In Galatians Paul reminds those who have responded and become believers of what they had been previously when they did not know the true God. Many have trouble in letting their previous beliefs and associated practices fade from their minds. How different it is today, for those who have been brought up to believe in the true God and His message. It is different because the sharp edge of the spiritual excitement of conversion from false belief and its lifestyle, has not been experienced – except for a few. Those few have a great sense of appreciation.
Consider what Paul wrote, “when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods” (4:8). How many today are in slavery, to the ways of the modern world and its ‘gods’! How much attraction does it still hold for you? It presses in on us in so many ways.
Amongst the Galatians there were some who had a diminishing sense of appreciation of what they had come to know, forgetting how it had originally been so meaningful compared to their previous idol worship. The Jews who were converted to Christ had a different, but still difficult problem. Christ came, writes Paul, “to redeem those who were under the Law, so that they might receive adoption as sons” (verse 5). This adoption applied to both those from a Gentile and a Jewish background – and Paul makes the point, “… because you are (now) sons God has sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba, Father’” (verse 6).
What is this Spirit? It is a spiritual perception of the presence of the one and only God who is now “Our Father”! Remember what Paul told the Athenians about the true God, “He is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘in Him we live and move and have our being’” (Acts 17:27,28).
Paul challenges the Galatian converts, “now that you have come to know God, or rather be known by God how can you turn back again” to what you were before (verse 9)? Knowing God is having a real living relationship with Him day by day. Paul is distressed at what was happening to many of the converts in Galatia, he writes, “my little children for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ be formed in you” (verse 19).
In 2022 we must continually take stock and ask ourselves – to what extent has Christ been formed in me? Is my sense of conversion fading? Paul told the Galatians, “I am perplexed about you” (verse 20) – would he write the same about you?