Don't go back (Galatians 4 v 8-11)Wednesday, December 07, 2011
When the Galatian Christians turned to Christ, they turned away from something, too. Paul is seriously concerned that they are about to turn back—and wants them to realise what a loss that would be to them.
Read Galatians 4:8
Then and now
• How does Paul describe the kind of religion the Greek Galatians had before they heard the gospel (v 8)?
• What made the difference between then and now (v 9)?
• What kind of religion are the Galatian Christians in danger of turning to (v 9)?
• How is this an antidote for works-righteousness (ie: thinking it's something we do that makes us right with God)?
Thinking that keeping Bible rules, like Old Testament festivals (v 10), is what makes us right with God, is biblical legalism— and it’s very common in churches today. And the shock here is that Paul is saying that thinking this way is actually “turning back” (v 9) to idolatry.
The Galatians were about to turn their own law-keeping into a “saviour”, and turn being religious into a god.
Works-righteousness always creates idols, even if those idols are our church, or even our ministry to others!
Don’t go back to then!
Remember, God makes those with faith in Christ Jesus “sons of God” (3 v 26).
• How does idolatry compare (end v 9)?
• Why do you think this made Paul fearful for them (v 11)?
Counselling expert David Powlison poses some questions to help bring idol systems to the surface. Ask them of yourself now:
• To what do I look for life-sustaining stability, security, acceptance?
• What do I really want and expect [from life]?
• What would make me happy?
• Where do I look for power and success?
• Who or what most rules my behaviour: the Lord, or an idol?
Thank God that through faith in Jesus you are His child, with eternal life as your inheritance.
Ask God to show you where you are living, or are in danger of living, in slavery to an idol, not as His child.
This devotional is taken from Explore—a daily Bible-reading devotional from the good book company which enables you to engage with Scripture and which will encourage, equip and inspire you to live for Christ. Explore features contributions from pastors such as Dr Timothy Keller, Mike McKinley and Tim Chester.
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