23 August 2012Galatians 3:1-14
"Well then, does God supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?" (v. 5)
The essence of today's passage links back to the themes of identity in Galatians 2, where Paul is talking to the Galatians about the importance of our identity in Christ, and to do that having to surrender all that we are to him.
One of the big problems Paul has with the church in Galatia, is their insistence on the importance of Jewish law. A lot of Jewish law is based around this idea of "the flesh" - "Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh?" (v. 3). Paul is trying to get the church away from the idea that fulfilling the law, will bring righteousness and a relationship with God. For example, because a person is circumcised that makes them righteous - this is something that Paul is trying to discourage.
That's not the gospel (good news) Paul wants to preach, that's not the gospel Christians believe in. A relationship with God comes out of faith, comes out of humility, comes out love for each other, and comes out of an acceptance of the love and grace that God so freely pours out on us.
In today's passage is Paul trying to get the churches in Galatia to put having faith above any kind of fulfilment of the law, or any emphasis on this idea of "the flesh".
"We might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith" (v. 14). The gospel that Paul is so passionate about is one where faith in Christ is the most important factor.
- How easy do you find it to have faith? Why?
- Is there anything in your life that is like "the flesh" to the people in Galatia? What is it? And how might you resist and instead live by the Spirit?