25 August 2012Galatians 3:15 - 4:11
"How can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental spirits [principles]? I am afraid that my work for you may have been wasted." (vv. 9, 11)
In today's passage Paul is continuing his theme of putting the importance of faith above the fulfilment of the law - a theme that as run through the previous chapters of his letter to the Galatians. He writes, "God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those who were under law" (vv. 4-5).
He clearly has so much faith in what he is preaching; this is the same message that he's been preaching throughout this whole letter. As we reach the end of today's passage, we can see a bit of frustration starting to creep in (verses 9-11).
Isn't it the worst feeling when you're so passionate about something, and it just feels like you're talking to a brick wall? Nothing you say ever seems to make a difference! This must have been how Paul felt!
How infuriating! Paul is showing them this new and exciting way of life, a life of faith, not by the old covenant law; yet they don't seem to be bothered! They're returning to their old ways.
The well-known verse, "There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus" (v. 28) appears in this passage. Paul is keen to emphasise that the message he is preaching is for everyone, Jesus Christ is for everyone!
- Are there situations you can think of, where you've been so frustrated that you want to give up? What happened? What was the outcome?
- How much effort do we make in our churches and communities to make everyone feel welcome, and make everyone feel included?