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Galatians 3: What Is The Hearing Of Faith?

By ZNP · Jul 1, 2020 · ·
  1. 3:1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? You have to make a choice. Who is in control of your life? What is a slave? It is a person who does not control their life, they don’t make the choices for what is right. To be “free” is to take control and make your own choices. Jesus chose to go to the cross, it wasn’t forced on Him, it was His choice. He made this very difficult choice because this was the way to achieve something He cared about. We also must take up our cross and follow Him. The Christian life is all about learning how to do things you thought you couldn’t do. Choosing to be crucified to save us is the perfect example of what it means to be “free”. What is a “cult”? It is a group of people who appear to have been bewitched because they give the leader of this “cult” control over the choices in their life. In a cult what is reinforced is not that you should believe the words spoken by the Lord, but rather that the leader of the cult believes the words and that is why you allow this person to control your life. It is foolish and it is amazing that people could be bewitched like this. What really stood out to Europeans that visited the US in the first hundred years was how independent Americans were, making choices for themselves. Paul reveals a very interesting secret about how his mind works. He knows that his salvation was completely based on Jesus crucifixion, so in his mind he is playing a video of that crucifixion, the “clear portrayal” of “Jesus Christ crucified” and then he examines that video to answer questions like “how did I receive the spirit”.

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  1. ZNP
    6 So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

    Abraham believed God about what? About taking his son, his only son, and sacrificing him. Put yourself in Paul’s shoes, God tells him to withstand Peter and James. These are the two chief apostles, James is the leader of the church and brother to Jesus, Peter is the leading apostle. Who is Paul to withstand them? The battle is over what? The church that he has raised among the gentiles. This is his only son. He could have felt like Abraham in being told to sacrifice his only son. I know people who dislike any conflict, especially in the church. They would be afraid to withstand anyone who had a reputation, whatever it is. They look at the flesh. This person has known Jesus his entire life, much longer than I have, he must be right. Even Barnabas who was well versed in the gospel that Paul preached to the Gentiles was swayed by them. But when Paul stood up against the Judaizers

    it wasn’t a destructive conflict but a productive one. You cannot believe what you heard unless someone speaks. This goes both ways. Paul gave Peter the respect and consideration to treat him the same way he wanted to be treated. Paul received the Spirit because he believed what he heard and he also trusted that Peter would receive the same spirit by believing what he heard. If we have a conflict we need to speak. In the church we need to have an environment where everyone can speak, Jews and Gentiles, male and female, slave and free. We need an environment where everyone can hear everyone, where the “great apostle Peter” can hear Paul who was less than the least of all saints. This reveals another secret about how Paul’s brain works. He is correlating his salvation experience with Abraham’s. He is using the Old Testament stories as a mental model for his own walk.
  2. ZNP
    5 So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? If we are listening to each other we can summarize what we heard, we can answer questions, we can admit when we don’t know the answer to a question. Once again, look at the example in chapter 2, everyone was able to speak, everyone was able to express how they felt, and they listened to one another. Peter’s epistle makes it clear that he heard Paul. How many times does Paul need to ask us if we believed what we heard? What is distracting them? Where is their focus? Is it the great apostle Peter? Is it that some have come from James, the brother of Jesus? There is a temptation to put your Christian life on autopilot. I’ll follow Peter, I can trust him. I’ll follow the brother of Jesus, I can trust him. This is the slave mentality, you need someone else to direct you. So again, consider Paul’s experience. He was struck blind when he heard the Lord say “why do you persecute Me?” He responds meekly “who are you?” This is his repentance, he realizes he didn’t even know God yet he was running around arresting people thinking he was serving God. One brother comes in, lays hands on him, and says “receive your sight”. He had asked “who are you Lord” and now he can see this brother. The Lord struck him blind and also removed the scales from his eyes, that was the miracle, but what caused that power to be transmitted from the Lord, through that brother to Paul is that they all “believed what they heard”. What is it that Paul believes? He believes that this brother is one with Jesus, that he is the “body of Christ”.
  3. ZNP
    4 Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? We must feel our work is meaningful, it is not in vain. Second, we need to focus on our experiences, learn from them, turn them into a narrative, so that they can guide us going forward. 5 So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? If we are listening to each other we can summarize what we heard, we can answer questions, we can admit when we don’t know the answer to a question. Once again, look at the example in chapter 2, everyone was able to speak, everyone was able to express how they felt, and they listened to one another. Peter’s epistle makes it clear that he heard Paul. How many times does Paul need to ask us if we believed what we heard? What is distracting them? Where is their focus? Is it the great apostle Peter? Is it that some have come from James, the brother of Jesus? There is a temptation to put your Christian life on autopilot. I’ll follow Peter, I can trust him. I’ll follow the brother of Jesus, I can trust him. This is the slave mentality, you need someone else to direct you. So again, consider Paul’s experience. He was struck blind when he heard the Lord say “why do you persecute Me?” He responds meekly “who are you?” This is his repentance, he realizes he didn’t even know God yet he was running around arresting people thinking he was serving God. One brother comes in, lays hands on him, and says “receive your sight”. He had asked “who are you Lord” and now he can see this brother. The Lord struck him blind and also removed the scales from his eyes, that was the miracle, but what caused that power to be transmitted from the Lord, through that brother to Paul is that they all “believed what they heard”. What is it that Paul believes? He believes that this brother is one with Jesus, that he is the “body of Christ”.
  4. ZNP
    3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? The Judaizers were trying to get the Galatians to finish by means of the flesh. You need to be circumcised in your flesh, if you are then you get to sit at the table with the apostle, then you get a voice and everyone listens to you. The entire point of the Lord’s crucifixion is that He listened to everyone, even the thief on the cross. Everyone had a voice and He listened to everyone which is why He told John to “behold your mother”. He could empathize with how His death was going to impact John and His mother. When I hear these protests for BLM what I really hear is that their voices have not been heard, they have not been given an opportunity to speak, and they feel ignored. There is a comparison between the crucifixion which is the circumcision of the heart and the circumcision of the flesh. The crucifixion demonstrated that we have a voice, God listens to our needs, and it demonstrates that the Lord is sensitive to our needs. This is how the church will finish our course. This also reveals an interesting facet to Paul’s mind. He is always connecting the dots of his experience, his life is a narrative. He realizes how he began, it was by repenting and receiving the work Christ did for him on the cross. Then he asks how will he continue on this journey, is he going to go back to the approach that he just repented of? That would be foolish.