ISSL Reflections October 22 2023 Galatians 3:1–14 Post 2

If the “promise of the Spirit” and living a life “with the Spirit” are so great, why would anyone be “bewitched” by “doing the works of the law”?

As you read these words of Paul keep that question in mind.

Galatians 3:1-14 (NRSVue)

You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly exhibited as crucified! The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? Did you experience so much for nothing?—if it really was for nothing. Well then, does God supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law or by your believing what you heard?

Just as Abraham “believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” so, you see, those who believe are the descendants of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would reckon as righteous the gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the gentiles shall be blessed in you.” For this reason, those who believe are blessed with Abraham who believed.

For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the things written in the book of the law.” Now it is evident that no one is reckoned as righteous before God by the law, for “the one who is righteous will live by faith.” But the law does not rest on faith; on the contrary, “Whoever does the works of the law will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” — in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Do you see anything in these words to the followers of Christ in Galatia that help you understand why they might prefer “the Law” to “[living] by faith” that Paul speaks of here (and elsewhere)?

Do you ever sense it might be easier and even better somehow to live by the Law and rely on the “works of the law” than to live by faith that comes by way of relationship to God in Christ?

Paul asks his readers to recognize that “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law…

How would you express what we can be redeemed from and redeemed to?

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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