We come now to the central section of Galatians (chs.3/4).This is about how to become a child of Abraham. Paul has to persuade the Galatians that the gift of righteousness is by faith, and not by observing the works of the law.
In chapter 2, as we have seen, Paul has not spared the leaders of the church for caving in to pressure from the Judaizers. Here he gives the church its share of the message! ‘’You crazy Galatians! Did someone put a hex on you? Have you taken leave of your senses? Something crazy has happened, for it’s obvious that you no longer have the crucified Jesus in clear focus in your lives. His sacrifice on the Cross was certainly set before you clearly enough.’’ The Message. His essential point is that salvation is through faith in the crucified Jesus. This is how you receive the Spirit. This is the doorway into the life of the miraculous. It’s not by keeping the law, but it is by trust in Jesus alone. ‘’Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? The Message. Paul then moves Abraham to front of stage as the prototype of the people of faith (6-9). He is the father of all who have faith, both Jews and Gentiles. Abraham’s salvation did not come through the law (which was not yet given) but by faith in God. We must not allow anyone to move us from this central truth. Salvation is not by faith plus anything. It is by faith in Christ alone. If we try to add anything to the gospel beyond simple belief in Jesus, we end up devaluing the cross. That was not something Paul could be happy about it (6:14, 15).
It may be that good questions are superior to good answers (1-5). We see the power of excellent questioning in the ministry of Jesus. Perhaps the best teachers are those who pose the right questions. Paul, in these verses, bombards the Galatian Christians with questions. In trying to help fellow Christians grow in Christ, may God give us the wisdom to pose the questions that will stimulate and promote forward movement.
Here’s a question for you to consider today. When you became a Christian you were probably very much aware of the Holy Spirit’s work in bringing this about (3). But have you in any way ceased to rely on the Spirit and have you started to try to do things by self-effort? We are saved through the gospel and we must learn to live by the gospel, day after day.
Prayer: Jesus keep me near the cross. Let me never stray from central the truth of Christ crucified for my sins. May I never glory except in the cross of Christ.