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Galatians 3 (ESV)

 

By Faith, or by Works of the Law?

1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

 

The Righteous Shall Live by Faith

10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall 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 is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

 

REFLECTION:

  • We all want to be accepted. We do everything we can to win people's approval and avoid their rejection. But if we work so hard to please people, then what about God? How can we possibly meet His standards? The Galatians felt these inner struggles. They wanted to be fully accepted by God. But they seemed to forget that God had already accepted them. They also forgot why.
  • The Galatians had been taught that they had received the Holy Spirit by faith and not by obeying the law. However, they still thought it was too simplistic to be saved by faith only.  They wanted to have some rules and creeds to follow in order to feel closer to God.
  • For us modern day believers, spiritual exercises such as prayer and Bible reading as well as serving may help us grow spiritually but it can never replace the work of the Holy Spirit.
  • In what ways do we sometimes try to earn God's favor by what we do?

 

PRAYER:

Spend some time thanking God for what Christ has done for us as described in these verses.