June 14 I Sunday
“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?…I would like to learn just one thing from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?” —Galatians 3:1-2
In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, we witness his tenacious rebuke on their actions. Paul was basically asking them rhetorically, “Did God give you His Holy Spirit because you were really obedient to the law? Because you observed the new moon festivals? Because you were really kind to others and never sinned? Or was it because you believed the message of the forgiveness of sins and the reconciliation offered to you by the gospel of Jesus Christ?” The answer is the latter.
Then Paul continues, “Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?...So again I ask, does God give you His Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?” (Galatians 3:3-5). What Paul is indicating in this passage is that the gospel is where it begins. The gospel is not just how we begin our Christian life, but also the means by which we live the Christian life day after day. Paul tells us, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). In other words, Paul lives by faith in the power and resource of Christ in him.
As a sort of illustration, imagine an extremely nice car with a 6.2 litre engine and 707 horsepower. We get behind the wheel of the car and tell people we are headed off as we make all kinds of car noises. As we look around, we are still sitting in the parking lot. But what if we went behind the car and started pushing it out onto the road while making car noises. The people driving on the street will think we are crazy. Why? Because we are completely ignorant of the fact that there is an engine under the hood of the car that could easily move the car around.
As Christians, when we entered into Christ, it is like an engine being placed under the hood of our car. The very life of Christ—all that horsepower—is the means by which we live the Christian life. Hence, Paul reprimands the Galatians, “You have entered into Christ but why are you trying to push your own car around?” There is an engine that has been planted within us, the power of the Holy Spirit, that is the very means by which we live the Christian life. May we rest our faith in who Christ is, remembering that His Spirit is the horsepower that carries us through any task we receive from Him to its completion.
Prayer: Almighty God, help me live in light of Your horsepower in me. May I not try to accomplish Your work through my own flesh but recognize it is Your Spirit empowering me. Thank You, God.