. 


Gerald Bray. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: New Testament VI: Romans. 

Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1998.

Jared M. August. “Paul’s View of Abraham’s Faith: Genesis 22:18 in Galatians 3.” Bibliotheca 

sacra 176, no. 701, (Jan – Mar 2019): 51-61. http://www.dts.edu/

Joseph C. Fenton. The Church of Christ, ed. Christian D. Washburn. Tacoma, Washington: Cluny

Media, .

Pope Benedict XVI. Jesus of Nazareth. New York: Doubleday, 2007.

Saint Augustine. A Treatise on the Spirit and the Letter, trans. Peter Holmes and Robert Ernest 

Wallis. Savage, Minnesota: Lighthouse Christian Publishing, 2018.

Saint Augustine. On Christian Doctrine, trans. D.W. Robertson, Jr. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 


Saint Jerome. Commentary on Galatians, trans. Andrew Cain. Washington, D.C.: Catholic 

University of America Press, 2010.

Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I-II, q. 103 and 106.

Thomas David Gordon. Promise, Law, Faith: Covenant-historical Reasoning in Galatians

Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 2019.

Tyconius. “Of Promises and the Law.” In Biblical Interpretation in the Early Church, edited by  

Karlfried Froehlich, 114-132. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1984.

[1] Argument based on Romans 8

[2] Quanto conficiamur moerore

[3] This does not end when Christ comes and the New Covenant begins. Until the end of time, every good work that man does is purely through the grace of God dwelling in him.

[4] Galatians 4:21-31.

[5] 1 Cor 12:9

[i] Tyconius, “Of Promises and the Law,” In Biblical Interpretation in the Early Church, edited by  

Karlfried Froehlich, 114-132, (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1984), 114.

[ii] Galatians 2:16 NRSVCE

[iii] Saint Augustine, A Treatise on the Spirit and the Letter, trans. Peter Holmes and Robert Ernest 

Wallis, (Savage, Minnesota: Lighthouse Christian Publishing, 2018), 17.

[iv] Augustine, Spirit and Letter, 25.

[v] Acts 15:10 NRSVCE

[vi] Philippians 3:6 NRSVCE

[vii] Luke 1:6 NRSVCE

[viii] Tyconius, “Of Promises and the Law,” 115.

[ix] Tyconius, “Of Promises and the Law,” 115.

[x] Galatians 3:6 NRSVCE

[xi] Augustine, Spirit and Letter, 29.

[xii] Saint Jerome, Commentary on Galatians, trans. Andrew Cain, (Washington, D.C.: Catholic 

University of America Press, 2010), 128.

[xiii] Galatians 3:11 NRSVCE

[xiv] Thomas David Gordon, Promise, Law, Faith: Covenant-historical Reasoning in Galatians,

(Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 2019), 123.

[xv] Tyconius, “Of Promises and the Law,” 124.

[xvi] Gerald Bray, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: New Testament VI: Romans, 

(Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1998), 115.

[xvii] Gerald Bray, Romans, 115.

[xviii] Tyconius, “Of Promises and the Law,” 116.

[xix] Tyconius, “Of Promises and the Law,” 118.

[xx] Augustine, Spirit and Letter, 10.

[xxi] Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I-II, q. 106, a. 3, resp.

[xxii] Saint Jerome, Commentary on Galatians, trans. Andrew Cain, (Washington, D.C.: Catholic 

University of America Press, 2010), 147. (Commenting on Gal 3:19-20)

[xxiii] Jerome, Commentary on Galatians, 149. (Commenting on Gal 3:21-23)

[xxiv] Tyconius, “Of Promises and the Law,” 119.

[xxv] Tyconius, “Of Promises and the Law,” 119.

[xxvi] Tyconius, “Of Promises and the Law,” 119.

[xxvii] Augustine, Spirit and Letter, 19.

[xxviii] Augustine, Spirit and Letter, 26.

[xxix] Tyconius, “Of Promises and the Law,” 118. (Based on Romans 8:7-9)

[xxx] Romans 8:9 NRSVCE

[xxxi] Romans 8:9 NRSVCE

[xxxii] Tyconius, “Of Promises and the Law,” 118.

[xxxiii] Galatians 5:18 NRSVCE

[xxxiv] Tyconius, “Of Promises and the Law,” 126.

[xxxv] 1 Timothy 1:9 NRSVCE

[xxxvi] Tyconius, “Of Promises and the Law,” 126.

[xxxvii] Augustine, Spirit and Letter, 15.

[xxxviii] Augustine, Spirit and Letter, 16.

[xxxix] Augustine, Spirit and Letter, 74.

[xl] Tyconius, “Of Promises and the Law,” 120.

[xli] Tyconius, “Of Promises and the Law,” 123.

[xlii] Augustine, Spirit and Letter, 35.

[xliii] Jared M. August, “Paul’s View of Abraham’s Faith: Genesis 22:18 in Galatians 3.” (Bibliotheca 

sacra 176, no. 701, (Jan – Mar 2019): 51-61), 54.

[xliv] Joseph C. Fenton, The Church of Christ, ed. Christian D. Washburn, (Tacoma, Washington: Cluny Media, ), 174.

[xlv] Augustine, Spirit and Letter, 13.

[xlvi] Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I-II, q. 103, a. 2, resp.

[xlvii] Augustine, Spirit and Letter, 21.

[xlviii] Augustine, Spirit and Letter, 8.

[xlix] Tyconius, “Of Promises and the Law,” 121.

[l] 1 Corinthians 1:31 NRSVCE

[li] Tyconius, “Of Promises and the Law,” 129.

[lii] Tyconius, “Of Promises and the Law,” 131.

[liii] Tyconius, “Of Promises and the Law,” 131.

[liv] Saint Augustine, On Christian Doctrine, trans. D.W. Robertson, Jr. (New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 

1958), 107.

[lv] Romans 4:16 NRSVCE

[lvi] Bray, Ancient Christian Commentary, 115.

[lvii] Augustine, On Christian Doctrine, 108.

[lviii] Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth, (New York: Doubleday, 2007), 270.

[lix] Tyconius, “Of Promises and the Law,” 120.

[lx] Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I-II, q. 103, a. 2, resp.

[lxi] Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I-II, q. 106, a. 1, resp.