Our passage today is Galatians Chapter 4 verses 8-20.
I have mentioned previously that unlike other letters Paul has been very short on the pleasantries at the beginning of this letter.However, in this passage we see something of his pastoral heart for this group of Christians and something of their 2-way loving relationship they had when he first met them and preached the Gospel to them. For example, verse 14 or verse 19, ‘my dear children’.
Paul is worried that having been given freedom and JOY when the Galatians turned from pagan gods to the one true living God, they have come under the influence of these Judaisers who have put them back into bondage, and made them miserable. He appeals to their own experience that they are not as free or joyful now than when he first preached the Gospel to them.
He uses the example of observing special days and months and seasons and years (v.10), which has made me think as we have just celebrated Christmas again!!For many Christians, there is a regular cycle to the Church’s year:Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, All Saints, and you could add Saints Days, and things like Harvest and Remembrance in there as well.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with these things particularly, indeed they can be helpful as a reminder of the Christian story, unless we get enslaved to them or think that by observing them they are a means of salvation or being made holy. We are saved by God’s grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ.
I wonder if you noticed that our Advent book author right at the beginning of his book in the Preface, called the season of Advent an opportunity not an obligation.He wrote, ‘Observing Advent, or any other calendar season or date, does not secure or keep us in God’s favour. Christ has finished that work, and through his Spirit, we are joined to him, receiving the Father’s full acceptance by faith alone.’ That is the message of Galatians. Amen??
From our church address list please remember in your prayers today,
– Derek & Joanna- Doreen, now out of hospital and back home, praise the Lord.