“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1–3:3 ESV)
Paul views his life as Christ’s and lives on mission to accomplish his calling by reminding himself that Christ lives in him and loved him and died for him. Gospel logic drives Paul. He ferociously reminds himself of Christ’s sacrifice to empty himself so he can be filled with the Holy Spirit. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” Galatians 2:20-3:3. Paul then presses in to the Galatians this same thought process. The Galatian Christians had left the Gospel of Grace and gravitated to a works centered sanctification, which is our natural proclivity because we always like to add something of our own. They implemented rules and regulations (laws) to change – Paul asks them, “who has bewitched you,” and prompts them to continue in the Spirit of Grace. You started by the Spirit of Grace and are sanctified by that Spirit. Gospel threads are in focus here. The One who began the good work in them was the One that would be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6).
The law (our moral obedience to God) reveals sin (Romans 3:20-26) and functions to restrain it’s effects, but it is powerless to redeem and restore the soul – only Grace redeems and restores. Our white knuckled obedience to God is powerless to produce love and affection. You can obey God’s laws and commandments without trusting him, but you can’t trust God without obeying Him. One involves a contrite heart, and one involves a self righteous heart. Which one is yours?
“What does this mean? It means that we not only want our school to be a place of learning, but a culture of grace as well. Rules and regulations are necessary because they work to reveal and restrain sin, but they cannot rescue us from it. It is only God’s grace that has the power to change a person’s heart. So we must always make sure, that in the classrooms and hallways of our schools, that we are not asking the law to do what only grace can accomplish.” http://www.paultrippministries.org/yourchristianschoolacultureofgrace