What does it say?
In Galatians 4 Paul continues his explanation of law and grace. He says that the Law of Moses was given of God to accomplish a missional purpose – as a teacher to show us our need of complete justification accomplished only by the sacrificial work of Christ. God used the Law to prepare the world for the coming of Christ. Now that he has come we are adopted into God’s family by grace on the basis of his sacrifice. The purpose of the Law is to show that we fall short of God’s standard no matter how hard we work.
Chapter 5 shows that the indwelling Spirit of God produces true, biblical spirituality in us, not our human works. Chapter 6 is a gracious explanation of dealing with those that are caught up in such error, and encourages the Galatians to continue their growth in grace.
What does it mean?
A subtle yet powerful message of Galatians is that legalistic adherence to the Law actually results in sin. Just as Jesus reserved his anger for the religious leaders of his day that had forgotten their missional purpose, Paul is outraged by those that fail to see that Christ’s work on the cross completed the purpose of the Law and we are no longer subject to live in strict accordance to it. All scripture is inspired of God and useful for our daily life. We learn by observing great truth from the Law, not from striving to keep it, something that no Jew except Jesus ever did.
The same two strains of believers exist to this day – those that valiantly strive to keep the letter of the law and tradition, yet continue to grow in carnality and sin, and those that learn the simple truth of grace and abiding in Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.
How will I respond?
Is there anything in my life today that would hinder the Holy Spirit from totally controlling my life? I will confess that to God now. Are there attitudes and practices of legalism that strive to control me and prevent me from growing in my faith? If so, I will confess them to God now. Are there people around me struggling with these same issues? I will follow Paul’s advice in Galatians 6:1-3.