You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn 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 … Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard? …
He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (verses 1-3, 5, 14)
Again, the issue has to do with human effort – is that how we achieve salvation? Really? Again, we are led back to the cross: “Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.”
But now, the active role of the Holy Spirit is powerfully highlighted in the mix.
Clearly, the Galatians are very aware of the Spirit’s presence. They know they have received him. They are fully aware that their new life in Christ (alive, after being crucified with him) began with the reception of the Spirit. Clearly, they have experienced the Spirit actively at work among them. They are aware of miracles – divine interventions – that have been clear signs of the Spirit’s presence. And Paul affirms that the Spirit himself was always part of the essential mix. The promise of the Spirit - his presence poured out in our lives, giving us the mind of Christ, working his gifts in the church - has been an essential part of the purpose of God from the beginning, now brought about through the salvation work of Jesus Christ.
So, I have a question? Am I as aware of the Spirit’s active presence in my life as the Galatians clearly were? I have no doubt, whatsoever, that I have received him into the very heart of my life as part of my birthright in Christ. But do I pay attention to his presence?
My answer is “yes”, and “no”.
“Yes”, Holy Spirit, I acknowledge your presence – I love the sweet warmth you bring to my heart as I turn my sights to you, and my Saviour, and my Father. Thank you, that the very awareness of the activity of God in my life comes from you. I praise you.
But “no”, I’m not as aware as I would like. I want to walk more closely with you, to be more sensitive to your nudgings and promptings, to be more reliant on your breath within me for each moment, whether mundane or enlivened. Touch my ears, touch my sight, touch my heart. Energize my faith, increase my expectancy, broaden my heart to embrace more of your fellowship, moment by moment.
Holy Spirit, thank you that you are here.
Come in more of your fullness.
Increase my sensitivity to your presence.
Reflect: Looking back over the last day or two, at what moments have you known the Spirit’s presence most clearly. Name them. Give thanks. Ask for more awareness this day.