You can almost feel Paul’s frustration with the Galatians in his opening words in chapter 3. Galatians 3:1 says, “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?” You’ve been hoodwinked! You have been deceived! You have 29 black magicbought a bridge in London! You’ve been lied to, cheated on, and treated like dirt! The legalists want to make you somewhat less than themselves so they can trod all over you. You are letting them! They have seduced you! The actual word implies that some kind of black magic may have been involved. You have been hypnotized! Although Paul is standing against the warlocks of the law, he refuses to let the Galatians blame anyone but themselves for their predicament. They have allowed this to happen by not standing firm in the truth that Paul had previously preached and that they have received. Paul goes on, “…it was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?” Paul confronts the Galatians for allowing themselves to be hypnotized! The false teachers had cast their black-magic spell on them! It’s an old spell of Satan originally cast in the Garden of Eden when he convinced Adam and Eve that they could do it themselves. He continues not to case his black spell of salvation by works on us. We often fall prey again!

Our relationship with God is restored by His Grace through our faith in Jesus. It is faith that saves and buys us back from our condemnation under the law. Why in the world would you want to return to such slavery now that you’ve been set free? The laws of Judaism failed to save you in the past, what makes you think reestablishing them will save you in the future? Paul works to remind them that laws can never save. The world, the flesh and the devil want us to believe otherwise! At best laws can merely control. The cross, however, dramatizes the love of God and the grace that saves. The Galatians heard Paul gladly when he preached this message to them then. What has happened to their faith now?

The word here for foolish is not the normal word “moroneo” from which we get the word “moron.” It’s a word that means lack of discernment. We are not thinking people anymore. Many Christians today are deluded by religious systems that try to attach something to the cross as a necessary prerequisite for salvation. We become mesmerized by works and superstitious in our beliefs. But God does not save us by His grace through faith and observance of any law. Richison observes, “It is staggering how many people today cannot recognize error. We live in a ‘foolish’ generation. The Scriptures clearly put up a poster announcing that salvation and sanctification are by grace alone, not works, yet Christians buy into legalism on a regular basis.” The cults are ever growing because people have no “discernment.” Richison goes on, “Legalists love to mesmerize us into believing that we have something to offer God for salvation or sanctification. Many people have become victims of this.” We have nothing to offer God! But God has everything to offer us. He does so on the Cross of Calvary.