Skip to main content

Are you my enemy? Am I yours? Galatians 4

In Summary: On background, the fourth chapter of Galatians continues Paul’s correction of the Galatian errors. He continues to work though the idea of sonship in Christ, which is very clear in the Roman world of Paul and the Galatians.

Sons were either born or adopted, but they were certain to receive the rights and benefits of their parents. Especially in terms of citizenship, which meant better access to justice, employment, and education, this inherited state was invaluable. Romans did not have open social movement: if you were born into the lower classes, you were there unless you did something amazing to merit elevation.

Or were adopted by someone who was a high-level person. The lower you were, the more you had to do for elevation. If you were too low-born, you would likely never work your way to citizenship, and you would have to attract the right person’s attention to be adopted for it.

Paul’s point in Galatians? Christians are adopted to that status as there was no way to earn it.
In Focus: No one, though, likes to be told they are not that awesome. The Galatians certainly did not appreciate it and had apparently sent some harsh words Paul’s way. How do we know?

Look at Galatians 4:16 where Paul asks if he has become their enemy by telling the truth. That’s an important idea in a society of personal relationships. An enemy is one who will not be received, will not be aided, and will face the wrath of any who are friends.

Paul, then, is asking whether or not the Galatians, having come to Christ through his effort, are now going to shut him out in all things. Enemy status should not have been attached to him for telling the truth, after all. You labeled thieves and con-men as enemies. Paul had done nothing of the sort: he had simply corrected erroneous theology and proclaimed the truth of God’s Grace.

In Practice:
I hope you see where this is going. There are people who are enemies of God’s church in this world. There are wolves in sheep’s clothing who would destroy the Church of the Living God from within.

There should be no doubt that we count these as enemies until they repent and come alongside us in serving Jesus as Lord.

We cannot cast aside those who simply tell us the truth. Not those who sometimes tell us the truth, but the people in our lives who clearly articulate the Word of God when we need it. These may be teachers or preachers, parents or spouses, friends or children. There’s really no limit here. The only real issue is whether or not they tell us the truth.

And we have to learn that the truth-tellers are not our enemies, even when the truth is uncomfortable. That is a challenge for many of us to face, but a person who tells you the hard truths you need is not your enemy.

The one who lets you walk in error to destruction is.

In Nerdiness: You cannot hang too much on Galatians 4:25 and its identification of Mt. Sinai as “in Arabia” for locating Mt. Sinai. Keep in mind that Paul is thinking in terms of Roman zones, not modern country lines.

It is also worth examining how Paul uses the language of childbirth in this chapter. Consider how that affects our understanding of his harshness. Do we expect women in childbirth to always speak softly? Of course not. Likewise, Paul feels pained on behalf of the Galatians, and so should be forgiven a harsh tone.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Book: The Gospel Call and True Conversion

A quick note: This book, The Gospel Call and True Conversion, is currently available on Kindle for $4.99. This is the second in a series of 3, and the first, The Gospel’s Power and Message, is available for $2.99.The Gospel Call and True Conversion. The title of this book alone sounds intimidating, and adding that it’s written by one of the heavyweights of American Reformed Christianity, Paul Washer, does not lessen the intimidation factor. Washer is known to be a straightforward preacher—for good or for ill.What did I find in The Gospel call and True Conversion? I found some things to like:1. Paul Washer is passionate for the truth. He wants to know the truth. He wants to proclaim the truth. He wants the truth heard. He wants you to know the truth. This is good. It is good to see someone not try to base theology on popularity or as a response to modern events, but to base it clearly on truth. 2. There is a strong emphasis on the reality that true conversion (from the title) will resu…

Sermon Recap for July 29 (and 22)

Good Morning!Here is what you'll find: there is an audio player with the sermon audios built-in to it, just click to find the one you want. You'll also find the embedded Youtube videos of each sermon.If you'd like, you can subscribe to the audio feed here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/east-end-baptist-church/id387911457?mt=2 for iTunes users. Other audio feeds go here: http://eebcar.libsyn.com/rssThe video is linked on my personal Youtube Page here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJBGluSoaJgYn6PbIklwKaw?view_as=publicSermons are stockpiled here: http://www.doughibbard.com/search/label/SermonsThanks!July 29 AM: (Audio)
July 29 PM: (Audio)
July 22 AM: (Audio)July 22 PM: (Audio)