We are in the Church Stream reading from The Message.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
Lord Jesus, we are free in you and free because of you. All to not go therepraise and thanks to God. Amen
The issue today is two points on the opposite ends of a see-saw: 1] under the Law, you are in bondage; chains. 2] The freedom you seek is in Christ. That sums up today’s reading in seconds. This is the summation of pertinent theology too.
4:8-31 – The passage begins with Paul a trifle exasperated at the young Christians reverting back to add many old Jewish traditions to their Christian culture. They had not known of anything Jewish ever in this part of the world until the traveling trolls of circumcision (the Judaizers) came through and vandalized their liberty in Christ. Paul’s words are more or less, “knock this off!”
Paul expounds on how they were /or rather/ have been so gracious and free in Christ until they started listening to the religious hoodlums who merely target new Believers to bring them back to old rules. Why are you acting like children of rejection or orphans when you are children of blessing? It’s a golden question that they need to answer with behavior that is transformed back to “Christ alone” thinking.
5 – You are free in Christ Jesus. Don’t lock yourselves up again. Don’t walk backwards, and don’t go backwards! Those who tell you to go back to Jewish Laws and quote me to back up their wrong teaching are lying about me as well as lying about God (so says Paul). The old way never worked. Paul has a slightly gruesome wish for those who preach continued circumcision – but we read that already. Paul wants them to continue in Christ, to grow in Christ, to walk in the Spirit and be free from struggles and sins and entanglements that once plagued them. They were to put the old life away permanently. Put away old religious rules. Put away legalism. Put away judging and comparing too.
6 – Paul closes his letter to Galatians with a sage list of things that are altogether helpful and necessary for their growth. They were to be gracious with each other, and brutally honest with themselves. Fellowship was to be open, service was paramount, shun the phonies and false teachers and don’t believe their trash-talk about Paul. Paul’s life and testimony and scars are proof that he was real; and all in it for Jesus.
The thread that reoccurred this week can be said to be, “don’t go there buddy – don’t you dare go there!” Leviticus opened the week with a list of lurid practices that anyone who wants to walk with God will “leave it alone!” The sexual sins of the world were prevalent and would reduce anyone who engaged in them to low-life animals. So don’t go there (it was in Lev. 18). We see people coming against, questioning, denouncing Elisha in II Kings. NEVER back talk or question a prophet of God. I’m telling you, “don’t go there buddy!” We saw what happened to another basket of bruisers who came against Elisha. Psalm 101 has the warning that keeps with our theme this week: steer clear of degrading things, Canaanite gods, dealings with evil people, gossip, smack talking the neighbors <–David says DON’T
King Jehoiakim burned Jeremiah’s writings! A Craaaaazy cray cray thing to do! He should have listened to Jeremiah as Baruch read it. But for what he did he was prophesied to die and rot in the sun. Sick.
Amos sternly exhorted the Israelites who were trampling the poor while they nibbled on “steak and veal”. Don’t be like that, people. Listen to God. They ignored all advice and took their destiny into oblivion. Shouldn’t have done it and it never should have happened. Jesus encounters a man who had apparently been dabbling and immersing himself in demonic activity. Someone had to have warned him not to; to not go that path. He didn’t listen and suffered horribly – until he met Jesus. Paul tells the Galatians once again to not go back to what the Judaizers were dragging them back to. They had been warned to not go there…