Summary: As Paul continues to defend doctrine, he asks the Galatians 6 rapid-fire questions in 5 verses.
INTRO: These next two chapters are going to be a little complicated. The 60 verses that make up Galatians 3 and 4 are said to be some of the strongest writing that Paul ever penned. His opponents, the Judaizers, were using every possible means to enslave the believers in Galatia, and Paul was not going to fight them half-heartedly. After these opening 5 verses we consider today, it’s going to become a history lesson through the Old Testament.
Remember the situation: False teachers were saying that in order to become a Christian, you needed to follow laws and traditions in addition to believing in Christ. As Paul continues to defend doctrine, he asks the Galatians 6 rapid-fire questions in 5 verses. I boiled them down to 5. The interrogation – the questions that Paul asks them here – comes after he offers his bold and harsh assessment of their condition. You can tell the intensity gets ramped up a bit.
I. Where did you get skewed? (1)
– The questions begin with name-calling! What is ironic here is that ancient Greek philosophers described the Galatians as being very intelligent people. It must have been a real slap in the face for Paul to call them foolish.
– The best way to interpret foolish is that he is accusing them of being blind or brainless. The way the word is used here indicates with strong emotion that they are without understanding or thought specifically as it related to Scripture. They had stopped thinking rationally about the effectual work of Christ on the cross. They were allowing false teachers to lead them astray into some new gospel. Paul says that he can’t believe what they have started to believe. They have a brain but they choose not to use it – just like middleschoolers!
– Paul is amazed that they have been led away from truth. It didn’t take long. Even today, it doesn’t take long for some to be blinded and sold a bill of goods and then in a short time, they are brainless. We all have people we know in life from our past or from Bible college and we wonder, “When did you start to think like that?” “When did you start getting tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine?” Every ism, schism, whim, and experience must be carefully measured up against the teaching of the Bible. If you do not take a stand for grace, you will fall for any teaching that tries to magnify man’s works.
– Next, he says they are bewitched. The word “bewitched” refers to an evil and emotional captivation and fascination. When you put your brain on hold, you are gullible. It’s easy for someone to charm or fascinate you away into a wrong way of thinking. Have you ever watched some of the preachers on TV? Some of these men and women are like slick usedcar salesmen. No offense to honest used-car salesmen out there. You wonder, how in the world would anyone in their right mind send money to these people? I want to be kind here, but they are bewitched. Their mind is on hold and their emotions are gullible.
– Why? It all appeals to pride, and my flesh, and my effort. I can do it, I can earn it, just send money in and you’ll be okay. God will take care of you. You just do this and God will do this for you. It’s all based on works and that appeals to my ego because I want to say I earned my way to heaven. It flatters me because I am responsible for my own salvation and I am duped into thinking I can save myself.
– Paul says the truth is that Jesus died on the cross according to the Scriptures. We’ll come back to that as we close today. But one quick application: we never want it to be the case in our lives or at our church that we are without understanding or thought as it relates to the Word of God. This is truth!
– What happened to the Galatians is still Satan’s goal today. He wants to seduce believers to follow false doctrine. Every believer here has a responsibility to maintain personal alertness. Be shrewd and wise and discern sound doctrine and pure grace teaching.
II. How were you saved? (2)
– This is really the peak question right here. All the others are asked in support of this question. One theologian said, “The answer to this single question should settle the whole debate.” Here’s the point: How were you saved? How did you get the Holy Spirit in your life?
– When you got saved, you got the Holy Spirit. Jesus said in John 7:39 that all those that believe will receive the Spirit. No one would have to beg or plead or work for this, but all who believe would receive the Holy Spirit.