Galatians 3:1–2: “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”

March 11th, 2019 by Pastor Ed in devotional

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us not to call someone a fool, a word that means “a godless person.” Here Paul used a different Greek word that literally means to be “spiritually dull.” So Paul was not going against Jesus’ command, but rather was stating, as fact, that these young believers had become spiritually dull. His preaching had publicly displayed the true gospel of Jesus Christ before the Galatians, and they had believed him but something happened. Paul was surprised that they, after having so clearly seen that Jesus died on the cross for their sins, would change their position and be convinced that keeping the law was also necessary for salvation.

This was a corrective letter, written to challenge the error of legalism that the believers in Galatia had fallen into. It may sound strong to our ears, but Paul saw himself as being in a battle for the very lives of his spiritual children. He was out to prove that salvation is by grace alone and not earned by good works of the law. He clearly argues that to add to or supplement the work of Jesus on the cross is to in fact overthrow it. There can only be one way of salvation, and that is by faith alone in what Jesus did on the cross. This is a timeless message that must be repeated over again to each new generation of believers.

Singer/songwriter Keith Green lived an intense, sold-out, passionate life in the Spirit at full tilt. As he was maturing in Christ, he went through several phases where he tried to attain to a certain level of holiness. After many frustrating attempts and still not attaining, he wrote about it in song:

Lord, the feelings are not the same
I guess I’m older, I guess I’ve changed
And now I wish it had been explained
That as you’re growing you must remember

That nothing lasts, except the grace of God
By which I stand, in Jesus
I know that I would surely fall away, except for grace,
By which I’m saved

“LORD, keep us in Your grace, lead us by Your Spirit, and free us from the entanglements of trying to relate to You by the law.”