Abraham’s Faith and What Christ Accomplished for all People part 5a
“So you see that it is men of faith who are the sons of Abraham.” Galatians 3:7
“Cursed be every one who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, and do them.” Galatians 3:10
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse of us.” Galatians 3:13
With the end of chapter two, Paul has concluded his proof that his gospel of justification by faith came directly from God rather than through the disciples in Jerusalem. As Paul finished chapter two, he finished by using history, and now in chapters 3 and 4 turns to theology, especially that of justification by faith and this justification by faith is the basis of Christian liberty.
As we have seen in the past, Paul breaks this into three sections. These are the lack of spiritual discernment among the Galatian believers, the fact that Abraham was justified by faith, and the fact that hope is based on crucified Christ rather than the works of the law.
Bewitched Believers (Galatians 3:1-5)
“You crazy Galatian’s” leaps off the page faster than cannon fire. Then Paul fires another shot, “Did someone put a hex on you?” Then shot number three is fired when Paul asks the question, “Have you taken leave of your senses?” Something crazy happened to you, for it is obvious that you no longer have the crucified Christ in clear focus. You have lost the light that illuminates your life, in that you no longer have the crucified Jesus in clear focus. His sacrifice on the cross was certainly set clearly before you.” (Galatians 3:1 paraphrased).
There is no question, Paul is upset. No matter how you try to translate it, Paul is upset as he cries out to the Galatians. This is the first time since Galatians 1:11 that Paul has directly addressed the Galatians and when he came back to addressing them, it is once again three rounds of cannon fire. Less across the bow and more a direct hit.
Paul, after all his effort, bluntly states how he is feeling toward the Galatians because they have caused him to become so discouraged. The reason was obvious because the Galatian church was in danger of doing the very thing that Paul had accused Peter of. By even thinking of adding circumcision and other Jewish requirements to faith as a way of becoming right with God (justified), they were nullifying the grace of God and making the death of Jesus meaningless (Galatians 2:21).
Paul was truly convinced that they had experienced a genuine conversion experience in which they had grasped both the significance of the Cross and had received the Holy Spirit. So, he urges them to remember how they had become Christians in the first place. They had not become Christian by any works of the law in fact none of us become Christian by any work done of ourselves.
Oh, you foolish Galatians and for us today, you foolish Christians. It is like Paul is telling us and the Galatians to get our spiritual act together. Many still teach that we must add works to faith to find acceptance with God and to them Paul would say, “Oh you foolish, foolish people. Please oh please get your spiritual act together and realize the error of your ways before you work your way out of heaven.
Why are the Galatians and many Christians today so foolish? Because of the failure to recognize neither the depth of human weakness nor the meaning of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. But the Galatians should have had no problem on both these points, after all, the apostle’s preaching had publicly portrayed the crucified Christ (verse 1)
The only good new between verses 1-5 comes in verse four, where Paul suggests that perhaps their past experiences hadn’t been in vain. It isn’t too late. They can still wake up and exchange their foolishness for God’s wisdom.
And that is still the case for us today. It is not too late for us to also wake up and begin to understand and experience the saving grace of the Son of God. We like the Galatians can also exchange our foolishness for God’s wisdom. When we do, then and only then will the Body of Christ fully reflect his character and truly changed the world because of the love that shines out from us.