Saturday in the Thirty-First Week of Ordinary Time

Galatians 3:1-6

Who Has Bewitched You?

Paul now moves into the body of his letter to the Galatians and uses some pretty strong words: “O foolish Galatians!  Who has bewitched you?”  In other words, who has deceived you into forsaking the gospel of grace for the anti-gospel of the law?  And then Paul says something that needs to be addressed.  He writes: “It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.”  Wait a minute!  Did he say “before their eyes?”  Why yes, he did.  But how could that be?  There were surely no Galatians at the crucifixion of Christ.  Of course not!  Then what does Paul mean when he says that Christ was publicly portrayed as such “before their eyes” when they were obviously not at that most notable event in world history?  Might I answer that this statement of Paul speaks: 1) to the timelessness of our Lord’s passion.  Granted, he was crucified over Passover in the early 30s under Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem—a historical event.  Yet, that event has swallowed up history such that it stands above history; and, 2) to the personal way that event (i.e., our Lord’s work on the cross) becomes real to us through saving faith.  Through participation in the Spirit and union with Christ, that event lives in us and we see him crucified and risen before our very eyes.  So like those Galatians, we were not there; but also like those Galatians, we were there and are there.

Paul then asked the Galatians a few pointed questions to wake them up: “Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?”  In other words, how is it that you were born again?  Did you experience the new birth by doing the right thing?  Was it by a good work which you performed in obedience to some law?  Of course not.  You were saved by hearing the gospel message and then responding in faith through the Spirit’s convicting you of your sin and convincing you of your need for Christ.  And then a little further, “Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law or by hearing with faith?”  In other words, Does the Holy Spirit work among you now through both mighty deeds and inward assurance by your checking off how many do’s you do and don’t’s you don’t?  Again, a resounding, “No!”  And then the biting, “Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”  Understand that “flesh” here means our sinful nature which the law only arouses (Romans 7:7-12).  Having been reborn by the Spirit, we can only be nurtured and perfected therein.  Righteousness has always come by one way, and that way is faith.  It was true for Abraham 2000 years before the cross; it is true these 2000 years afterwards, and ever shall be till he returns.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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