6.7 Galatians -- Foolish Galatians!
"You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 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? "(Gal 3:1-3)
Paul is not engaged in theological speculations. He is in a battle for the integrity of the Gospel, and he expresses his anger at people who allow themselves to be bilked. They are like Esau who exchanged his birthright for a bowl of soup. "You stupid people, you've been fooled! You were made full citizens of the Kingdom of God, but instead you prefer to be slaves. You were reborn of the Spirit, but now you seek to be disqualified by the Law. Has it all been in vain? Have you totally given up all you have learned and experienced of the new life in Christ?"
It was by faith, not works, that the Gentiles received the Spirit initially, and by which they experienced miracles. It was faith that made them the sons of Abraham, in fulfilment of the original promise to Abraham that through him all families on earth would be blessed (Gen 12:3). By contrast, the fruit of the Law is to fall under a curse, because no man can be justified before God by obedience to Law. The whole point of Jesus' coming and dying was to save men from the curse of the Law -- both those under the Law and those outside it -- so that all mankind might have access to the Father through the Holy Spirit by faith. Paul is frustrated that the Galatians, his own converts, goaded by "false brethren" from outside his churches, have been seduced away from the life in the Spirit and made to drink of the old wine of Law and works and exclusion.