You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing--if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?
Consider Abraham: "He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." Understand, then that those who believe are children of Abraham. The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you." So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. (NIV)
1. Paul asks in frustration, "You foolish Galatians: Who has bewitched you?" What does the word "bewitched" suggest? Who is behind deception of any kind? Knowing the source of deception, what does Paul's question imply about the Galatians' slide into legalism?
2. Paul continues by asking, "Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?" The passage from Galatians 3:2-5 suggests that receiving the Holy Spirit is connected to believing and not to observing the law. Why do you think this is so? When we believe in Jesus, what do we acknowledge about Christ and the law?
3. The Jews consider Abraham to be their father. In what sense is he also the father of the Gentiles? How are "AbrahamĚs children" identified?
4. In a sense, God revealed the New Covenant to Abraham. What qualified Abraham to be considered righteous?
5. This passage distinguishes between having the Holy Spirit and observing the law. How has your understanding of and experience with the Holy Spirit changed as you have experienced grace? What role does the Holy Spirit play in your daily life?
6. Paul says (v. 5), "Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?" Are miracles and having the Holy Spirit related? How? Do you see miracles in your life? If yes, what are they?
7. As New Covenant Christ followers, does our freedom include the freedom to "keep the law" or portions of it if we wish to? What do you think our attitude toward the law is to be when we live under grace?
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