When you are part of a culture it is almost impossible to identify the blind spots of your culture because you are completely ingrained in it… you have the same blind spots as your culture! This true as much for ethnic groups as it is the church. In the church we have a culture and there is nothing wrong with that… in fact most of the time elements of church culture are good and helpful parts of broader society. But when we start to blur the lines between what is out “church culture” and what are “requirements of our faith” we start to get into trouble. In Galatia the false teachers were demanding that converts embrace the prevailing Jewish culture and religious elements. As Paul continues to highlights the problems in the churches he touches on this reality and calls those who are falling for it “bewitched fools”. Today we find out why Paul was so angry and how we can avoid a similar trap.
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publiclyportrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or byhearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— just asAbraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?
Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing thatGod would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.