Let’s pick up our study in the book of Galatians today in v.1, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?” He calls them foolish because they gave in to the teaching of the false teachers. They had begun to believe that their salvation was conditioned upon faith plus something else. That’s fatal! Listen, my friend, if you think that you have to do something more than place your faith in the completed work of Christ upon the cross to gain salvation, you are no longer trusting in Christ to save you. You are trusting in yourself!
It reminds me of Jesus in the Garden just prior to his crucifixion when he prayed, “if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” What Jesus was saying in essence was, “If there is another way of salvation for these people, don’t make me do this.” The human side of Jesus did not want to go to the cross. Of course, there is no other way of salvation and he was promptly arrested, tried and crucified. That was His Father’s answer.
And yet, many run around today thinking that they have to be baptized, join some kind of a church, speak in tongues, pray a rosary, participate in a sacrament, etc…etc…. Listen to me… while some of those things are necessary for the obedient walk of a Christian, they are not necessary for salvation. Anyone who tells you differently is a liar and misrepresenting the Gospel of Christ either out of shear ignorance or manipulation. There’s no middle ground on this issue!
Notice v.2, “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” He asks how they were saved initially; by faith or the Law? The answer is obviously by faith. You can not be saved by keeping the Law my friend. It will always condemn you.
Notice v.3, “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” If the flesh couldn’t save you, then how is it able to perfect you? It’s not!
Notice v.4, “Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.” Now, he is forced to doubt their salvation. Why? They were no longer accepting Christ’s sacrifice on the cross but their works of the flesh! We will also find Paul saying in 4:11, “I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.” Paul had reached the point that had begun to doubt whether or not they were really saved.
I, as a pastor, have been forced to do the same. There are people in my church that say all of the right things when you ask them, but in reality, a close examination of their lives reveals quite the opposite. They think and act like heathens! It is obvious that their minds have not been truly transformed (Romans 12:2). Yes, I know that the Bible says that we are to judge no man, but it also says that we are inspect the “fruit” of every man who claims to be a Christian. Jesus said, “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.”
Notice v.5, “He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” The miracles and goodness of God; do they come from faithful keeping of the Law of Moses or by faith through the Spirit? By faith through the Spirit, of course! The Spirit was given to each of us when we heard and believed. Acts 10:44 says, “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.” So too, with each of us. Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” God our Father has made all things depend on faith so that whoever has faith will have everything, and whoever does not have faith will have nothing.