“Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” (Galatians 3:5).
In addition to his rhetorical arguments, Paul the Apostle brought some external evidence to support the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone. That external evidence consisted of the miraculous works that accompanied the gospel message that Paul brought to the people of Galatia. One such miracle is recorded in the New Testament book of Acts…
“In Lystra sat a man who could not use his feet, lame from birth, who had never walked. This man was listening to Paul as he was speaking. When Paul stared intently at him and saw he had faith to be healed, he said with a loud voice, ‘Stand upright on your feet.’ And the man leaped up and began walking” (Acts 14:8-10).
This formed the basis for another of Paul’s common-sense questions here in Galatians 3:5. These miraculous works and the supernatural indwelling of the Holy Spirit did not result from a system of religious observances. Instead, they came about through the genuine salvation message of God’s grace through faith in Christ.
When the Galatians were given an opportunity to revert to a works-based relationship with God, they should have been able to identify and reject that approach simply on the basis of their own experience, So while these false teachers brought something different to the churches of Galatia, “different” did not mean “better” in this instance. In reality, it was much, much worse.
This provides an important consideration for modern-day Christians who are seeking to evaluate different spiritual trends within the church. For instance, some new trends (no matter how Biblically questionable) may be embraced by those who live in the frequent pursuit of a “fresh anointing” or a “fresh baptism” of the Holy Spirit. However, one commentary offers a thought-provoking observation that we would do well to consider before we endorse anything that allegedly represents a “fresh move” of the Holy Spirit…
“The Holy Spirit gives Christians great power to live for God. Some Christians want more than this. They want to live in a state of perpetual excitement. The tedium of everyday living leads them to conclude that something is wrong spiritually. Often the Holy Spirit’s greatest work is teaching us to persist, to keep on doing what is right even when it no longer seems interesting or exciting.” (1)
(1) Life Application Study Bible NKJV [3:5] Copyright © 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 2004 by Tyndale House Publishers Inc., all rights reserved.