“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.” (Gal. 3:1)
To be foolish means to be without good sense and is the opposite of wise. It declares one who lacks good judgment or plain common sense. Why does Paul call the Galatian Christians foolish? Why does he say they were bewitched? They have had “the wool pulled over their eyes” as a common idiom states. What happened? Paul knows what he taught them in the beginning and he knows it was done so vividly that they saw it in their minds’ eyes. It was so plain, that they felt as if they were there, standing on the hill, looking at the center cross and hearing the voice of Jesus cry out in suffering. How in the world, Paul is wondering. How in the world could they forget that?
The portrayal of Jesus on the cross has brought tears to millions. The physical suffering so painful it would be hard to watch. Large nails driven in flesh, allowing the body to sag thus cutting off the air flow. But, that was nothing compared to the rejection. He was rejected by the religious leaders, by the commoners, by his disciples, by his apostles, and lastly, God turned away. The burden of the sin of the whole world was laid on him. His stripes, his pain, his death, healed us. Foolish Galatians!
Foolish world! Who has so confused you that you discount the sacrifice of the Son of God and make his death a valueless offering? Why, world, would you seek all manner of gods who love you not and bring you no lasting peace and have no means of saving you eternally? The gods of this present world offer nothing but a moment’s pleasure while the God of Jesus offers an eternity of joy.
O foolish Christians of the present age! Who has blinded you to the truth? Is not the emblem of the cross visible everywhere around you? Have you not heard the story of the crucified Christ? I write to those who believe in God but have been convinced by false teachers that any old gospel will do. You are like the Galatians, in that you will try to find justification in your own way rather than in God’s grace. Or, worse, you will try to take advantage of the grace and ignore the life that grace calls you to live. Without belief in Jesus, there is no grace. Without making Jesus your Lord there is no salvation. Those who come to God must believe He is God and is the one who saves. The Hebrews writer said that.
What was the gospel preached by Paul? It was the good news that God was reconciling man to Himself through the process of giving His Son as a blood sacrifice for the sins of man. The gospel was the message that Jesus (God) became man, died for mankind’s sin, was buried as all dead people are but was raised from the dead never to die again. Jesus was the first to do that but all who accept his offer of salvation will also rise from the dead never to die again.
Task for Today: Have you heard the good news of what God has done for you? Have you reacted to what God asks you to do in return? Do you understand that the grace of God appears to all men but not all men accept it? To accept the grace is to believe in Jesus, repent of your former way of living in sin, and to die, be buried and resurrected just as He was. The result of doing that is to receive the Holy Spirit with the eternal forgiveness of your sins. If you haven’t accepted God’s grace please do so today.