The Work of the Holy Spirit
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 the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? - Galatians 3:1-3
The churches in the ancient Roman province of Galatia adopted the culture around them when it came to their spiritual growth. Sure, they had accepted Christ and become Christians, trusting in Christ alone to rescue, heal, and forgive them. But then they went right back to working hard to prove themselves to be good people, trying to make progress in the spiritual life by gimmicks, self-help plans, and white-knuckling it through temptation.
Paul reminds them that the plan has been the same from first to last - to rely on the inner working of the Holy Spirit to change us. It’s the Spirit who draws us to Christ in the first place and the Spirit who draws us deeper into Christ after we’ve accepted him as our Savior. It’s our privilege to partner with the Spirit, to lean on the Spirit, to “walk in step” with the Spirit (as Paul says later in this letter) - not to do the work ourselves.
How have you tried to perfect yourself? Are you ready yet to surrender to God’s work in you through the Spirit?