Thursday, 21 April 2016
You observe days and months and seasons and years. Galatians 4:10
Paul now gets to the heart of what he means by his words of the previous verse concerning being again in bondage. The Judaizers had come in and confused the Galatians into believing that they were to be following Jewish practices. Their lies included the observance of certain appointed calendar events. The word for “observe” is paratéreó. It is a stronger word than simple observance, as if someone were merely curious about how a Passover Seder was conducted. Rather it means, “To observe scrupulously.” They were being duped into believing that they had to meticulously follow these calendar events and to follow the practices of them as the Bible details.
The “days” is specifically speaking of weekly Sabbath observances. The Galatians were told that this was the standard for a weekly rest and they needed to follow it according to the precepts of the law. This heresy has been handed down in aberrant cults such as the 7th Day Adventists. The Hebrew Roots Movement has people observing this as well. Paul is rather clear about this in Romans 14:5, 6 –
“One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it.”
“Months” is speaking of the monthly New Moon celebrations mandated for Israel. These are detailed, for example, in Numbers 28:11-15. Again, the Galatians had been fed the crazy idea that they needed to follow this type of observance.
“Seasons” refers to the Feasts of the Lord in Leviticus 23. These included the Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Firstfruits, the Feast of Weeks, the Day of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles. These are all fulfilled in Christ’s first advent and they are now set aside with the rest of the law. However, the Galatians (and those who fail to follow proper doctrine even today) are misdirected by the nutty belief that observing these will make us more pleasing to God than Christ’s fulfillment of them!
“Years” would specifically be referring to the sabbatical years (every seventh year) and the years of jubilee (every fiftieth year) which are detailed in the law. Again though, Christ had fulfilled the law. In their attempt to appear more righteous than that granted by Christ, the Judaizers (and the heretics who have followed them) pass on their fanatical ideas about following these obsolete observances.
Paul addresses this again specifically in Colossians 2:16, 17 –
“So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.”
As he notes there, these things were only a “shadow of things to come.” They only pointed forward to Christ. Now we have the fullness of what they only pictured. It is utterly ludicrous to think that anyone could properly observe most of these anyway. There is no temple and thus there is no way they could be properly observed. Thus, it becomes a pick-and-choose type of salvation. The entire premise of following these things is to be rejected.
Life application: If Christ has fulfilled the law, then let us rest in the work of Christ!
I am at peace with my God! There is no fear, no state of apprehension, and no need for me to worry. I have been saved by the precious blood of Christ – a Lamb without spot or blemish. He fulfilled the law for me and now, by an act of faith in His work, I can rest in what He has done. I am free from its constraints and I rest solely and peacefully in my sure and grounded hope. The glory that lies ahead is waiting because of His deeds which lie behind me! Thank You, O God, for the life and work of Jesus my Lord. Amen.