Daily Devotional Saturday 17th October

by William Moody

Galatians 3:1–6

By Faith, or by Works of the Law?

3:1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by1 the flesh? Did you suffer2 so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith—just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

Footnotes

[1] 3:3 Or now ending with
[2] 3:4 Or experience

(ESV)

Paul is getting to the very heart of how salvation occurs (v1-2). The mention of Jesus on the cross brings home how when the Gospel is distorted it brings personal dishonour to the Jesus who was crucified.

It is not through keeping the law but through faith in Christ that they’re saved and the Spirit comes into their lives. But their acceptance of the law as a part of salvation they’re moving away from a gospel and Christian life of faith to one reliant on works and human effort (v3).

These people had suffered so much because they believed in the Gospel of grace (v4), and Paul is basically asking why go through all that and then turn away from the Gospel they suffered for.

Paul is like a boxer landing one blow after another on the false teaching of salvation through the law. The Spirit comes through faith and not by the Law, and Abraham was right with God through faith and not by the Law (v5-6).

There are two ways to go: the first is by living with a reliance on what you do, or secondly by living with total reliance on Christ, His grace, His mercy and His power. Yes in living the Christian life we have to make effort, but we do so with reliance on Christ.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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