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Summary: 1) A believer’s experience of the Lord Jesus Christ, 2) of the Holy Spirit, and 3) of God the Father are incontrovertible evidence of having been graciously made acceptable to God through personal faith in the perfect, complete work of Christ.

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If you are a fan of classic TV, you will remember the show Bewitched. It was an American situation comedy originally broadcast for eight seasons on ABC from 1964 to 1972. The show stared Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York (1964–1969), Dick Sargent (1969–1972), Agnes Moorehead and David White. It continues to be seen throughout the world in syndication and it is the longest running supernatural themed sitcom of the 1960s–1970s. The focus of the show is on the mixed marriage of a nose-twitching witch, Samantha Stephens (Montgomery), and her mortal husband, Darrin (originally played by Dick York and later by Dick Sargent). Set in an upper middle class suburb, from which Darrin commutes to Manhatten for work, it is described by the producers as a romantic comedy, showing how true love can endure the most vexing of situations, even between a witch and a human http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bewitched. One of the cleaver results is to protray as innocent and normal, the occult.

From the first lie to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, Satan has always desired to downplay his actions as benine and confuse. The primary area upon which he desire to confuse is people’s understanding on the way of Salvation. The most successful effort has been in the almost endless combinations of world religions that all desire to have people earn God’s favor in order to achieve eternal life. God’s way is by His grace working through man’s faith. On October 31 1517 Martin Luther posted his 95 thesis on the Church door in Whittenburg for Christians to realize God’s way of salvation by Grace though faith alone.

When Paul first came to Galatia, he marveled at his gracious reception (Gal. 4:14). Now the apostle marveled at their defection from the gospel he had preached to them (1:6–7). Having received new life in Christ by faith, they had been persuaded to live out their new lives by the old way of works. They had turned back from grace to law from faith to works, from Calvary to ceremony, from freedom to bondage.

In Galatians chapters 3–4 Paul gives a classic defense of the doctrine of justification by faith, a defense he had introduced in 2:16–21. In 3:1–5 he defends the doctrine from the standpoint of personal experience, and in 3:6–4:31 from the standpoint of scriptural revelation. Paul always promoted the coherence of sound doctrine and holy living. While it is true that experience minus theology will surely lead to a distorted spirituality, it is also true that theology minus experience can only issue in a dead orthodoxy. (George, T. (2001, c1994). Vol. 30: Galatians (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (210). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)

In Galatians 3:1–5 the apostle Paul asked the Galatians a series of six rapid-fire questions, all of which he expected them to answer on the basis of their Christian experience. Paul was not so much arguing from experience as he was asking the Galatians to examine the basis of their Christian experience.

He reminds his readers that 1) A believer’s experience of the Lord Jesus Christ, 2) of the Holy Spirit, and 3) of God the Father are incontrovertible evidence of having been graciously made acceptable to God through personal faith in the perfect, complete work of Christ, apart from any human supplement.

1) THE BELIEVER’S EXPERIENCE WITH CHRIST

Galatians 3:1 [3:1]O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. (ESV)

• We are going to spend just about all our time on the first two verses

Paul beginning chapter three by addressing the Galatians as foolish probably reflects a combination of anger and love mixed with surprise. Like many believers before and after them, they had been victimized by Satan and induced to slip away from the moorings of the truth by which they had been saved. Those believers were especially foolish because they had been so carefully and fully taught.

The nature of God’s judgment described in Romans 1 and elsewhere is for those who knowingly and willingly exchange the truth of God for a lie. This implies basic mental ability to understand God’s standard but a rejection of such. This is one reason I believe God does not hold to account those who are of extreme mental impairment and babies.

Although people with leaning disability and children may not fully comprehend the ins and out of salvation and technical terms, there is a basic understanding of right and wrong (Romans 2-Conscience) the need to be sorry (repent) for doing and thinking what is wrong (sin), and failing to do what is right (God’s standard of perfect righteousness). There is the necessity to understand to some measure God’s work to provide salvation in the death of Christ and the need to trust in this work alone for eternal life.

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