What Does Galatians 3:2 Mean?

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?

Galatians 3:2(NASB)

Verse of the Day

Like so many today, the Galatian Christians were turning away from the liberating gospel of grace back to the enslaving bondage of the Law. It appeared to Paul that these believers, who had been saved by the work of the Holy Spirit within, had been placed under a magic spell or an evil influence - indeed he even used the word bewitched to describe the serious nature of their departure from their faith.

Like the unbeliever who foolishly denies the existence of God, these Galatian Christians had no excuse for their departure from the glorious gospel of grace, for it had been clearly laid out for them by Paul who, in turn, had received direct revelation from the Lord Jesus Himself - and some of these revealed truths had been hidden before the foundation of the world.

Paul, like all the apostles of Christ, proclaimed that salvation is by grace through faith in the death, burial, and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ - the eternal Son of God and perfect Son of Man. Christ's finished work on the Cross was declared to be sufficient by the Father, and the final triumphant cry, "IT IS FINISHED," was announced by the Lord Jesus Himself before He gave up His spirit into the safe-keeping of the Father.

How sad that having heard and believed the saving message of the Cross and that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ's finished work alone, as written in the Scriptures, that many today follow this same pattern or reverting to legalism or seek to impose the restrictions of the Law on their brothers and sisters in Christ. To do so, renders works of the Law as the means for living godly in Christ Jesus instead our new life in Him! But it is only by the work of the Holy Spirit within the life of a Christian (who willingly bows to His guidance through love and deep gratitude) that we are enabled to live a godly life.

And so, Paul challenged the Galatians with a one searching question: "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?" Oh, this was a rhetorical question for the only answer in Scripture is that salvation is through the work of the Holy Spirit, within. Our initial salvation has nothing to do with the works of the Law and our Christian life has nothing to do with the works of the Law. Being saved, staying saved, or living the Christian life, is not dependent on keeping any form of legalistic rules - whether it be the Law of Moses, the binding rules of any religious system or denomination, or even our own self-imposed laws.

Paul was not questioning the salvation of these believers, but was reminding them of how they were saved in the first place. It is through the work of the Holy Spirit that unsaved men and women are saved through faith. The work of the Spirit is to convict the unconverted of sin of righteousness and judgement, and when that man or woman believes in their heart that they are a sinner and that Christ died for their sins and rose again the third day, the Holy Spirit, Who reads the very motives of the heart, places them into the Body of Christ - as they transfer from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son.

We were not saved by works of the Law, nor can we live our life by attempting to keep the Law. The Law was unable to save us and the Law is unable to keep us. Only Christ's DEATH on the Cross could save us, for His blood paid the price for our sins. Only Christ's resurrected LIFE is able to keep us, for the life that I now live in this body is not my life, but Christ's life in me - it is Christ in me, the hope of glory - it is Christ's life within, working the work of God within my mortal body.

Our good works did not save us, and our good works do not keep us. We received the Spirit by faith and we are to live the Christian life by faith. It is the new life in Christ that enables us to live godly in Christ Jesus. "Not I," by keeping works of the Law, "but Christ." For only in Him can we work the works of God to His praise and glory.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You that I have been saved by grace through faith in Christ. Keep me from trying to live my life by keeping laws. I know that without Your life within I can do nothing, but praise God that as I am empowered by Your Holy Spirit, I may live godly in Christ Jesus. In Jesus' name, AMEN.

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