“I only want to learn this from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now going to be made complete by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:2-3 CSB)
There is an old saying: Never change horses in mid-stream! The idea came from the frontier world where horses were the mainstay of transportation. In the middle of a river or stream, if the horse wants to stop, or gets tired, or gets spooked, the temptation would be to get somebody to bring you another horse so you could then get on to the other side of the river. Apparently, the inventor of the old saying must have tried it. He probably got washed downriver but lived to tell the tale – and invent the wise old saying.
Changing horses in mid-stream was apparently what the Galatians were doing. False teachers had entered their fellowship. These teachers were telling them that if they really wanted to be saved, they would have to keep the law. Paul fiercely countered this argument. They did not begin by keeping the law. They did not receive the Spirit by keeping the law. It all began when they heard the gospel and then received it in faith, thus receiving the Spirit in faith. Now, some of them were beginning to follow what these false teachers were saying, so Paul had to help these young believers understand that the law does not produce faith that saves us. The law was like a guardian until Christ came, and now we are in the life of faith. Faith certainly leads us into doing good works, but these are all the fruit of the Spirit, who enters our hearts on the basis of faith. We do not do these good works in order to be saved, but because we have been saved by faith.
Faith is the priority of life because it leads to life.
Father, May we all be convinced in our own hearts that Your law is good but was never intended to be our “savior.” Only Christ is our Savior, and we receive Him by faith. Help us to remember this and never be led astray, for Your glory. Amen.