Holy Spirit 1

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the reception of the Holy Spirit within a believer.


Galatians 3:2-9

2  Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?  3  Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

4  Did you suffer so many things in vain–if indeed it was in vain?

5  Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— 6  just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?  7  Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.  8  And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”  9  So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.


The Paul’s letter to the Galatians he urges the congregation(s) to desist in Jewish religious practices as a means of pleasing God, since by faith in Christ’s substitutionary suffering, death and resurrection they are justified (made right before God).  No “works of the Law” (Jewish rituals or festivals) are required to be fulfilled, since all these point to Jesus’ one redemptive act.

  1. What do we learn about the Spirit and our relationship with God in this text?
  2. According to this text, when did the Galatians receive the gift of the Holy Spirit?
  3. What does Paul mean with “receive the Spirit” and “begun in the Spirit”?
  4. What does Paul mean with the phrase “Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being perfected in the flesh?”
  5. It seems as though the churches in Galatia were fluent and comfortable with the working of miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit. Why could we think so?
  6. What is the sign (according to Paul) that the Gentiles could be justified by faith and therefore heirs with God? And why is that sign convincing enough?

Personal reflection

  1. (According to this text) how could you be confident that you have received the gift of the Holy Spirit?
  2. How is that visible in your life?
  3. Reflect on the way you approach God and relate to other believers. Are you in danger of trying to “perfect yourself in the flesh” – to earn “good-standing” with God by your actions?  Do you feel a need to?


Spend some time in thanking God for the precious gift of His Spirit (which all believers receive upon confession of faith in Christ’s gift of salvation).  Then prayerfully search your heart whether you err with the Galatians to try and earn your right-standing with God through “holy works”.  If you find some of that in your life – confess and repent of it.

For whom can you pray for the gift of salvation today?

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