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Don’t Be Foolish

As we continue our journey through Galatians, today we begin chapter 3.  There are a few things that need to remember as begin:

  1. False teachers are spreading a “false gospel” among the Galatian churches, which Paul calls not a gospel at all.
  2. Paul is being discredited by these false teachers by their attacks on his authority and apostleship.
  3. Paul gives evidence to why his gospel and mission are not from, but from the Lord, as well as his unity with the Jerusalem apostles.
  4. The message of the false teachers, also called Judaizers, is that faith must be supplemented by works of the Law for you to be  a Christian.

In chapter 3, Paul has had a enough and lets the Galatians have it.  He has spent the first two chapters showing them what is wrong with the Judaizers message.  Now, he begins questioning them as to why they are following the Judaizers.  Why are they falling for this false gospel which is no gospel at all. Paul says You foolish Galatians.  He tells them that they are being foolish in dropping the gospel he preached for the one the Judaizers are preaching.  This is not an ear tickling message that Paul is giving.  He isn’t worried about their feeling.  He hits them right between the eyes with what he thinks about their current state.

Paul next comments on the state of their being by wondering Who has bewitched you?  Notice the underlying message of what Paul is saying.  He is stating that, in reality, the only people who are not bewitched are those who have come to know Christ.  Another way for Paul to have said this is “What kind of spell are you under?”  Paul is seriously wondering what kind of power do the Judaizers have over the Galatians.  After all, Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.  In other words, Paul preached the gospel to them which is the means to salvation.

Paul’s next questions is simple: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law or by hearing with faith?  Paul takes them back to their time of salvation.  He reminds them that with salvation the Spirit came into their lives and he wonders with them if that came through works or by faith?  The obvious answer is faith, since that is the gospel Paul proclaimed.

Paul continues his anti-how to win friends and influence people message by asking them another question: Are you so foolish?  For the second time, Paul calls the Galatians foolish.  Paul is hammering the point home that abandoning the gospel of grace for a false gospel of works is just plain foolish.

Paul’s next question leads us to a big theological word.  Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?  Paul is bringing up sanctification here.  In essence, what Paul is asking them is were you saved by faith (and notice the Spirit’s role in salvation) only to have to work for sanctification?  This is an important lesson for us  to realize that our faith begins with the Spirit and continues with the Spirit.  We can’t do it ourselves.  We have to rely on the Lord for our salvation to continue to sanctification, our becoming who are to be in Christ.

Paul wraps up this set of verses by taking the Galatians back to their lives as they came to know Christ.  Did you suffer so many things in vain – if indeed it was in vain?  Coming to salvation through faith in the gospel Paul preached had brought suffering into the Galatians lives.  Had they suffered  that only to abandon their faith? Faith and miracles had taken place in their lives.  Does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you do it by the works of the Law or by hearing with faith?  Paul is telling the Galatians to look at the evidence.  Did you come to faith in Christ by the Law?  Did He send the Spirit by the Law?  Do miracles come through the Law?  Paul is obviously saying no.

What can we take away from these verse?

1.  Reality comes by faith through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

2.  Salvation comes though hearing by faith.

3.  The Spirit’s presence in our lives is evidence of salvation.

4.  Sanctification is result of faith, not works, as well.

5.  Suffering and miracles may be part of our lives of faith.

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