Galatians 3:1-9

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2 weeks ago
Chapters 3 and 4 = Doctrinal: A Defense of Justification by Faith


Galatians 3:1 “You foolish Galatians! Who has cast a spell on you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?”
Galatians 3:2 “I only want to learn this from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by believing what you heard?”
Paul acknowledged that they had received the Holy Spirit.
Paul uses two words that are worthy of note when posing his hypothetical question to the Galatians in verse 2. First is elabete, which means, “to receive.” At times, the term can be used to describe receiving something as a result of personal initiative, but in the context Paul is clearly emphasizing the passive aspect of the receiver. In other words, what the Galatians “received,” they did so by no merit of their own. Paul couples this term with the phrase “believing what you heard” or “hearing with faith” (ESV). Much ink has been spilled on this phrase and its meaning, but it mirrors Paul’s statement in Romans 10:17 that “faith comes from what is heard and what is heard comes through the preached word of Christ.” Together, he confronts the Galatians with their spiritual reality—the grace they possess in Christ is not something they earned. Rather, it is a free gift received through believing what they heard. Both terms emphasize a passive posture on the part of the Galatians, which is true for us today as well. The Spirit within us is not achieved by our merit, but through embracing the free gift of grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
Galatians 3:3 “Are you so foolish? After beginning by the Spirit, are you now finishing by the flesh?”
Galatians 3:4 “Did you experience so much for nothing—if in fact it was for nothing?”
Galatians 3:5 “So then, does God give you the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law? Or is it by believing what you heard—”
Galatians 3:6 “just like Abraham who believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness?”
Galatians 3:7 “You know, then, that those who have faith, these are Abraham’s sons.”
Galatians 3:8 “Now the Scripture saw in advance that God would justify the Gentiles by faith and proclaimed the gospel ahead of time to Abraham, saying, All the nations will be blessed through you.”
Galatians 3:9 “Consequently, those who have faith are blessed with Abraham, who had faith.”


This week
Galatians 5:12 “I wish those who are disturbing you might also let themselves be mutilated!”
Matthew 23:5 “They do everything to be seen by others: They enlarge their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.”
There is was a fear of what others would think about them. Religion is still worried about the outside or things that are tangible.
The Gospel makes us free from what others think of us.
Calls them back to their conversion story as a reminder.
We left off in chapter 2 with Paul’s account of confronting Peter in his hypocrisy and demonstrating how the gospel of Jesus Christ is one that transforms us by faith for a life of fruitful obedience. As we turn our attention to chapter 3, Paul is going to begin appealing to a series of arguments that illustrate the fundamental truth that we are justified, or declared righteous through faith and not our own works.
How is legalistic religion different from the gospel? (It puts the emphasis on the outside and is concerned with what others see, which Jesus condemned throughout His ministry; see Matt. 23:5)
The church was meant to be centered around the message that focused on three words: God, grace, and Gospel. However, there were religious leaders in the early church who came in and wanted to add to the list rules, regulations, and restrictions. (By-Laws and constitution & Christmas season debacle)
James Merritt: The church was meant to be centered around the message that focused on 3 words: God, grace, and Gospel. The Gospel says everyone can have a relationship with God and be God because of His grace. Because of God, and the grace of God, and the Gospel of God, we are free from the shackles of legalism. We don’t have the be good enough for God, because we can never be good enough for God. Jesus was good enough for all of us. Once we accept Jesus and his free gift of grace, through faith in Him, God completely and totally accepts us.
We Look to the Son. He realizes there is always going to be a struggle in really believing that God accepts us just because of His grace, and it has nothing to do with how good we are.
The vast majority of this world have been convinced that they can earn their way to God, that they can work their way to God, and that if they keep enough rules, abide by enough regulations, effect enough restrictions, then God will accept them.
We Live by the Spirit. Paul is trying to make the point that the Spirit of God never bypasses the Son of God. The only way the Spirit of God will come to live within you is through you surrendering your life to Christ. It is not enough to just hear the Gospel with your ears. It is not enough to just believe the Gospel in your head. You must receive the Gospel in your heart. When you do that, you receive the Spirit of God, and He is the one who changes your life.
We look to the Scripture. The Galatians were saying Jesus is not enough and God’s grace is not enough for God to accept them. Instead, they insisted in performing, living up to a certain standards, and keeping the rules and regulations of the law.
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