Paul has presented himself in good standing and righteous living/preaching of the Gospel and now he turns his focus back to the Galatians who have been confused by the missionaries who preached a perverse gospel to them, and they accepted it. Paul rebukes the Galatians once again for their susceptibility to the missionaries preaching.
Later in this letter Paul will stress that Jesus Christ has given us entrance to the Kingdom Of God, personally and within the community of believers, and old laws no longer apply. “Christ has set us free,” (Gal. 5:1). In today’s Scripture Paul presents the facts that to choose the former 613 laws of the Torah is to reject what Christ has done on the Cross to free us for Holy Spirit living.
Paul invites us to recall when we first came to Christ; salvation’s event in our lives. We had an outpouring of God’s grace, in that Jesus Christ forgave all sins within us and the Holy Spirit’s outpouring of transformation was unforgettable. From that time onward our cherished oneness with Christ gave us His miracles because He Lives in our hearts and Holy Spirit speaks, guides, instructs us. Holy Spirit advocates to God on our behalf when we pray, molding our prayers to the will of God. And Holy Spirit enables us to be in the world but not of the world.
For the Galatians the misnomer from the missionaries was that they had to be circumcised to be saved. We have a misnomer today. Some preach that you have to have a second blessing– a second filling of the Holy Spirit. Yet Jesus Himself tells us that New Birth fills you completely with the Holy Spirit. That’s all we need, nothing additional. After that experience believers recognize the gifts or awaken within our souls to the gifts and fruits. (John 3, 1 Cor. 12:8-10, Gal. 5:22-23)
Our faith increases as we internalize Christ Jesus’ teachings, commandment, and promises. God honors our faith and brings us into greater and greater revelations of our original salvation event. We grow in faith, abiding in the Truth In Christ, and stand firm to serve Christ Jesus with all that we are, have, and do. At salvation’s moment the Holy Spirit fills us with all of Spirit holding nothing back. Sanctified, Paul’s word for the continual transformation of our souls to be more like Christ over our lifetimes, we are perfected in Christ Jesus
One powerful thing that Paul reminds the Galatians of is that they saw Jesus crucified as the story is told through preaching. They saw His passion for us! We have that too! They set their hearts and minds on Jesus for salvation and received it. The proof that they have New Birth is that Holy Spirit is in them and they now see with God’s Kingdom eyes. (Luke 11:33-36) Just like the Galatians, we are witness to Jesus Christ’s awesome activities in our lives! No one is spiritually deficient when we have experienced the New Birth in Christ.
Now the Gospel passion narratives had not been written at this time. Paul is instructing the Galatians’ in faith security/growth through Gospel preaching and Holy Spirit community guidance. We have the same balance today in Biblical preaching and Holy Spirit obedience. This is Cross centered preaching.
Paul asks this central question, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit by observing the Torah or by believing what you heard?” v. 2. This is Paul’s first reference to Holy Spirit in this letter. Holy Spirit is the single sufficient sign of adoption into God’s family and therefore circumcision is not necessary (the missionaries had said it was necessary in order to receive salvation).
The logic of Paul’s argument closely resembles Peter’s argument at the conversion of Cornelius and household in Acts 10:1-11:18. The Gospel is preached and the Holy Spirit is poured into accepting hearts. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. (Romans 10:16-17).
The missionaries have told the Galatians that they must be circumcised. Paul scoffs at the thought that the missionaries say that the flesh must be perfected; foolish he says. Paul encourages the Galatians to understand that their faith experience has not been in vain. Think of when you first came to Christ, he says. The experience of the Holy Spirit is a powerful life transforming event.
Combining Genesis 12:3 with Genesis 18:18/22:18, Paul highlights Abraham as the start of blessings for all children of God and Jesus Christ as the One Promised in which all Gentiles receive the promise of salvation. For, Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”— in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. vs. 13-14. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the blessing of Abraham. v. 14
You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly exhibited as crucified! 2 The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? 4 Did you experience so much for nothing?—if it really was for nothing. 5 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?
6 Just as Abraham “believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” 7 so, you see, those who believe are the descendants of Abraham. 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.” 9 For this reason, those who believe are blessed with Abraham who believed.
10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the things written in the book of the law.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law; for “The one who is righteous will live by faith.” 12 But the law does not rest on faith; on the contrary, “Whoever does the works of the law will live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”— 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Galatians 3:1-14
3 thoughts on “They Saw Jesus Crucified”
Wonderful, rich insight! Thank you!
Holy Spirit is blessing you Jennifer. Praise to Christ our Lord.
I join you in praising Him! He truly is!