“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?”
that you should not obey the truth,
This phrase does not occur in older manuscripts.
before whose eyes
Legalism clouded the judgment of the Galatians. Paul presented grace unambiguously, but legalists came along and clouded the issue.
Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?
The words “clearly portrayed” literally mean to write before, depict, portray, placard. The idea is to post a crucial public notice. Paul placarded a painting of God’s grace before the eyes of the Galatians. He put them on public notice of God’s grace. He summoned them by public notice by clearly describing grace in verbal terms.
The cross of Christ is unadulterated grace. We can add nothing to it. The cross is sufficient in itself to gain God’s approval. When we defect from the grace principle, we betray the cross of Christ. It is spiritual adultery to revert to legalism.
To receive the grace of God and return to legalism is to fall prey to self-righteousness. Self-righteousness flies in the face of faith in the cross, plus nothing. Man cannot make himself right with God. Only God can declare us as right as He is right through the cross of Christ. Paul made them understand without a doubt that the cross was the only access to God. The cross is an affront to the pride of self-righteousness.
Paul placarded a public notice, but the legalists subtly and sneakily slipped in their false doctrine. One used forthright presentation, and the others used cunning. Paul unmistakably clearly presented the claims of the cross. He designated grace very clearly. The Galatians could read it in big, bold letters as on a billboard.
“Crucified” is the core of grace. Jesus did all the suffering necessary to pay for the penalty of our sins. We do not pay for our sins because He took total liability. The law condemns us.
“…but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness…” (1 Corinthians 1:23).
“For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).
We appropriate grace by faith; we earn merit by work.
The Scriptures clearly put up a poster announcing that salvation and sanctification are by grace alone, not works, yet Christians regularly buy into legalism.
God crucified Jesus for us out of unadulterated grace. This stands permanently as the essence of our relationship to God.
We are asinine if we think otherwise, for we operate under the hypnotic spell of our pride. There is something very appealing about offering God my works. Little do we realize how puny they are in God’s eyes.
The law can never bring us into favor with God. The law makes demands that we can never fulfill. Grace sets aside the law by fulfilling it through Christ. Grace freely gives us what we cannot earn or deserve. Grace provides us with a relationship with God in time and eternity. We appropriate grace by faith, not works. We cannot work for salvation, and we cannot work for spirituality. They are both gifts from God received by faith.