GRACE: NOT BY MAN
Five Questions Paul Asked – Galations 3:1-6
The five questions asked by Paul was reflective of the disobedience of the Galation Christians. Questions are often asked to get one to think. The questions are rhetorical designed to cause one to think. The word “rhetoric” is “the art of oratory” or “the art of writing or speaking effectively”.
So these questions are a part of Paul’s giftedness in persuasion given by the Spirit of God.
Verse 1. “Who has bewitched you…?” Though we looked at this question last study we look at it from a different perspective in this one. As a question for thought on their departure from grace.
Of this question the MacArthur Study Bible notes,
“bewitched. Charmed or misled by flattery and false promises. The term suggests an appeal to the emotions by the Judaizers.”
Verse 2. “Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” Receiving the Spirit is tantamount to being saved. Paul writes in Romans 8:9, “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.”
Verse 3. “Are ye so foolish?” A rebuke for their foolishness concerning the law and grace. The Jewish people and their leaders had struggled for centuries to gain the Spirit of God and salvation, and had failed to gain it by the perfection of the law. Rather, they had been declared guilty again and again; judged, removed from their promised land and gone into captivity.
Yet, here are some Judaizers who have convinced them of the need for their obedience to the law in order to be saved. Their thinking is foolishness.
“Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” “The notion that sinful, weak (Matt. 26:41; Rom. 6:19) fallen human nature could improve on the saving work of the Holy Spirit was ludicrous to Paul.” MacArthur Study Bible.
Verse 4. “Have ye suffered so many things in vain?” This is not meant to imply any hardship or pain, but rather has more to do with “experience”. Have you experienced the forgiveness of sin in vain? Have you experienced the freedom from guilt and condemnation in vain? etc.
Verses 5 – 6. “…doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”
ESV Study Bible note.
“Gal. 3:5 supplies the Spirit … works miracles. In v. 2 Paul mentioned the Holy Spirit’s work at the beginning of the Galatians’ Christian lives; here he mentions an ongoing, day-by-day work of the Spirit. Though Paul had left these churches, and there were no other apostles present, the Holy Spirit was still present and was still working miracles in their midst. By hearing with faith is not only the way to start the Christian life but is also the way to continue it day by day.”
-Tim A. Blankenship