By the Hearing of Faith

Galatians 3:1-4 O foolish Galatians, who had bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ had been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received you the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. 

‘Foolish’ [Greek: anoetos] senseless. Translated “unwise” (Rom. 1:14); “fool” (Luke 24:25); and “foolish” (3:1, 3; 1Tim. 6:9; Tit. 3:3). They make as little use of reason as those who had none.

‘Bewitched’ [Greek: baskaino] to use ill words of another; slander; bewitch by spells or through an evil eye.

‘Obey’ [Greek: peitho] used 55 times and is translated “persuade,” “assure,” “trust,” “obey,” etc. (Acts 5:36-37; Rom. 2:8; Gal. 3:1; 5:7; Heb. 13:17; Jas. 3:3).

‘Set forth’ [Greek: prographo] to write in public; to give public notice of. Translated “write afore” (Rom. 15:4; Eph. 3:3); and “ordain before” (Jude 1:4). The prophecies of Jesus Christ crucified had been set forth and they portrayed the event to them as vividly as a real scene.

‘Received you the Spirit by the works of the law.’ Three things the law could not do (3:3-5): The law could not impart the Holy Spirit. The law could not bring perfection. The law could not work miracles.

‘Have you suffered so many things in vain’ – This could refer to their sufferings for Christ which were now in vain if they left Christ to go back to the law of works, as is clear in Galatians 1:6; 3:1-5 and 5:1-4.

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