Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave, although he is owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. So we too, when we were children, were held in bondage under the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons and daughters. Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles, to which you want to be enslaved all over again?
Galatians 4:1-9

Paul in this passage rebukes those whom he says follow after the elementary principles of the world. In context, we can see that he is talking about a former mindset or way of life under which the church in the Galatian region was once enslaved. Now freed, he implores them not to return to that way of thinking.

These elementary principles reflect what that people took for granted before becoming the church; the structures of the world that would be mentioned with an “of course you know” attached to the beginning. He was struggling with the way they held on to those old patterns. Paul was asking them to look for something deeper.

Rather than looking back to the things which they previously took as natural laws of the world, Paul asked his audience then, and indeed us now, to consider what was supernatural and required higher understanding through God’s Spirit!

It is this thought that we ought to carry with us; is my judgement based on my own assumptions or based on God’s Divine Revelation through Jesus and his Apostles?

Ethan Kirl

Originally Published January 22, 2021