You fools! (Galatians 3 v 1-9)
If the first two chapters of Galatians are Paul's personal defence—using his personal history to prove the message he
preaches is a direct revelation from God—in chapters 3 and 4 we get Paul's theological defence of the gospel. He's outlining the essential content of the gospel message, and defending it with a variety of arguments.
The gospel and Galatia
Read Galatians 3:1
Paul begins by reminding the Galatians how they came to Christ from paganism.
• What was presented to them (v 1)?
• How did they respond (v 2—think about what answer Paul expects from his question!)?
• Who did they receive as a result of their response (v 2)?
That is how the Galatians had begun as Christians. But now they'd foolishly begun to think they needed to do something else to keep going as Christians.
• What had they begun relying on to “attain [their] goal” (v 3)?
Paul is warning the Galatian Christians that it is easy to fall back into worksrighteousness as we try to overcome sin and live the Christian life. But we need to deal with sin not through relying on “human effort”, but by “believing what you heard”—the gospel.
The starting point of each day of our lives as Christians is to say to ourselves what Martin Luther, the great 16th-century reformer, did each morning: “You are accepted”. Through Jesus, whatever we do, or don’t do, we are still accepted.
The Christian life begins through faith in Christ crucified alone. And it continues through faith in Christ crucified alone—
which this church had forgotten!
The gospel and Abraham
Read Galatians 3:6
• What did Abraham “do” (v 6)?
• What did God give Abraham on the basis of him doing this (v 6)?
TIME OUT… Read Genesis 15:1 to see the background to Galatians 3 v 6.
This gives us a great insight into what “believing”, or faith, is. It is trusting God to do what He’s said He will do; knowing that He’s able to do what we cannot do.
• How is Abraham's saving faith a model for us (v 9)?
• Are you asking God's Spirit to keep you going and growing as a Christian; or are you relying on your own efforts?
• Do you live and think and pray as though it is your faith which saves you, or as though it is your deeds?
This devotional is taken from Explore—a daily Bible-reading devotional from the good book company which enables you to engage with Scripture and which will encourage, equip and inspire you to live for Christ. Explore features contributions from pastors such as Dr Timothy Keller, Mike McKinley and Tim Chester.
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