The Apostle Paul and I have some questions for a particular somebody.  Paul had the questions for the Believers in Galatia and now I submit them to the Believers who will read this blog seriously.

"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? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?" (Galatians 3:2-3)

After doing something for so long or behaving in a certain way for possibly a lifetime, it is extremely challenging to completely lay that habit or behavior or lifestyle down even if it is for something better.  I know, I have been there and done that and have the t-shirt.  I eventually saw the errors of my ways because I got hurt or I hurt others.  It is too bad it had to come to damage control to get me to STOP operating in the wrong mode.  I imagine it is that way for many of us.  Again, Paul writes, but this time to the Believers in Rome -

"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. (Romans 7:15-19)

So, Paul fully understood this dilemma.  However, I believe there is something on a more serious level that Paul is trying to communicate to the Galatian believers.  Yes, in the letter to Rome Paul confesses he does not understand his actions sometimes and to me this speaks of daily struggles and temptations to overcome.  But the grave concern Paul has toward Galatia seems to be a matter of salvation.

If you will observe, Paul asks, "Did you receive the Spirit by...." and "After beginning with Spirit, are you now....".  These first parts to the questions allude to the fact that the Galatian believers at one time accepted by faith the message of salvation through Christ Jesus.  Now, evidently, the Galatian believers had received some bad teaching that placed them back in the shackles of The Law (or was threatening to) - "are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?"  

It is commonly accepted that individuals called "Judaizers" visited these believers after Paul's ministry and corrupted their new found faith.  The "Judaizers" that were undermining what God had done through Paul in Galatia were placing the Galatian believers back under condemnation because of their own pride (Romans 8:1).  By losing their congregation to God's Grace, the Pharisees and Sadducees did not have their Law and their supposed perfectionism to lord over the populace (like Matthew 20:25).  So, they go behind Paul at Galatia and say something like, "Is that what Paul said to believe now?  Well, if you want to be a true and complete Christian then you need to be sure to follow The Law."  Can't you just hear the voice of the serpent (from the Garden Scene) in these words?  Whatever the persuasion, it was crafty and successful enough for Paul to pen Galatians 3:2-3.

There are no self works, no deeds required to have a right relationship with God and gain access to heaven.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--  not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
God has provided the access, the way as a gift to us.  The only Holy Instructions are to verbally accept your gift and from your heart activate your faith - "believe".

"That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9)

The Encouragement:  No matter where you are in you Faith Journey with God, it is always good to pause and take inventory and/or reflect.  Mentally, physically, and especially spiritually we acquire a lot of junk we do not need.  Sometimes all the acquisitions can lead to a back-slidden lifestyle.  If you have returned to old ways (before knowing Christ) like these Galatian believers did, I encourage you with the words of Jesus through John -

"You have forsaken your first love.  Remember the height from which you have fallen!  Repent and do the things you did at first." (Revelation 2:4)

Remember your first love, your true first love - God - and His meeting with you on your day of salvation, then you and God take it from that memory forward.

First Love by Petra