Chapters 3 and 4 is the doctrinal part of this book. Here Paul explains the relationship between Law and grace, teaching that salvation is by grace through faith alone apart from the works of the Law.
Paul had preached the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith as well as Christian liberty to the Galatians clearly and effectively to the best of his knowledge and his abilities to them when he had first started the churches there. He can hardly believe and understand how quickly and easily they have been led astray by the false doctrines of his enemies specifically the Judaizers
Illustration 1: On Being Deceived
A man is deceived if he is a hearer and not a doer of the Word (James 1:22).
A man is deceived if he says that he has no sin (1 John 1:8).
A man is deceived when he thinks himself to be something when he is nothing (Gal. 6:3).
A man is deceived when he thinks himself to be wise with worldly wisdom (1 Cor. 3:18).
A man is deceived when he seems to be religious and does not bridle his tongue (James 1:26).
A man is deceived when he thinks that he will not reap what he sows (Gal. 6:7).
A man is deceived when he thinks that evil company will not corrupt good morals (1 Cor. 15:33).
A man is deceived when he thinks that the unrighteous will inherit the kingdom of God (heaven) (1
Now Satan will try to deceive you to not pay attention to the above. Will you let him? A Treasury of Bible Illustrations.
I. Their Foolishness (Gal. 3:1)
A. The word “foolish” comes from the word “anoatos” which Thayer says “not understanding, unwise. Paul is asking them why they are dull in their understanding. The Galatians were deemed as foolish, as someone with no understanding, or unintelligible. He was not talking about their lostness but their looseness in their senses. He was not calling them fools but foolish.
B. Many of the Galatians have been “bewitched”. The word bewitched means clever persuasion, charmed, or misled by flattery and false promises. The Greek word for “bewitched” is used only once in the NT and does not necessarily refer to witchcraft. The meaning is “fascinated” or “deceived”. The Judaizers charmed the Galatians into
C. It was “Christ and Him crucified” that Paul had preached in Galatia, and with such effectiveness that the people could almost see Jesus crucified for them on the cross.
The words evidently set forth translate a Greek word that means “publicly portrayed, or announced on a poster.” just as we put important information on a poster and display it in a public place, so Paul openly presented Christ to the Galatians, with great emphasis on His death for sinners on the cross. They heard this truth, believed it, and obeyed it; and as a result were born into the family of God.
Illustration 2: Joseph Stalin
Despite the mind-numbing brutality of the Joseph Stalin regime in the Soviet Union, his propaganda machine did its job well. Many Russians hailed him as a hero and a savior, including a young school girl who was chosen to greet Stalin on one occasion.
Years later, this woman recalled Stalin taking her onto his lap, smiling like a loving father. She was starry-eyed, and she cherished the moment for many years. Only later did she learn that during this
period, Stalin had her parents arrested and sent to the labor camps, never to be seen again. Today in the Word, October, 1997, p. 36
II. Four Questions (Gal. 3:2-5)
A. Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? (Gal. 3:2) How did you receive the Holy Spirit? Is it by faith or by the works of the Law? The of course by faith. The Galatians received the Holy Spirit when they were saved (Rom. 8:9, 1 Cor. 12:13, 1 Jn. 3:24, 4:13) not by keeping the Law of Moses. “By the hearing” here means the act of hearing or the willingness to listen by faith. We
must have a desire to listen to grace. Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
B. “Are ye so foolish, having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3): He asks them once more how could they have became so dull of hearing and so inept in understanding the truth they had previously been given. The Galatians had begun on the right path and were fully directed by the Holy Spirit and now they had plunged down the path of fleshliness and works. Faith only required
believing and grace, whereas works required a rigid set of carnality and earthliness.
C. Have ye suffered so many things in vain? The third question looked back on the persecution the apostles and new believers experienced in the region of Galatia. As Paul and Barnabas retraced their steps at the end of the first missionary journey, they warned the Galatian converts that they would suffer as Christians (Acts 14:21- 22). Persecution evidently soon followed, and Paul reminded them that if they
turned from grace to Law, they would brand their former position in error and would then have suffered so much for nothing. But the apostle was unwilling to believe that this was so.
D. On what basis did God perform miracles? That miracles were performed among the Galatians by divine power was recorded in the Book of Acts (14:3,8-11). It was clear, furthermore, that these supernatural works were not the result of the works of the Law but from the hearing that leads to faith. The Galatians did not know the Law, and Paul’s message was that of justification by faith.
Illustration 3: Legalism or Love?
Ancil Jenkins shares this illustration:
” ‘Fasten your seat belt,’ I said to my wife, Elaine, the other day. ‘It is the law, you know.’ As she fastened her seat belt, I thought, ‘Dummy, that is not the reason you want her buckled up. You want her protected from the harm of any accident you might drive her into.’ How shallow would be my concern if I was more in fear of paying a fine than in her being seriously hurt!
“How much this can describe our approach to our obedience to God! Almost all we do is from mixed motives. Yet which motive is overriding? Do we obey because we fear God’s wrath and judgment?
Do we feel He will break our leg or burn down our house if we disobey? Do we feel that Christianity is just a set of rules to be obeyed and our satisfaction comes from doing a good job of keeping rules?
“The result of such an attitude will only breed fear and guilt. Fear comes from any failure to obey, and there will be such failure. Guilt comes from many sources, such as finding there was a law you
had been failing to obey. Any failure at perfect obedience can lead to regarding some laws as more important than others. All this can lead to a disregard of others who do not keep laws as well as we do (Luke 18:1). It can lead us to giving more attention to the minute details and neglecting the major virtues God desires us to have (Matt. 23:23). We become ridiculous gnat strainers and camel swallowers (Matt. 23:24).
“We should obey God because we love Him. We obey because He has done so much for us and we have done so little for Him. We obey because love is never content to accept but must always give.
Jesus said, ‘If you love Me, you will do what I command’ (John 14:15). We then come to realize that our disobedience not only breaks the laws of God, it also breaks the heart of God. How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness and grieved Him in the desert! (Ps. 78:40). “Such obedience is far fuller, richer, and freer than can ever come from a legal motivation. Imagine a woman who is a nurse and a mother. She may work at a hospital all day caring for the sick. When
she has worked eight hours, she goes home. Upon arriving home, she finds her child is seriously ill.
She will then give her child the same care she gives the hospital patients. However, when she has cared for her child for eight hours, she will not quit. She gives care no one can buy. The difference is
“What is your major motivation? Seek to know God better, and you will find yourself obeying out of love. It will become ‘richer, fuller, deeper’ and will become ‘sweeter as the years go by.’ ”
A Treasury of Bible Illustrations.
III. Practical Application for us Christians now
A. The danger of being “bewitched” by:
1. False Christs – Mt. 24:5, 24, Mk. 13:22
2. False prophets – Mt 7:15; 24:11, Mk. 13:22
3. False teachers – Mt. 5:19, 1 Tim. 1:7
4. False shepherds – Jer. 50:6, Ezek. 34:2
B. Their dangerous of False and Erroneous Teachings
1. False doctrine and traditionalism of the Catholic Church
2. False Philosophies, Humanism, Modernism, Liberalism
3. Errors of the Pentecostal and the Charismatic Movements including Cults
c. Holy Laughter
d. Slain by the Spirit
e. Baptism of the Holy Spirit
4. Health, wealth, and Prosperity Doctrine,
5. Atheism, Evolution, Politically correct mentality, Abortion, and same sex marriage.
The Galatians had been deceived by the enemies of the Apostle Paul. Judaizers bewitched them by their false teaching. Legalism or the Law can never save. Don’t be foolish like the Galatians. Put your faith in Christ alone for your salvation