1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?
Galatians 3:1-6, English Standard Version
Knowing that the Law produces death and condemnation but not life or righteousness, the Apostle Paul was querying the Galatians as to why they were relying on the Law. The Law is unable to produce faith, maturity or the mighty workings of God experienced in their midst. His only explanation was that the Galatians were under a spell,after being beguiled and bewitched by a deceptive and defective gospel that mixes law and grace.
Paul makes it clear that it is through the hearing of faith and not the works of the law that we receive and do the things of God.
Obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit and not our ability to self-sacrifice is what moves God into action. In other words when we have faith and obey what the gospel says about our identity in Christ, we will benefit and enjoy all the blessings Christ has righteously paid for on the cross.
Unfortunately there are many believers who trust more in their own works than God’s grace to produce a godly life. They assume their self-efforts and personal discipline puts them in a better position with God. While what they do on the outside may have an appearance of holiness, but in reality it shows a lack of faith in the gospel and a disbelief in the full sufficiency and completeness in Christ’s finished work.
While the law expects holiness, it cannot produce holiness. If it could, then Christ died for nothing. It wouldn’t make sense for Paul to counter-argue what the Judaizers were teaching. Grace however produces holiness in us and gives us the ability to live holy lives that pleases God.
We do right by God not because the Law tells us to but because we are genuinely imputed with a perfect righteousness that empowers us to reign over sin and pursue a holy life.
The person who relies on his or her own works to please God will never do enough but the person who receives God’s grace gains a right standing and becomes a co heir with God. . In response to God’s love, the one who has received is empowered to give more to others around. This is the power of what the Gospel can produce to a person who has received God’s grace.
© Copyright Richard Tan, 2019.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.