Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Galatians | Session 12 | 3:1-5

We continue in our study of the book of Galatians today where Paul is doubling down against the false teaching that was being introduced to them that they must also keep the law in addition to faith to be saved.

Verse 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 accuses them of being foolish and bewitched. Interestingly, some of the other translations omit that ye should not obey the truth and among you. I do not understand that because that is the entire point that he is making because they are not obeying the truth of his gospel.

The phrase evidently set forth implies that he is referring to written resources. Yet, in spite of that, they had been bewitched into thinking that the gospel of grace was not enough to save them, and they needed works as well.

Verse 2: This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? His question is simple, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit by works or by faith?" Of course, it is rhetorical in nature. Again, we must remember that he is addressing Jewish grace believers.

Verses 3-4: Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. His question is, "Are you so foolish as to believe that what your received by faith must now by kept by works?"

The word perfect means complete. It was actually an insult to think that the Holy Spirit could not finish what He had started or needed their help to do so.

The question have ye suffered so many things in vain implies that they had apparently already suffered for their faith at the hands of other Jews and to walk away now would make those sufferings in vain.

Verse 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? Paul is either referring to himself and his first visit with them or he is referring to God, i.e., the Holy Spirit? If he is referring to himself, it would be in reference to his ministry pre-acts 28 because of the mentioned miracles. Of course, either way, the answer is faith and not works. The bottom line is that Paul never told anyone to do anything other than believe to receive the Holy Spirit unlike Peter who had told them that they must repent and be baptized (Acts 2:38).

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