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Summary: In Galatians 3:1-14, Paul has presented us with us two roads. One road is the road of curse. The other road is the road of blessing. What road are you on? Are you on the road of curse, which leads to destruction or are you on the road of blessing whi

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The Curse or the Cross?

Galatians 3:1-14

In our study last week we noticed how Paul transitioned form arguing his authority as an apostle to teaching the foundational doctrine of Christian of justification by faith alone. Paul will spend chapters three and four expanding on his teaching about justification by faith.

The reason that Paul is writing with such urgency is on account of the false teachers that were leading the Galatians away from the doctrine of justification by faith alone. The false teachers were teaching that faith in Christ is not enough, one also had to keep the Jewish Law. This false teaching, according to verse twenty-one of chapter two, nullifies the grace of God. If one could become righteous by keeping the Law, the Christ Jesus died needlessly.

Paul writes to the Galatian church with such urgency because he believes that they are true believers who are being led astray by false teacher.

Notice the urgency that Paul speaks to the Galatian church with in verse one, “ You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you…” I like how some of the modern translations read. One reads, “You idiot Galatians.” Another reads, “You stupid Galatians.” Paul’s language gives us insight into Paul thinking. He can’t understand how they as believers in Christ Jesus can fall under the power of the false teachers. That word “Bewitched” means to be cast under a spell. They were cast under a spell that led them to nullify the grace of God revealed in the truth of the gospel.

The reason that Paul is astonished at their condition as believers is revealed in the last part of verse one, “ You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.” The Greek word “ prographa” is the word that we translate “publicly portrayed”. It literally means, “to write before”. The word conveys the idea of posting a public advertisement for all to see. Paul says to the Galatians that he posted before their eyes Christ crucified.

The Galatians know that Paul presented Christ crucified to them and that one can only be justified by placing faith in the crucified Christ. Paul can’t understand how the Galatians can be so foolish to believe anything else. The only way that they could have been led astray from the truth of justification by faith in the Crucified Christ is by taking their eyes off the crucified Christ.

Paul, believing that the Galatians are true believers, tries to put them back on the right path by laying out the evidence for justification by faith alone. He does so because he wants them as individuals and as a church to get back on the right path that has the crucified Christ always before their eyes.

The evidence that Paul sets fourth in the first fourteen verses will determine whether a person is spellbound our heaven bound. Of course, if the evidence reveals that you have never been justified by faith in Christ you are more than just spellbound, tragically you are hell bound. Consequently, the question to you today is which one are you? Are you hell bound, spellbound, or heaven bound? In the first five verses of chapter three Paul sets forth the personal evidence of justification by faith.

I. The Personal Evidence of Justification by Faith

Notice verses two through five, “This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? [3] Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? [4] Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? [5] So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?”

Paul is pointing the Galatian believers to their personal experience with the Spirit of God. At issue is whether salvation comes by works or by faith. The evidence that one is a true Christian is the Spirit of God. Paul asks the Galatians believers some questions, not for his benefit, but for theirs. The questions are also given for our benefit also. Examine your life in light of these questions. The first question deals with the moment a person becomes a true Christian, that is, the moment a person begins the Christian life. When you became a Christian how did you receive the Holy Spirit?

a. How did you receive the Holy Spirit?

Paul asked a profound question in verse two, “This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?” Paul is assuming that he is talking with true believers, and that they know what he is talking about. Paul is referring to the reality that the Holy Spirit indwells the person who believes and trust in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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