Friday, 18 March 2016
Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— Galatians 3:5
Paul, speaking to the Galatians directly, asks a question which is tied to the same logic as his words spoken to Peter in verse 2:16. He then continued with the same thought to the Galatians starting in verse 3:2.
And so he begins with, “Therefore…” In essence, “Based on these things, it is time to make a logical deduction from what we already know.” In order to get them to think it through, he forms his words into a question, beginning with a known occurrence by saying, “He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you…” These words are a general repeat of what is stated in verse 3:2, in order that the answer to the question will be as plain and obvious as possible.
It was God who supplied the Spirit, and it is He who worked miracles among those in Galatia. To this, there should be no doubt in their mind. As this is so, Paul’s following words, framed as a question, demand an answer. “…does He do it by works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”
Just as Peter was called out in the previous chapter for not thinking this issue through, the Galatians are now being called out as well. An answer is expected and it can only be the latter, “…by the hearing of faith.” The Galatians were Gentiles. They never had the law. They went directly from being pagans without God, to being saved believers who had received the Spirit and who had witnessed the miracles without having done a single deed according to the law.
As a side note, the word for “miracles” is dunamis. It can mean either miracles, such as healings, tongues, or other demonstrations of power; or it can mean a miraculous working within an individual, changing their life through the power of the Spirit. The latter is probably what Paul is thinking of. Though they may have demonstrated outward gifts of the Spirit as other early believers did, there was a greater change in the Galatians, wrought by the Spirit, and this had come about entirely apart from any works of the law. Their lives had been changed so much that they were willing to suffer for the name of Christ (as seen in verse 3:4).
Life application: With the Bible recorded, we have its words which tell us that we are saved by grace through faith; we have its words which tell us that by deeds of the law, no flesh will be justified; and we have its words which tells us explicitly (and numerous times) that the law is finished, annulled, and set aside. Based on this, it must be that we are saved apart from the law. Further, reinserting the law, which was fulfilled in Christ, is to say to God, “I know better than You.” Don’t be that crazy! Stand on the finished work of Christ alone.
Heavenly Father, with each new sunrise comes the chance to realign my life and direct my steps according to Your wishes. Yesterday is gone and it is a new day with a new chance to be an obedient child of Yours. Instill in me now the desire to start this day rightly, and to continue walking in a proper manner with each step that I take. I pray this that You will be pleased with my conduct as I trust in You all along this path of Today. Amen.