1Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. 2Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. 3How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? 4Have you experienceda so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it?
5I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ.
Did you start your Christian life in the Spirit, or in works? And if in works, was it really started then, or did it really start when you encountered the Holy Spirit?
Are you growing in the Holy Spirit, or have you gone back to depending on your works instead of the Holy Spirit?
What would temp you to put faith in your own works or good deeds? Who?
So much to learn from so few verses!
We must guard our faith. Obviously the Galatians had accepted the Good News in faith. They obviously had a relationship with Jesus and the Lord had sent the Holy Spirit into their lives. And yet Paul is warning them about going backwards and telling them they are being foolish. We must also guard our faith and our relationship. We cannot take for granted that we will always be growing closer to Christ. It does not work that way.
And what were the Galatians doing wrong? They were trying to be closer to God by following the rules. Following the rules sounds like a good thing. We all do it and it usually works. But Christ does not want that from us. Christ wants a life of Spirit filled closeness to him. We cannot think that if we do this action and say this prayer and go to this church that we are close to Jesus. Doing good and praying and going to church are good things but they must be the effects of a loving relationship with God, not the cause of our relationship with God.
Finally, Paul asks “does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law?” This begs the question of us – do we see the Holy Spirit and miracles in our lives in the first place? Paul takes for granted that the Galatians see this active God. Do we? And if not, why not?
Oh Lord, please help me to break free from faith in works and rituals and live in a dynamic, living, active, miraculous relationship with You. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and help me to live in Your Spirit. Holy Spirit bring true life and love to the works and the rituals that I do because you are alive in me.