You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. – Gal. 3:1 NIV
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The devotional for today is the second part of the devotional with the same title which dwelt on the description by Paul of the Galatians as foolish. These were people who would easily be classed as Christians, as they actually profess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour and genuinely have the desire to worship the only true God who is Jehovah. It was probably this zeal that the advocates of Judaism used as a platform to introduce painful and discomforting doctrines into their hitherto peaceful Christian life. They had successfully convinced these people, whose conversion into the path of worship of Jehovah God, they were not responsible for, but to whom they had positioned themselves as personalities with some form of exclusive knowledge about what the worship of God is all about. The Apostle Paul, was soon presented to them as not having the authority that he claimed to possess, with regards to determining what constitutes the true worship of God, and the Galatians believed them.
No wonder, Paul described them as lacking a proper sense of judgement and not being wise, which is what being foolish means. They had to be that, for them to allow themselves to be burdened by a doctrine that limited their freedom and brought discomfort. What could these freedom limiting doctrine offer the Galatians, that would have made them swap peace and comfort for pain and discomfort. The Galatians had by their zeal thrown away knowledge and found themselves in bondage to laws that had no relevance to their spiritual well being.
Many Christians today, have also found themselves in similar situations like the Galatians of old. They are groaning under severe pain and distress that has resulted from these laws that have no relevance to their spiritual and physical well being. Some decide to remain in the faith and tolerate the pain and discomfort whilst many choose to be hypocritical in their worship by saying one thing but acting differently, or worse still leave the faith completely. The result is a depleted Christendom filled mainly by hypocrites, as the honest ones who will not be involved in such deceit would have since chosen to move on. The implication of these for the Church, with regards to the pronouncement of Jehovah on the judgement day, is not for consideration in this Devotional, but it may be necessary for each Christian to respond in honesty to the questions that the Apostle Paul asked the Galatians, if they are to truly live the Christian life.
- Did the true Christian receive the spirit by observing the law or by simply believing what was heard? – Gal. 3:2. This question remains relevant only to the one who has experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit – Acts 19:1-7. The water baptism that preceded the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was only to wash away sins, with the dipping in water presenting such as having died and resurrected with Christ. The Holy Spirit received during such process was not because of any spiritual purity and perfection of the one on whom it was bestowed, but simply because such was convinced by what was heard and expressed sincere belief in the act. – Acts 2:38. That being the case such would not be expected to accept any new doctrine that gives the impression that there should be a new addition to what was already taught in order to retain the presence of the Holy Spirit or, for any other person to have similar experience. Meanwhile, nothing proves the presence of Jehovah in the life of any individual more than the confirmed presence of the Holy Spirit.
- Can the Christian achieve life’s goals simply by human efforts? – Gal. 3:3. For anyone to have a sense of entitlement to achieving life’s goals or spiritual standards, due to personal efforts or personal acts of righteousness will be the height of self deceit. The Bible makes it clear that human efforts at righteousness amount to nothing without the input of the Almighty God, as such acts of righteousness by man remains comparable to filthy rags before Him – Psa. 127:1; Isa. 64:4-9, just like the scriptures state that the race is not for the swift, but only time and seasons happen to them all – Eccl. 9:11. The only one who will continue to rely on afflicting the flesh in order to attain success of any type will be the foolish one – Deut. 8:18; 1Cor. 3:6.
- Did God give His Spirit and wrought His miracles in the life of such Christian because of total compliance to the law or simply because such believed what was heard? – Gal. 3:5. There is no one who can deny receiving the miracle of God, as all human beings receive at least the miracle of sleeping and waking up to life on a daily basis. It is foolishness for anyone to think that such a miracle, as well as several others received, are due to his/her perfect and righteous lifestyle. That being the case, there should be no reason why anyone should swap the peace and comfort associated with simply accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, and living according to the Will of God, for any other freedom limiting doctrine.
Indeed, Christians need to restrict themselves to laws that would determine their relationship with God and Jesus Christ as any other Law will not be sufficient to justify that additional pain and discomfort that will be experienced by the Christian. Those should be the essentials that govern the Christian and any group that is associated with Christ, as any other Law may actually be against the interest of Christ and Jehovah, which is to bring more souls back into the Kingdom. Avoid being foolish and embrace wisdom in running your Christian life. Living in all those non-divine laws and ordinances may not derail you, but they will definitely make life unnecessarily unbearable in this realm. That is a situation that Jesus Christ does not wish for us. May God grant us the wisdom to live our lives peacefully and avoid the pain and discomfort that the foolishness of observing non-divine laws can impose on us in Jesus name. Amen.