Tuesday, 19 April 2016
But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. Galatians 4:8
Paul, addressing the Galatians specifically (he says “you” rather than “we” and the verb is plural) gives them a contrast to what he just said concerning their being sons of God and heirs of God through Christ. Before that time, they “did not know God.” At that time, there was no knowledge of the true God and how to serve Him properly.
Like people from any pagan culture, some may have known there was a God who created all things, but they only had the knowledge from general revelation. They had no specific knowledge of Him as the Jews did. For the most part, such people “served those which by nature are not gods.” In an attempt to either be reconciled to the God they were sure existed, or to appease the “gods” they thought controlled their lives and destiny, they “served” idols.
They became slaves to these false gods. They were under a type of bondage to them in that they felt obligated to them through sacrifices, rites, gifts, etc. When they heard and received the gospel of God’s grace in Christ, they were freed from these things. They were no longer under bondage, but liberated to serve the true God as sons with the promise of a full inheritance.
From this thought of where they were, and where they had now come to in Christ, Paul will next show where they were heading because of the lies of the Judaizers. He is making a logical defense against the insertion of the Law of Moses into their lives by showing them where they had been in their own lives.
Life application: We all started somewhere in our walk towards true faith in Christ. Some of us were raised in Christian homes and our walk was short and direct to His throne of grace. Others of us traveled long roads of false worship, finally ending at that same marvelous spot. However we came to Him, we were freed from the ineffective types of worship that permeate both the law and the misdirected worship of false religions. Only in Christ is the true and free expression of worshipping God realized. Why would we want to give up on that and return to something less than what Christ offers?
It sure is a marvelous thing to walk along the path of life and to see the beauty of Your creation, O God. The animals that pop out of the woods, the fish that jump up from the water, the birds which swoop down from the sky, and the little insects which drink up nectar from flowers… all of these things bring us a sense of delight. Thank You for the many wonderful creatures You have put in our path. Each reflects a small portion of Your great wisdom and You wonderful love for us. Praises to You, O God. Amen.