Explore the Bible
September 30 2018
Galatians 4:8-20 (HCSB)
Legalism gives an appearance of spiritual maturity and freedom but in reality it is a step back to immaturity and a return to the very things that bring about enslavement. True freedom is found only through faith in Christ.
In Galatians 4:8-20 Paul became very pastoral and used words of personal affection. Martin Luther said these words “breathe Paul’s own tears.” He loved them and did not want them to be enslaved again. But the Judaizers bewitched them into thinking that the keeping of the law would make them better Christians.
Paul reminded them that they were once slaves to man-made gods that were not really gods at all. They were set free from this bondage by their relationship with Christ. He asked them why they would want to return to slavery (Gal. 4:9).
John Newton author of the hymn “Amazing Grace” went to sea at age 11 as a sailor and became involved in the African slave trade. He became a hardened evil immoral and vulgar person. When he was 23 his ship was caught in a severe storm. He cried out to God to spare him and the Lord did. Never wanting to forget what God did for him he inscribed Deuteronomy 15:15 (KJV) above his mantel “And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt and the Lord thy God redeemed thee.” Newton didn’t want to forget what he was saved from. The Galatians forgot what they were once like.
We shouldn’t be so smug as to think this doesn’t happen in the church today because it does. If our Christianity is a check-off box in order to make us feel good about ourselves and our standing before God then our religion is no different than any other world religion. True Christians are not slaves to religion; we are children in a relationship with God. When we place our faith in Christ this is when true freedom begins. There is never a need to return to legalism and bondage.