Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?
“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.” (Galatians 3:1)
There was a group of people in the Galatian Church that believed and taught falsehood. To them, the Holy Spirit wrote, “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? (…) Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (cf. Galatians 3:1-3). In other words, having had your first steps in salvation – the receiving of the life of God through absolute grace – are you so foolish as to think that you will “stay saved” by what you yourselves do?
Nevertheless, the enemies of grace cry, “You will be lost if you do not keep on fulfilling the conditions.” But God says through Paul: Your moment–by–moment life in the flesh cannot even be through your own faith, for “the life [we] now live in the flesh [we] live by faith in the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20).
Yes, we who have trusted in Christ and who have received His very life, with its unending production of faith within us, can claim the strong language of the New Testament for ourselves. Listen again to Paul: “I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.” (2 Timothy 1:12) “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (…) For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:1, 38-39).