I might have titled this study "The Case for Grace," because Paul gives his proof of the need for grace. "I do not set aside the grace of God for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain" (Galatians 2:21). And then he writes, "O foolish Galatians!" (Galatians 3:1); a wonderful statement! J.B. Phillips’ translation says, "You dear idiots."
I had a man working at my house one time and he had this wonderful saying every time something went wrong. He spoke to himself and said, "You melon head!" -- and that is the impact of the term here. The Galatians knew better. They were not ignorant people as most of them knew the Old Testament scriptures like the back of their hand, but they didn't act on them. And so Paul is saying to them, "You dear idiots" (Phillips) or "You crazy Galatians" (Message). The word means "senseless." This is a different word than Jesus used for "fool" in Matthew 5:22.
Now notice all the personal questions here. "Who has bewitched you?" "Bewitched" is another wonderful word. Tricked you, fascinated you, hypnotized you and turned you away from the truth by their clever words. You know you can talk to some people and they can prove to you that two plus two equals five. Have you met those kinds of people? They’re the sort of people who you ask what is the time and they tell you how a chronometer works! These Galatians had been tricked out of the great truth of liberty in Christ into legalism.
Paul wrote "It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified" (3:1b). Paul was a great orator and had visited Galatia and preached the good news, had so clearly told them the truth about Jesus, that it was almost as if they could see Him crucified on the cross and it was actually happening in front of their eyes. That’s what those words mean there, "before your eyes," or clearly portrayed.
Yet in spite of that experience, somebody came along with some clever words and tricked them out of the liberty they have in Christ. You see it wouldn’t matter if I’d been teaching for half a century, which I have, because all the teaching of the world and religion is only head knowledge until people have one experience -- we must have an experience in meeting the living God. We have to have an experience with the Jesus who died on the cross of Calvary. Unless we have that experience we really haven’t got nothing but a head full of Bible knowledge. Read More