MAIN POINT OF PASSAGE (in one sentence): Paul is rebuking the Galatians for allowing their observance of the law to come between them and their relationship with God.
APPLICATION FROM THE PASSAGE: Once you truly know God, it is foolish and reckless to abandon the gospel and chase after the distorted truths the world provides.
GETTING STARTED (115 words)
As believers in Christ, we are sons and daughters of God; we’ve been adopted into his family and are now brothers and sisters in Christ. We who were spiritually orphaned are given love, care, provision, family, and an eternal home—all for free. What a deal! Now imagine that someone who has been adopted suddenly chose to remain an orphan and throw away all those benefits. Our courts usually don’t let a child make that choice, but spiritually we can act like this, and we often do.
- In what ways do you reject what God has done for you?
READ THE WORD: GALATIANS 4:8-11 (ESV)
8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years! 11 I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.
- When someone lives without knowing God, how does Paul describe his or her relationship is to the world (vs. 8)?
- What connotation does the word “enslaved” bring to mind? List a few of those.
- What descriptions did Paul give to the “elementary principles of the world” (vs. 9)?
- In previous passages, we learned that the Galatians had been adding works-based religious practices to the gospel of grace. Are there areas in your life where you have done the same?
- In what ways are you conforming to the world around you, “enslaving” yourself once more?
RESPOND TO GOD (115 words)
Paul had a right to be frustrated. The people to whom he was speaking had received the gospel and had been adopted into a covenant relationship with God. Yet they were submitting themselves to Old Testament laws and other rules as requirements to be in relationship with God. In a sense, they were spiritually casting themselves out as orphans and ignoring the work of Christ. They were once again enslaving themselves to things that Christ had freed them from. Don’t we sometimes do the same?
- Thank God today for adopting you as a son or daughter through Christ’s redeeming work.
- Confess any areas where you enslaving yourself to religious rules or the things of this world.