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Remembering What the Lord Has Done in Your Life 

You foolish Galatians! Who has cast a spell on you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? 2 I only want to learn this from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by the Spirit, are you now finishing by the flesh? 4 Did you experience so much for nothing—if in fact it was for nothing? 5 So then, does God give you the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law? Or is it by believing what you heard (Galatians 3:1-5)

 

In this section, Paul uses the Galatians' own personal experiences as evidence against the claim of the Judaizers that salvation could only be gained through works. Paul starts with a very strong statement, “You foolish Galatians!” They had fallen under the “spell” of the Judaizers, believing that Christ’s death on the cross was not sufficient for salvation. Paul clearly preached the gospel message of Jesus Christ, that, as one of my favorite commentators, Max Anders states, “They were now rejecting what they had seen, through Paul’s preaching, with their own mind’s eyes”

 

From verses 2 to 5, Paul uses a series of rhetorical questions to show that salvation is through faith alone, not by works. First question, “Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by believing what you heard?” The obvious answer should be that the Spirit came within them through their faith in Christ.

 

Second, “After beginning by the Spirit, are you now finishing by the flesh?” Paul states that they are being foolish for thinking that they could start off in their growth with faith then shift to try to gain maturity through work and human effort alone. The Holy Spirit continues to work through the believer.

 

Third, “Did you experience so much for nothing—if in fact it was for nothing?” Paul is challenging them to reflect on all the wonderful blessings they had experienced and received from the Holy Spirit within their lives. By then turning to a focus on works, they were throwing away those memories and the work the Holy Spirit does within their lives, especially in sanctification and salvation.

 

Fourth and final question, “So then, does God give you the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law? Or is it by believing what you heard?” Simply put, the Holy Spirit comes into the lives of the believer by grace and not by works of the law.

 

The believers of the church at Galatia had forgotten what the Lord had done for them in their lives, bestowing them the Holy Spirit when they believed in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Paul calls them to remembrance; of what the Lord had done on the cross and what blessings He has given them. We too are prone to forgetting all the blessings of God in our lives, especially when we face challenging trials and tribulations. In those moments, may we remember and reflect on the grace the Lord has given us and rely on the Holy Spirit that He has gifted to those who believe in Him.

 

Blessings,

Isaac De Guzman

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