O Foolish Galatians

Galatians 3:1-5

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? 2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. 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 message

The crucifixion of Jesus is the end sacrifice of the law. The "Sin of the World", all sin, has been paid by the shed blood of Jesus the Christ. With the shedding of Jesus' blood we enter a new covenant. The grace under which we walk is far greater than any other display of grace previously shown by God.

The promise

After the Saturday night resurrection of Jesus a new event comes upon the scene. Sunday night, the apostles are gathered in the upper room: confused, afraid and praying. Jesus appears among them and after proving to them it is really him, he breathes on the disciples and says receive the Holy Spirit. It is this Spirit that seals them to God and makes them a part of the kingdom. This is the born again experience.

Note: Forty nine days later, at the feast of Pentecost, they were again in the upper room when the Holy Spirit fell on them. At that time it was the anointing for ministry. They began to speak with boldness and where the speaking in tongues was first evidenced.

These two events taken together are the promise or should I say promises of God to those who believe. It is the inner leading and the outward anointing of power that enables the Christian to walk in the ways of God and changes the heart, the mind and the life of the believer.

The Lie

There were many who still believed that the old covenant needed to be followed to be saved. The law was still in effect. Circumcision was to continue to be practiced by all males who came to God. They believed that those who believed were still to be under the law. Some also believed that holiness was enhanced by the keeping of all the commandments, laws, statutes and precepts found in the Torah and also extended to the teachings of the rabbis and what they added.

Hearing of Faith

Paul went on missionary journeys. He traveled to lands near and far. His message was that Jesus is the Christ according to old testament writings and that Jesus fulfilled the prophetic requirements needed to usher in the new covenant promised by those same scriptures. This covenant was established by the blood sacrifice he made when he died upon the cross. That according to prophecy he did rise from the dead. That the Holy Spirit is being poured out. That signs and wonders and miracles are being done by those who believe.

The promise came not through obedience to the law but by the hearing of the story of the prophetic fulfillment accomplished by Jesus. The hope that such a thing could be true. As hope was building in the individual the Spirit of God breathed life into the words being received and a witness of "this is the truth" rang out in their spirit. The spirit of the hearer would cry out "amen", so be it.

New birth

The new believer accepted the truth that Jesus is the Messiah according to scripture. That Jesus died for their sin and was resurrected from the dead. That Jesus sits at the right hand of God. That Jesus is Lord of all and Lord of their life. Then the Spirit of God enters and a new creature in Christ is born into the kingdom of God.

Legacy of the flesh

The flesh is not reborn. It will be changed someday but until then it remains everyday flesh. This flesh has needs and the carnally minded want to find pleasurable ways in meeting those needs. This flesh will always exert a pressure to meet its need and is almost always at the expense of the spirit. The mind is split between the two, the flesh and the spirit. The carnally minded have death before them yet the spiritually minded have life and that abundantly.

Guide posts: for the carnal, for the spiritually dull

Paul talks about the law in two different ways. One is being under the law. The other is to uphold the law. If the law has power over you to correct, punish, etc., then you are subject to the penalties and blessings stemming from the degree of observance. Yet in the end it brings death. If on the other hand you uphold the law then you are the one establishing the law and you have power over it.

The law, when acting as guide posts, are there to keep you on a certain path. The law is there to keep you out of harms way. Whether for the carnally minded or the spiritually dull, the guide posts may change their thinking but it cannot change the heart of man for the better. Whether you are under the law or uphold the law, no flesh will be justified. Dependence on the law brings death. You are saved by faith in the completed work of Jesus on the cross when you make him lord of your life.

Read, heed, and follow his lead

The message then is to read the scriptures or go where the scriptures are taught. Pay attention to what is written or spoken. Understand what is written or spoken. Then wait on the Lord. It could happen at the moment you are reading or being taught. It could happen a day, a month or a year after reading or hearing the word that was taught. At some point the Spirit of God is going to make those words real to your spirit. Then you need to say amen. Rest or act as the Spirit gives direction. God will work in you, through you and around you because you have faith to amen the word of the Spirit who lives within you. The following of the law will never make this happen for you.

Joseph Raymond
23 April 2004

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Hamilton, Ontario, Canada