Galatians 4:8 Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.
9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.
12 Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all.
13 Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.
14 And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.
15 Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.
Paul reminded these Galatian saints that prior to their salvation, they served false gods. They were quite willing to do so. However, now that they were saved, and in fact were known of God as His children, why then would they turn again to that which could not save. Paul called the false religions weak and beggarly. It is sad to see people claim to be Christians, but wallowing in the same mud as the lost are in. They have no recourse. They have no hope except through some distortion of the truth.
Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
How could these saints walk with the Judaizers? How could they entertain such trash, after having been saved and even suffering for knowing the truth? How could these saints desire to be in bondage again. Those who are slaves don’t know anything else. They can dream of “freedom” but they do not really know what freedom is.
I heard of a young Ukrainian girl who was adopted by a U.S. family, from an orphanage in Ukraine at the age of 10. She is now an adult and married with one child. When she was set free from that wretched orphanage, she was amazed at what she experienced outside of that environment. In the orphanage she witnessed physical abuse as well as sexual abuse. The food supply was limited and the living conditions were not good. She says that North American people do not understand what they have. They do not appreciate what they have. Sadly that is often true even for the lost.
Those who are saved have so much more than the lost could ever have. Pastors need to preach the whole counsel of God to keep the truth before the saints. True saints need to be encouraged to be reading God’s Word every day. They also need to be encouraged to be in a good church faithfully. Those who are saved need to know what they have. If they know that, they will never want to leave that. They will never want to go back.
The children of Israel wanted to go back to Egypt. They were lost and they did not appreciate what they could have had in trusting in God. The ten spies came back with an evil report. They agreed that the land of Canaan was a prosperous land, but they saw the giants. The giants were bigger to them than the promises of God. They had witnessed the power of God in Egypt. Yet they forgot that and allowed the devil to blind them to the facts.
Those ten spies were able to turn the majority of the nation of Israel against the two good spies. They had already turned their backs on God. They were ready to cause a mutiny and turn back to Egypt on several occasions. They would not believe God.
The Galatian saints had “experienced” salvation. It is not a feeling. It is the reality of the forgiveness of sins. It is the freedom from the guilt and curse of sin. It is the power to say no to sin and yes to God. It is boundless blessings from the true God. How could these saints fall for the lies of the lost?
In verse 10 Paul noted that they were into rituals. They were watching the calendar and they were going back to the old system of keeping feast days as a ritual.
In verse 11 Paul wondered if he had laboured in vain amongst them. Preaching and teaching the Word of God faithfully is labour. It is good labour. It is joyful labour. However, when people refuse to accept the truth, it is sad to see people throw away that which is so precious.
In verse 12 Paul encouraged the saints to be like he was. Paul was one of them. He was a Jew, but more importantly, he was saved as they were. He had been a Pharisee. He had fought against the truth. He was gloriously saved and he then rejected Pharisaism. He wanted nothing more to do with that. He knew it was heresy.
He was not waffling as they were. They could see the blessings of salvation in him. They could see he had something the Judaizers did not have and would never have. He wanted them to know that his plea to them was not due to personal injury. Paul was not wearing his emotions on his sleeve. He could handle personal rejection. What concerned him as a born again Christian was that these saints were rejecting God’s promises and blessings. True saints have the love of God in them. They care about others because they want others to know the truth and walk in it. They know the blessings of God and they know there are no blessings apart from knowing the true God.
In verse 13 Paul reminded them of how he had come to them at the first even though he had some infirmity of the flesh. We do not know what that was. In verse 15 he alludes to the fact that he had eye problems. Whatever the infirmity was, they knew about it and they knew that in spite of his limitations, he had been willing to give them the Gospel. The preaching of the Gospel was more important to him than physical comforts. Heaven is the place where the saints rest. That is where the war is over. Here we need to be equipped to fight the good fight of faith. We do not need protest signs and carnal weapons of war. We need to know the truth and walk in it.
The Galatians had received him as an angel of God. They saw him as a true messenger of Christ Jesus. They did not worship him. He would never have accepted that. He also never gave anyone the pretence that he was a god. In Acts 14 we know that some people wrongly assumed that he and Barnabas were gods, but he quickly showed them that was false.
In verse 15 Paul reminded these saints of the testimonies they had shared after they were saved. They had known the peace of God in their hearts. What happened to all of that? As mentioned they had been so blessed by the Word of God that they were even willing to pluck out their own eyes and give them to Paul. They loved him. He was such a blessing to them. He was a blessing because he brought them the truth.
Romans 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
The Galatians had been blessed so much. How could they let that all fall by the wayside. If it was real, they would remain. If some had gone along for the ride, they would fall away. Paul was challenging the true saints to look to God alone. They needed to get their eyes trained on the truth. They needed their hearts cleansed of any sin and strengthened in the Word of God.
That is what we need today as well. Those who are saved need to build solely upon the Word of God. We need to forget about all the lies that the lost promote. Forget about the smooth talkers who use fancy pictures and intriguing stories. Just follow the Word of God. Settle for the truth and be blessed.
For those that are lost and pretending, stop and think of where you are at. What have you got? If your life is a mess just like your lost neighbour, what have you got? Why not humble yourself and repent toward God and put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Don’t lie to yourself and say you already tried that. Nobody tries Christianity. It is not like going to the shoe store and trying on a variety of shoes. Once you finally listen to the convicting work of the Holy Spirit and turn to God in repentance and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, you will never want to go back. You will know you have the greatest gift known to man. Your life will be changed. Your heart will be changed. The change will be real. Find a good church and go there. Don’t leave yourself open to the temptations the Galatians were yielding to. Don’t settle for second best.
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.