Clarity: The presence of the Spirit
Chapter 3 begins with Paul asking a series of rhetorical questions to point the Galatian believer to the ‘foolishness’ of their betrayal of the gospel. Paul, a dynamic communicator, had proclaimed that justification is only by faith in Jesus Christ from the first time he set foot in Galatia. This is why Paul refers to their spiritual carelessness as ‘foolish’ two separate times in the first 3 verses. He is hardly able to believe that those who had sat under his teaching could give way to a false doctrine.
Paul’s preaching of Jesus Christ and the Galatians acceptance of Him by faith was all done publicly. The believers there were witnesses to each others salvation by faith in Him alone. Paul’s message of the gospel demonstrates 2 things; how hopelessly lost we are, and how sufficient the atonement of His sacrifice for our sin is.
In verses 2-4, Paul makes an appeal to the Galatian believers experience with the Holy Spirit. He asks, ‘did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith’? Paul taught that the gift of the Holy Spirit is the believer’s most unmistakeable evidence of salvation as evidenced in Romans 8. A higher level of living does not bring the Holy Spirit; rather submission to the Holy Spirit, who already indwells the believer, includes a higher level of living.
In verse 5, Paul reminds the Galatian believers of God's miraculous work in their lives so that their faith will be renewed. His questions, although rhetorical in nature, call for a reaffirmation of faith. Paul’s questioning leads all believers to ask: Am I striving for sanctification by faith or by works? Only through the Spirit (not the flesh), by faith (not works), we wait for the hope of righteousness.
This week's posts were written by Myles and Gabe Chatham.