“Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3).
That’s what Paul told the church in Galatia. It seems the saints in Galatia were starting to falter. Having started their Christian walk by the power of the Holy Spirit and by faith, they were now being sidetracked and trying to work out their salvation in the flesh. The church was mixing the pure Gospel of Jesus, which is by faith, with the Law. The Law will always lead to failure but the Gospel will “always lead us in triumphal procession in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 2:14).
Paul saw the danger of this theology and like a good shepherd, he corrected them in love. He pleaded with them to abandon all efforts that stood opposed to the pure gospel of Jesus Christ which is by faith – “from first to last.” (Romans 1:17).
While this text is referring to ceremonies of the Law and outward observances common to Jews, there is a overarching principle that we can apply to ourselves even if we do not have the same ethnic heritage. The principle is that works of the flesh will always be on a collision course with the Gospel.
We must be on guard. If we do not wash our minds with the Word of God, our thoughts can easily be lured away from a “simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:3).
I love how Paul addresses the church. “I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?” (Galatians 3:21). His question is a beautiful wake up call to anyone who is starting to bear down under the weight of doing things on your own.
The Christian walk is all of grace. Let us remember that we will finish the same way we started. By grace through faith.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–” (Ephesians 2:8)