Vol. 18 No. 33 | August 22, 2016
Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? (Galatians 4:8-9, NIV)
In a chapter what Paul is writing to a church in danger of being sucked back into a system of legalism from which they had been set free, Paul is pleading with them to stay free. He urges them to avoid the dangerous trap being set for them by those who would enslave them again. In these two sentences he describes two contrasting human conditions.
He reminds them of a time “when they did not know God.” Can you remember that time in your life? You were depending on your own merits to save you. You were holding yourself responsible for your own salvation. It was all up to you. You did not know the loving God who sent His son to earth live and die and come back to life. All you knew was human effort ant human achievement. The only meaning to life was what you could accomplish. You did not realize, because you did not know better, but you were a slave. You were so enslaved that the you were not even aware of your enslavement. You thought that was the only way to live.
That has all changed because “now you know God—or rather are known by God.” You know of His love. He made you aware of His love by sending Jesus, His only Son, to break the chains of slavery and set you free. You know of His love through the merciful kindness that tore down the walls that separated you from Him. You know of His love that has been lavished on you through the shedding of blood and the power of His mercy and grace.
You know of His love, but you are also known by the living and loving almighty God who created the universe. He knows you. He cares for you. He showers you with His love. He cherishes you. He knows your weaknesses and sinfulness and loves you completely. He knows your hurts, heartaches, and heartbreaks. He knows your need for refreshment and graciously provides you with seasons of refreshment.
You know Him. He knows you. He as set you free from your bondage. Why would you ever consider going back into a life of slavery?
Please be wise. There are still those who would pull you back into a life that is about making sure you are not breaking any of the rules and trying to keep all the laws. You can try. But you cannot do it. They will promise it as the right way, and the only way. But do not believe their lies. You will fail and fall right back to “those weak and miserable principles.”
The next section of Paul’s letter begins with these words: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
You know God. You are known by God. You have been set free. You are created to be free, so be free and live for the One you know, and the One who knows you. There you will find joy.
A Norvell Note © Copyright 2016. Tom Norvell All Rights Reserved.