“Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? (Gal 3:3)
What was going on here?
The Jews that had turned to Christ now sought circumcision as a means of acceptance before God. The Jewish legalists in Galatia insisted that Jewish Christians not only believe Christ for salvation but also practice circumcision as a means of justification.
Nagging reminders about their ancient religion remained; human effort was deemed necessary in attaining salvation. What happened in the flesh, in this case, circumcision, was pertinent in gaining merit with God, the Judaizers insisted.
For them, coming to Christ probably only represented a change of lifestyle, but the “do’s and don’ts” stayed. The Pharisee-like order stood.
You can call it a Jesus-plus spirituality.
It’s on that backdrop that Paul famously asked, “you foolish Galatians; did you receive the Spirit by observing the law or by believing what you heard? “ Faith in Christ now required additions, namely – human effort, or it seemed.
And you will hear that kind of talk in the pews today.
The bandwagon of self-help has surely not left Christian believers on the roadside. Lately, Popular slogans have replaced Scripture as the main spiritual meal. Once ministers of the Gospel are now offering “Ted talk” like sermons, abandoning the pulpit for motivational speaking, others are trying a mix, a hybrid. Somewhere in their world, the man in the collar has diagnosed man’s major need as “motivation” rather than “redemption. ”
And so, the Bible is still quoted, but only when it re-affirms what we watched on Oprah last night. Think of a few lines you are bound to hear lately.
“Your attitude determines your latitude” – reconcile that with “considering others above yourself” (Phil 2:3)
“There is no testimony without a test “ – sometimes there is no testimony at all, yet God remains good, you may want to ask the Apostle Who went “without food, shipwrecked at sea, hungry“ (2 Cor 11:25) how about Stephens almost senseless death by stoning in Acts 7. Some tests lead to, physical annihilation, it seems.
And if you scrolled your newsfeed, you would improve this popular saying list, wouldn’t you? For now, the remnants of the foolish Galatians are often speaking and posting, expressing more confidence in human platitudes than in God’s word. After all, the appeal of “itching ears” cares less about biblical revelation.
Our pulpits are lately filled with jokers, performers, and clever orators, skeptical about biblical authority but – thanks to the world – confident in self-expression.
And it looks like the remnants of the Foolish Galatians still like it that way.