abraham-jesus-sm

A powerful word from the apostle Paul concerning how we receive the Holy Spirit in our lives, and in the power of God versus our powers of self justification (the lack thereof). For some reason, we sometimes seem more willing to accept the writings of Paul than the words of Jesus himself, even though they very much say the same thing.

jesus-christ-crucifixion-500
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? The Galatians were Gentiles. They were always outside if the law, they had never lived under the law. Paul himself is the one who planted the church to whom he is writing, Paul himself is the one who preached Jesus upon the cross to them, Paul himself is the one who told them of the forgiveness offered by Christ as He was dying on that tree. So they had never lived under the law, and had received the Holy Spirit by pure faith in the crucified King. Yet, it seems the Galatians have been listening to certain agitators, trying to be more “legitimate” to men’s eyes by submitting to the law which was unnecessary for them.

fighting-the-works-of-the-flesh-dissensions_1200_628_80
Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? The Holy Spirit had begun to work within them…but somehow they were going to try to reach some “higher level” in their growth by following some rules or rituals put forth to them by men?? No…they (and we) are perfected by the Holy Spirit working within them, not freeing from the law by abolishing the law, but freeing from the law by abolishing and destroying the desires within which bring havoc and chaos into our lives. He frees us from the law by healing our hearts…so that our natural instinct and desire is to love God with all we are, and love our neighbors as ourself. A perfection which we could never get by following set of laws, rules or routines by our own power.

cloud
Did you suffer 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”? Not sure what suffering these believers went through, we have no evidence that the Galatian church suffered persecution. Apparently the Greek word here could also be translated “experienced”, maybe that’s a better word for talking about this church in particular…experiences and not suffering. Because they certainly experienced the love of Christ through the preaching and teaching of Paul. And what they experienced was the Holy Spirit coming upon them, working miracles within them. Paul is reminding them that those miracles came on them not because they were following the law (they weren’t), but because they believed the words they heard about Jesus Christ which they took by faith.

abraham
Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. And this is my point today. Just as Jesus went to much trouble to take his message and make the point that the kingdom of God was available to all, so Paul makes the point that all nations are to be blessed through Abraham. Abrahams faith was counted as righteousness, and so do all men and women find righteousness themselves – through faith. And through faith in Christ, the kingdom is available to all, as Paul also tells us here – “Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” Colossians‬ ‭3:9-11‬ ‭ESV‬‬. We are made in His image, and as the Holy Spirit works within us through our faith, we draw closer and closer to truly bearing his likeness in all we do. Not because we are following specific laws as best we can, but because our hearts are changing into a better representation of that image. The law is being fulfilled within us.

 

“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 by the flesh? Did you suffer 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”? Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.”

‭‭Galatians‬ ‭3:1-9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

http://bible.com/59/gal.3.1-9.esv

John Lewis

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s