Let’s begin by reading Galatians 4:8-11, “Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.”

Verses 4-6 of this chapter speak of that time when the Lord sent His Son at the proper time to give His life for sinners.  Because of this wonderful, sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus, we have been adopted by God and are now His sons and daughters.  Verse 7 tells us, “Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”  We are free through Christ Jesus!

Verse 8 tells us that before being saved these Gentile believers, “did service unto them which by nature are no gods.”  By nature, or by doing things naturally, they served those who are not actually gods.  These formally heathen people had created heathen gods that they worshipped.  These idols were not actually gods, but they were thought of as such.  BUT, since being saved, they had been set free from this life of idolatry.  The Lord Jesus said in John 8:36, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

The Apostle Paul then addresses the fact that these Galatians, although being wonderfully set free by the grace of God, were now trying to put themselves back under servitude.

They were previously heathen, and knowing not God, they served idols. Now, as believers, they had known God, or rather God had known them.  What a blessed thought for all believers to meditate on.  Before we came to Christ, we neither knew Him nor loved Him.  But, the Lord in His wondrous love and mercy both knew and loved us!  Now, He knows us as being His children and He knows us as being “in Christ.”  We read in 1 Corinthians 8:3, “But if any man love God, the same is known of him.”

Now, these Gentile Galatians were turning to Judaism, to the law and its ordinances.  This meant, for them, a turning back to the weak and beggarly elements or principles in which they were as heathen. They were, practically, turning again to that which they had left, and the Apostle asked them, “how turn ye again?”  Paul calls this turning to the law as weak and beggarly elements.  ‘WEAK’ as in having no strength to convert or maintain.  ‘BEGGARLY’ as having no value and worthless in the sight of God.

Verse 10 says, “Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.”  These Gentile believers were not Jews.  They were not under the law.  As Gentiles they had NEVER been under the law.  Consider the words of Malachi in Malachi 4:4, “Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb FOR ALL ISRAEL.”  For these Galatians to begin to observe the Sabbath or other Jewish Holy Days was very improper.  They weren’t Jews; why would they try to put themselves under this harsh law with the Jewish people could not even obey?

May we take this important lesson to heart and live our lives in knowledge that it is the grace of God that has saved us, and it is the grace of God that will guide us as we study and obey His Word on a daily basis.  May we fully experience the freedom that we have to ‘live for Christ’, and not put ourselves under the law as if we can please the Lord in this manner.  (197.6)