Today’s Reading: Galatians 3
Key Verse: 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? Galatians 3:2
In today’s passage, we come to the heart of the matter and the point of Paul’s letter to the Galatians: The conflict between two alternate roads to righteousness: Trusting and Trying.
It’s a leading question that Paul is asking,(v.2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? He knows that they received the Spirit when they believed the Gospel message–he was there when it happened. These other teachers who claimed that they must follow the external requirements of the law–what to eat, what to wear, how to look–they came along later with their new prescription.
Paul asks which prescription, faith or the law led to your receiving the Spirit and salvation? The law isn’t able to work salvation, nor to change human hearts, all that it is able to do is show the need for salvation.
The law is like a dentist’s little mirror, which he sticks into the patient’s mouth. With the mirror, he can detect any cavities. But he doesn’t drill with it or use it to pull teeth. It can show him the decayed area or other abnormality, but it can’t provide the solution. So the prescription of the Law leaves us sick, But the prescription of Faith leads to salvation.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones: “So that, finally, we can put it like this. The law was never given to save man, but it was given as a school master to bring him to the Savior. The whole object and purpose of the law is to show that man can never save himself. Once he has understood the law and its spiritual meaning and content he knows that he cannot keep it. He is undone. . . . It shows us our utter helplessness and hopelessness, and thereby it becomes our school master to lead us to Christ, the only one who by the grace of God can save us, and deliver us, and reconcile us to God, and make us safe for all eternity.”