The Foolish Galatians
Sabbath School Lesson 2017 Quarter 3 Lesson 5 Sunday
What does Paul characterize as “foolish” with regard to the Galatians [see Galatians 3:1-6]?
O mindless Galatians: Who has bewitched you– You to whom Jesus Christ was displayed in a visual way as crucified? This alone I wish to learn by inquiry from you: Did you receive the Spirit by works of law or by hearing of faith? Are you that mindless? Having begun with the Spirit are you now ending with the flesh? Have you suffered so much to no purpose? [in vain] If indeed it was to no purpose. Therefore, did He who provides you the Spirit and works miracles among you do so on the basis of works of law or on the basis of the hearing of faith? Just as [the Scriptures say] “Abraham trusted God and it was counted to him as righteousness.” (Nicely translated by Jon Pauline, with explanatory note within text)
Paul didn’t have the word “Legalism” in Greek so he portrays this by using “Works of law”
What is it about fallen human nature that makes us want to “work” our way in to God’s grace?
My wife and I have a very important matter to take care of tomorrow, and it will take almost the whole day to prepare, and I reminded her that we will do this lesson today first.
In other words, Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
What would be the wrong way of understanding this text?
Wouldn’t it be that God can be bribed, in other words if we seek God out first, then he will give us all the things that we want. I believe this is what Paul was saying works to gain God’s favor. The negative outcome of worshipping a God that can be bribed is that if your prayers are not answered, the dreadful result will lead to the person blaming God that they didn’t receive the outcome they had wanted.
What would be the correct way of understanding this text?
Would it be safe to say, that if we seek God out first, that as a natural result we receive God’s blessing either in this life or the next. Whilst there are a lot of bible heroes that received great blessings in this life, there are others that didn’t but wait patiently for a much greater blessing, in eternal life together with a wonderful God.
The lesson asks a poignant question as well:
“In what sense could we be in danger of falling into the same spiritual pitfall of starting out right and then falling into legalism?”
Another great question from the lesson:
“How often, if ever, do you find yourself thinking, I’m doing pretty well. I’m a pretty solid Christian, I don’t do this and/or I don’t do that . . .and then, even subtly, thinking you’re somehow good to be saved? What’s wrong with that picture?”
I think the lesson wants us to see the focus on works, but the problem is much bigger. Where’s the real focus? ON SELF!
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