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I AM AFRAID OF YOU

By Curtis Pugh

 

            Paul wrote these words to the members of the churches in the region of  Galatia: “I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain,” (Galatians 4:11). Why did he write such a thing? The verses before this one tell us why Paul wrote as he did. Those verses say: “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,” (Galatians 4:9-10).

            What was Paul writing about? Many of the church members in Galatia had formerly been of the Jewish faith. This involved the observance of all kinds of laws regarding their diet, temple rituals, priests, sacrifices and the observances of Holy Days. Paul had come to them and preached salvation by grace in their region. Many had believed and been converted. After Paul left there, certain men came from Jerusalem and taught them that in order to stay saved they had to keep the Old Testament Jewish law. Paul opposed this as being contrary to the new covenant – contrary to salvation by grace. He called going back under the law “bondage.” So he wrote to them a letter, being unable to visit them. Further along he wrote: “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you. Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?” (Galatians 4:19-21). Next he goes on to explain an allegory which pictures the law being cast out. Then in 5:1 he wrote: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

            This last verse means that those who have been born from above – by the Holy Spirit – are free from the “yoke of bondage:” free from the Old Testament law. Law-keeping has no part in the biblical Christian life! Desiring to go back under the law was what caused Paul to write, “I am afraid of you...” The root of law-keeping is works for salvation. Most people hope either to be saved by something they do or to be kept saved by what they do. Paul said that is not the case at all. He wrote: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them,” (Ephesians 2:8-10). Good works are to follow the new birth, but works are not the cause of any part of salvation. Salvation is by grace: by the  undeserved favor of God toward sinners.

 


Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726

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