Receiving The Spirit By The Hearing Of Faith
This Only Would I Know Of You
By David J. Stewart
Galatians 3:1-2, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”
The words in Galatians 3:1-2 are so plain and simple. Paul said, THIS ONLY WOULD I LEARN OF YOU! Paul only had one question, one big concern, one consuming thought... how did you get saved? Paul wanted to know the answer to one simple question... Did you get saved by trying to keep the Law, or by placing your faith in the truth of the gospel that you heard preached unto you?
The words in Galatians 3:2 are precious. What a beautiful way of expressing salvation. Salvation is very simple my friend. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins, shedding His precious blood at the cross of Calvary. When a person hears the gospel truth of Christ's death, burial and resurrection, they simply need to believe upon the words to be saved. If you as a confessed sinner accept the Biblical proclamation that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God Who died for your sins, was buried and has risen miraculously from the dead, then you are saved!!! It's that simple.
But you say, wait a minute Buster! Don't I have to turn away from sin to be saved? If you've turned to Christ to be forgiven of your sins, then you HAVE turned away from your sin. To turn one's face toward the forgiving Savior is to TURN one's back against sin. This is why we find the words “believe” and “believed” mentioned 85 times in the Gospel of John, but the word “repent” is not mentioned even once. Clearly, the person who believes has also repented, and the person who repents has also believed.
The apostle Paul wrote to the church at Galatia and asked them if they received the Spirit of God by works or by the hearing of faith. Here we see the two gospels contrasted. One is the true gospel of salvation; but the other is a false gospel of damnation. One leads to Heaven; the other leads to the Lake of Fire. Romans 3:20 plainly states that no man has ever been justified by the works of the Law. Romans 3:20, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” The purpose of God's Law is found in Romans 3:19, “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become GUILTY BEFORE GOD.”
Galatians 3:1-2, “O foolish Galatians... Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”
God gave us the Law to show us the awfulness of our sins (Romans 7:13), to convince us of our GUILT OF SIN (as you just read in Romans 3:19). To be saved, we must acknowledge our wickedness. This is the only extent to which a person must “turn from sin” to be saved. To require a change of lifestyle is a works-based false gospel. To “repent” concerning salvation means “a change of mind” (not a change of lifestyle). Whereas an unsaved person used to defend their sins and live shamelessly in them without guilt, now there has been a change of mind and this same person admits their guilt of sin, knowing that they have broken God's Law and deserve to be punished.
Please note that this is not the same as feeling sorry for one's sins. Sorrow is an emotion, which may or may not accompany the realization of one's guilt of sin. A person DOESN'T have to feel sorry or remorseful for their sins to be saved; but rather, must simply admit that they are guilty of violating God's commandments. Judas was sorry that he got caught betraying the Lord, but he didn't realize his guilt in God's eyes. Matthew 27:1 uses a different Greek word for repentance than other Scriptures; such as Mark 1:15 concerning salvation. Judas went to Hell.
Repentance and belief (faith) are inseparable. You don't repent first and then believe second. Salvation doesn't work that way. Repentance and faith happen simultaneously at the same time. They are two parts to ONE STEP. Salvation is NOT a process; but rather, is a new birth that is instant, immediate and eternal.
John 3:5-6, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
The first birth was our physical birth (of water) into the world; but our second birth (if you have been born again) is by the Spirit of God. Modernists are unsaved people who pretend to be true Christians. Modernists exploit Christianity for personal gain.
The gospel is good news to be believed, not good advice to be accomplished. Salvation is received, not achieved. The church at Galatia had fallen prey to false doctrine, much like the false doctrine of Lordship Salvation today which teaches that a person cannot be saved unless they purpose in their heart not to sin anymore with God's help. Discipleship and living a consecrated life have nothing to do with salvation, which is the gift of God.
The words in Galatians 3:1-2 are so plain and simple. Paul said, THIS ONLY WOULD I LEARN OF YOU! Paul only had one question, one big concern, one consuming thought... how did you get saved? Paul wanted to know the answer to one simple question... Did you get saved by trying to keep the Law, or by placing your faith in the words of the gospel that you heard preached unto you? Salvation is good news to be believed; not forsaking the world, departing from sinful bad habits, turning over a new leaf, rehabilitation, education, reformation nor legislation. You may have all these things and still go straight to Hell. Jesus said, “Ye must be born again!” That means born anew by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:9). Paul asks, how did you receive the Spirit? Or, how were you born again? Did you keep some sacraments and forsake sinful bad habits, or did you simply believe the words of the gospel of Jesus Christ?
The ONLY way to be saved is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. It's not what you're doing that gets you into Heaven; but rather, where you are looking. Look to Jesus!
Galatians 3:1-2, “O foolish Galatians... This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”
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"In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."
—2nd Thessalonians 1:8
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