The foolish Galatians!
Scripture reading for September 16th: Galatians 2:17-3:7
“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Galatians 2:19-21) Paul understood the law. He had lived as a strict Pharisee for most of his life and knew the frustration of trying to live by that law. The law could only reveal his sin and guilt, not produce righteousness. When Paul met Christ on the Damascus road, he finally understood the grace of God. He understood how Christ called men to a life of faith, giving them righteousness as a gift through identification with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. If men could become righteous by keeping the law, then Christ’s death was in vain.
Some of the Galatians were being seduced by false teachers into leaving the grace of God and turning to the works of the law. Paul called them ‘foolish’ and ‘bewitched’! (Galatians 3:1) “I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing–if it really was for nothing? Does God give you His Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?” (Galatians 3:2-5) Paul’s series of questions had an obvious answer! It was by faith through believing what they heard that God’s gift of the Spirit was poured out on them. Human effort can never earn God’s grace.
“Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham.” (Galatians 3:6-7) Paul pointed these Galatians to Abraham as a second witness of the need to believe. Without faith it is impossible to please God! (Hebrews 11:6) Are you living by faith today? Believing in Christ is the only path to righteousness! Lord, keep us from foolishness!