(Galatians 3:3) Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
Paul is once again trying to get the Galatians to THINK. The path they were traveling didn’t make sense. We see they began “in” the Spirit, not “by” the Spirit. Paul wasn’t reminding them how they were saved – that was addressed in verse 2. Paul was reminding them their practical daily life as a member of the Body of Christ commenced with them living by the power of the Holy Spirit. In other words, they were walking under grace, not under the Law. Now they were under the influence of false teachers who convinced them the path to living a sanctified life was through obedience to the Law. “Perfect” in this verse means to “make complete.” This is what didn’t make sense. Justification came by faith. God provided the road to living a holy life pleasing to Him through walking in the Spirit. How could they possibly think now the road to holiness was through a performance system dependent entirely on their own efforts? How could they think their Christian life could be complete by the flesh?
Holy living happens when our daily lives on this earth match who God says we are in Christ. This can never happen by depending on our own efforts. Our flesh has a system of rationalizing holiness. The flesh looks for a list of things it believes will create holy living. The more things on the list the flesh accomplishes, the more holy it believes it is. For some people, the very things they should do actually become part of the list. The real difference comes from the motivation. For example, we should attend church. But if we attend church because we believe church attendance makes us more holy, we are doing it in the power of the flesh. When we attend church because we have a love for others and are there to see them grow, we are motivated by the love of Christ. As we learn to obey God because we love Him, we learn what it means to continue what He began in us.
Renewed Thought – Living right can never make me holy. The holiness I have in Christ is what allows me to live right before God.