World English Bible translation
3:1Foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you not to obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was openly set forth among you as crucified? 3:2 I just want to learn this from you. Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by hearing of faith? 3:3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now completed in the flesh? 3:4 Did you suffer so many things in vain, if it is indeed in vain? 3:5 He therefore who supplies the Spirit to you, and works miracles among you, does he do it by the works of the law, or by hearing of faith?
In yesterday's lesson we had one of the most beautiful verses in all of scripture. "I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me." In today's, we have one of the most caustic remarks written. "Foolish Galatians…" What could have prompted Paul to write such harsh remarks?
Paul believed that these Galatians were responding to men who were bringing them another gospel. It was a message that was really not a "gospel" at all. In this passage he writes that the Judaizers had "bewitched" them into not obeying the truth. It must have seemed like witchcraft because the Galatians had readily accepted the truth of the gospel of Christ when they first heard it. Now they were just as readily turning to another message that was almost diametrically opposite to the truth that Paul had brought to them. He had given them the message of freedom and grace in Christ. These Judaizers were attempting to put them under the obligations of the law.
Paul reminds these Galatians that he had preached Christ crucified to them. Paul's teaching of the cross was in direct opposition to the message of the Judaizers. Paul taught that the crucifixion of Christ was what freed us from sin and the law. He taught that in the cross God was reconciling the world to Himself, that because of the cross God did not count man's sins against him. It was because of the cross that the Gentiles had already been made one with the Jews already. In Christ, all men are one.
To prove his position Paul asks the Galatians a simple question. Did they receive the Spirit of God because they obeyed the law or did they receive the Spirit because they had believed? Paul had seen the demonstration of the presence of the Spirit when he was with them. God was manifested in the lives of these early Christians from the very beginning. If they had received the Spirit because of their faith, why were they now turning to the law? Paul had taught them that the life of the Spirit inside them was proof that God accepted them. When God lives in us we are His. The Spirit does not live in a corrupt house. In order for the Spirit to come and live inside us, we must be completely cleansed of sin.
The Spirit entered their lives. God came to them because they had heard the gospel of Christ and accepted it by faith. When God entered their lives they were still Gentiles. If God showed them that we accepted them by coming to dwell within their heart, how could they doubt His continued acceptance?
Have you noticed the work of the Spirit in your life? Do you understand that His presence in your life is a sign of His love and acceptance?
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