Read Galatians 4
Focus on verse 8-9
I cannot imagine what it might have felt like to have been a slave at the time when slavery was abolished in this country. To go from being forced to work for another person, in some cases to be treated like an animal, or like property that could be sold or discarded, to being told you are free to go. For some it was a wonderful thing, for others it was a frightening thing because they did not know where to go or what to do. Some continued to work as slaves because they did not know that they had been freed, and I expect some may have actually preferred being slaves to being free because they had benevolent owners and they didn’t care to leave.
In today’s reading Paul uses the image of slavery to describe those who are under the law of Moses, as opposed to the freedom that is available to us through the sacrifice of Christ.
Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? (v. 8-9)
Apparently what some of the Galatians were doing was adopting some of the rituals of the Jewish law. Paul condemns this practice, claiming that by doing so they give up the freedom that they have in Christ and place themselves once more under the condemnation of the law of Moses. It is beyond Paul’s comprehension why the Galatians would choose to do this.
While it seems strange that people would voluntarily sacrifice their freedom, we see it happen all the time. It happens in the spiritual sense within the church when we adopt legalistic policies that enslave and control people, and it happens in the nationalistic sense when we choose to allow elitist politicians to enact legislation that ever more enslaves people by causing them to become dependent upon government for everything.
Freedom is never free, it always comes with a price. Spiritually our freedom cost Jesus much suffering and ultimately his life on a cruel Roman cross. Nationally our freedom is purchased by the brave men and women who serve in uniform both in military and the police. They willingly risk their lives so that the rest of us can experience the freedom and prosperity we currently know. Freedom is also not a right that we deserve. It is a privilege we have been given, and we owe our gratitude to those who purchased it for us. Lest we forget!