Effects and aims (Galatians 4 v 12-20)
Are you feeling joyful? Perhaps not happy about everything, but is there an underlying joyful tune in the melody of your life? Joy is something we all want, but it often seems elusive. And joy had gone missing from this church.
Read Galatians 4:2
• What brought Paul to the Galatians (v 13)?
• What does this teach us about suffering and thwarted plans?
• Can you think of personal illustrations of this in your own life?
Effects of a false gospel
• How had these Galatians reacted to Paul (v 14)?
• How and why had this relationship between the Galatians and Paul changed (v 15-16)?
• What does Paul feel has disappeared from the lives of the Galatians (v 15)?
If we know that we are loved by God unconditionally, through our faith in Jesus and His death, then we can be at peace. We can be joyful because we know that in Christ we have all we need, and that nothing we do (or don't do) can take God’s favour away from us.
Our eternal future does not depend on us, but on the Lord Jesus. Paul’s gospel of justification by faith alone produced then, and produces in us today, great joy.
Compare this with what a belief in worksrighteousness produces. If my eternal future is in any way up to me and what I
do or what I am, I will be anxious because I know I have fallen short, or arrogant because I measure myself against others who I see as less obedient than me. I may even be both—but I will not know joy!
Joy comes only from being a child of God (3 v 26), and never from being a slave to those “who are not gods” (4 v 8). It's not surprising that the Galatians had lost all their joy as they began to turn from faith in Christ to reliance on themselves and
on worshipping their religious efforts!
Aims of the false teachers
Read Galatians 4:17
• What is the aim of the false teachers' ministry (v 17)? Who is it all about?
• What is Paul aiming for in his ministry (v 19)?
• What characteristics of healthy Christian relationships can you draw from v 19-20?
• Do these things characterise your:
• church family?
• small group fellowship?
• friendship with other individual Christians?
• If you share Paul's priorities and emotions, what will be different in your prayers for and actions towards Christians around you?
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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