Galatians 3:2-3 KJV
This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
The apostle both begins and ends this chapter with Christ (evidently set before them) but addresses the doctrine of the Spirit (Holy Spirit) from verses two through fourteen.
Verse two makes it clear that these believers knew they had received the Spirit. It was more than theoretical. It was a fact that Paul was sure they were sure of. Paul will here use that assurance as his argument against the doctrine of justification by works of the law. The question I believe may be asked is "How were they so sure they had received the Spirit?"
· Certainly he meant more than that they had begun to attend his services
· Surely he meant more than that they had believed his preaching
People all over the world attend religious services and accept the messages that are preached without being assured that they are saved and that the Holy Spirit indwells them. Paul must have meant more than that. There is an indication that these believers had witnessed miracles among them. But this would not constitute personal assurance either. Many people witnessed the miracles of Jesus but did not profess Him as Saviour.
The answer to the question is found in Romans 8:16 "The Spirit itself bearers witness with our spirit that we are the children of God." That witness is, although unseen by others, unmistakable. Souls of men should be pointed to hear this witness or expect that they are lost. There is no salvation in
· church attendance
· the recital of a prayer or
· reformation of the life
Salvation is a work of the Spirit of God by grace and through faith in Jesus Christ.
If that work has happened His Spirit assures our spirit of its reality.