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How should we live then?

You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it? Galatians 3:2-4

Paul won’t allow the Galatian Christians to blame anyone else for their falling away; they have minds to think with, but in throwing away the riches of Christ for the poverty of legalism, they are acting stupidly. They have been deceived, but willingly. Paul is especially exasperated because they originally believed the message about Jesus Christ, whom he proclaimed “as crucified.” Paul was consistent here with his preaching everywhere: “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). The cross dominates Paul’s theology of salvation by grace; if legalism could have saved the Galatians, then Jesus need not have died (Galatians 2:21). The cross depicts the love of God and the grace that saves. The Galatians heard Paul gladly when he preached this message to them then. What has happened to their faith now? In effect, Paul was saying to them, “In the beginning you enjoyed a close personal relationship with God himself through His Spirit. Whatever He asked you to do He gave you the power to accomplish through the Spirit. Will you throw away that assistance and go back to sweating out your salvation by your own uncertain merit and energy?” If they do so, to go back to relying to human effort, it’s foolishness. The Galatian Christians, like all early Christians, were persecuted for their faith in Jesus. Difficulties are associated with walking in the Lord, to be sure, but tough times must be expected in any walk of life. Every believer may have had some troubles, but you have also been given the very best life has to offer; was it wasted on you? Were you like children, who don’t know the value of a treasure when they receive it? “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves” (2 Corinthians 4:7).


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