Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | August 18, 2020

“how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?”

Today’s devotion comes from Galatians 4:8-20.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians+4&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods.  But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?  You observe days and months and seasons and years.  I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain.”  Galatians 4:8-11.

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Today’s Scripture addresses more than observing “days and months and seasons and years”.

Consider the context.

Today’s Scripture is in the middle of the chapter describing how the Law enslaves us and how Christ redeemed us from the Law.  Two verses earlier, we read:  “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”  Galatians 4:4-5.  The following verse following today’s Scripture asks:  “Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law?”  Galatians 4:21.

Paul was not only concerned about a little point of the Law observing time periods.  He just used it as an example as he used circumcision.  Paul was also not only concerned about circumcision.  But, even little practices and little submissions to the Law can get one in trouble.  “A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.”  Galatians 5:9.

“However, the Law is not of faith;  on the contrary, “HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM.”  Galatians 3:12.

“Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you.  And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law.  You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law;  you have fallen from grace.”  Galatians 5:2-4.

“It was for freedom that Christ set us free;  therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1.

The whole Law should be considered as “weak and worthless elemental things” to justify and save us.

“So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world.”  Galatians 4:3.

“For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.”  Hebrews 10:1.

“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.  For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;”  Colossians 2:8-10.

“If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men?  These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.”  Colossians 2:20-23.

“For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did:  sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”  Romans 4:3-4.

“What shall we say then?  Is the Law sin?  May it never be!  On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law;  for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “YOU SHALL NOT COVET.”  But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind;  for apart from the Law sin is dead.”  Romans 7:7-8.

“Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.  For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.  But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.”  Romans 7:4-6.

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.  For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh;  for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.”  Galatians 5:16-18.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;  against such things there is no law.”  Galatians 5:22-23.

“This is the only thing I want to find out from you:  did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?  Are you so foolish?  Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?  Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?  So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?”  Galatians 3:2-5.

If anyone had motivation to cling to the Law, it would be Paul.  But, he considered all that he accomplished through the Law as rubbish.  “… If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more:  circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews;  as to the Law, a Pharisee;  as to zeal, a persecutor of the church;  as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,”  Philippians 3:4-9.


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