Paul continues his direct attack on the false teaching the Galatians started following, continuing his point from 3:26-29 that Christians are full-fledged sons and thus did not need the Law’s supervision. Jesus Christ came to redeem sinners from the Law and give them the rights and position of full sons (4:1-5). The evidence of full sonship is the indwelling Spirit (v. 6). Sons and heirs are not treated as slaves, thus the Galatians should not make themselves into slaves by putting themselves under the Law (v. 7).
The Galatians—forgetting their position in Christ—voluntarily subjected themselves to customs and statutes despite their claim that such would bring freedom. They were free in Christ and instead enslaved themselves all over again! (vv. 8-11)
Paul then makes a personal appeal (vv. 12-20), reminding them that when they heard the gospel from him they readily and joyfully received it. While Paul gave himself for the Galatians’ good, the false teachers thought only of themselves. The Galatians were on a spiritually deadly course.
Paul concluded his attack on the Galatian false teaching with an illustration (“symbolic,” v. 24) contrasting the Law that enslaves with the promise that frees through Jesus Christ (vv. 21-31).
Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On
- Refute false teaching with truth. Show the contrasts. Detail the differences. Demonstrate how and why it is wrong and deadly. Make it personal—acceptance of anti-Christian ideas involves rejection of Christian fellowship.
- Christian truth loves, gives, and sacrifices for others. In contrast, false teaching is selfish, greedy, and destructive.
- The Law cannot save, it can only legislate and condemn. Salvation by faith in Christ frees and gives life!