Reflection on Gal 3:2-3Post date: 2018-02-10
Reflection on Gal 3:2-3
Chapter three of the Epistle to the Galatians begins as follows: “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?” And verses 2 and 3 continue: “This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”
In chapter two, the Apostle points out that we are not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Christ (v.16) and if justification came through the law, then Christ died in vain (v.21). So justification requires faith in Christ Jesus. And now the Apostle reveals that this faith in Christ is also necessary for man to receive the fullness of the Spirit of God like the Apostles on the Day of Pentecost. He makes it clear that one does not receive the Spirit of God by the works of the law but again, only and only by faith in Jesus. In verse 3, the Apostle says: “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” What is meant by “being made perfect by the flesh”? When one has received the Spirit of God, the initial zeal prompts him to put all his effort into living his relationship with God, living by faith, as the Word of God says: by the Spirit. However, he fails to persevere in self-surrender to and the following of Christ, and selfishly wants to decide by his own will, or he becomes a pharisee and in his spiritual pride fancies himself “somebody”. He began in the Spirit and ends with setting his mind on the things of the flesh.
In chapter five, the Apostle says that the flesh is against the Spirit: “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time of past, that those who practise such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” (v.16-23)
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