“Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?”
The third question looks at the persecution the new believers endured in Galatia because of their stand on grace.
Have you suffered so many things in vain—
By regressing to law, Galatian believers stamped their previous position of grace as false. The “many things” are the truths of the grace position. Legalism always persecutes grace (Acts 14:2,5,19,22). There was no need to previously suffer for grace if they reverted to legalism in the beginning but they suffered for holding to the grace position. Suffering for grace is unavoidable because it flies in the face of legalism.
if indeed it was in vain?
Paul refuses to believe that they will continue to turn their backs on grace. This softens his position to some degree leaving open the possibility that they would return to grace.
There is a natural tendency to revert to legalism and away from grace.
Satan loves to get Christians to turn their backs on grace. He draws us into legalism by appealing to our pride.
Do you remember your past victories in grace? There was a time when we recognized that we stood totally depraved in God’s eyes. We threw ourselves on the grace of God. Now that we have been Christians for some time, we forget that it took amazing grace to save us.