Focal Passage: Galatians 4:8-20
Escaped slave Harriet Tubman expressed, “Now I’ve been free, I know what a dreadful condition slavery is. I have seen hundreds of escaped slaves, but I never saw one who was willing to go back and be a slave.”
Continuing his plea to the Galatians, Paul warns against this exact danger. He notes that their trying to be justified by works of the flesh is the same as being enslaved all over again.
The Galatian believers had been swayed by those who seemed to want good for them. Paul, however, cautioned them that anyone who would seek to deter them from a life of freedom could not want good for them at all.
Paul was zealous for his beloved to remember how the gospel transformed them when they first believed. It was because of their faith that they had welcomed Paul in the first place. Paul feared for those whom he loved. He did not hesitate to communicate to the Galatian churches the exact state they were in. He referred to their former way of life as “weak and bankrupt” (Galatians 4:9).
What a tragedy it would be for them – those who had tasted real freedom – to return to a life of slavery.
As those who have become known by God, we renounce any claim of freedom other than that of faith in Christ alone. We also plea with others to do the same. Seeing other believers wander from the grace they received by faith in Jesus should move us to action. Paul’s words allow us to see just how important this is.
Though the conversations may be uncomfortable, the goal is to bring about renewed faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection. We appeal to others in love that they may know true freedom and escape the trap of legalism.
Christ paid a high price for our freedom. As we continue to believe, we seek to love our brothers and sisters by spurring them on to believe as well.