Galatians 4:8-20 Paul’s Concerns for the Galatians

Thanks to the apostle Paul, the Galatian church had received God through faith in Jesus Christ. However, when they allowed themselves to be deceived by false teaching, this became of great concern to Paul which prompted the following verses

8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.” (Galatians 4:8)

Here Paul describes the time when Galatians worshiped idols, which were not gods. During this time the Galatians did not have a relationship with the one true God which through the gospel, they now knew.

9 But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?” (Galatians 4:9)

To know God and to be known of Him is to have a relationship with Him, to have faith in His son Jesus Christ and to receive the Holy Spirit. Those who know God also are heirs to the promise made by God to Abraham, that all those who believe and repent will inherit the gift of eternal life.

In his concern, Paul asks his readers why they turned back to the days of bondage, a time when the Galatians believed in salvation through works, through abiding by the law.

10 You are observing special days and months and seasons and years!” (Galatians 4:10)

The apostle warned the Galatians that by turning from the truth, they would enslave themselves to rituals associated with the law, some lasting days such as the Sabbath, while other special events, such as passover and pentecost, stretched for months. Some Jewish Sabbatical celebrations, such as the Year of Jubilee lasted over a year. These were special events the Galatians needed to ignore as they should focus on the word of God and the advancing of the gospel.

11 I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you. 12 I plead with you, brothers, become like me, for I became like you. You have done me no wrong.” (Galatians 4:11-12)

Paul shares his concern that it would be of great disadvantage for the Galatians if they were to ignore the truth as they allowed themselves to be misled by false teaching. Here the apostle invites his readers to do as he did, parting with the ways of the law and following in Jesus’ footsteps. Through their weaknesses the Galatians were not doing wrong to Paul, only harming themselves.

13 As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you. 14 Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself.” (Galatians 4:13-14)

Paul’s illness, seemingly blindness which fell upon the apostle on his way to Damascus, was treated with great, loving care by the Galatians.

The joy of the Galatians was so passionate the apostle suggests if they could, his caretakers would have taken out their own eyes and given them to Paul, an act of devotion certainly out of the ordinary.

15 What has happened to all your joy? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me.” (Galatians 4:15)

Too often in ministry or among the Christian community believers are called to rebuke one another. In this case Paul addresses the Galatians and the fact he feels alienated because of his preaching the truth to them. He mentions the false teachers and their desire to win the Galatians over instead of abiding by the truth of the gospel with zealous favor.

16 Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17 Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may be zealous for them. 18 It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you.” (Galatians 4:16-18)

Putting on a parental robe, Paul then refers to the Galatians as children growing in Christ. More than a father the apostle takes on a motherly figure to his readers describing his suffering for their salvation as childbirth like.

19 My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20 how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!” (Galatians 4:19-20)

Paul’s wish is clearly to be with the Galatians as they find themselves exposed to zealous, false teaching. The apostle was hopeful his letter would touch his readers in spite of the tone caused by Paul’s concern for the Galatian church.

Very much comparable to the tribulations experienced in modern time, Paul’s concern for false teaching is true today just as it was when this letter was written, around 50 A.D.

As such all believers are called to abide by the truth and steer clear of false teaching as we continue to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ thereby fulfilling our mission according to God’s perfect plan. Let us pray!

Father God;
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Paul,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.

Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.

God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.

May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.

We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.

Praise God,
Amen!

This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre
Email: DanielStPierre@ThriveThroughChrist.com

Posted in Bible Studies.