Religion is Powerless to Save You – Galatians 4

Your Works are Powerless to Save You

What do you think of when you hear “Do what feels good?” Usually Christians tend to think about sins of license. You think about the hedonists of the world. They indulge in every one of their desires on whims without thinking about the consequences. They are uncontrolled and immoral. The motto of the Satanic Temple is “Do as thy wilt” for this reason. Yet, there is a flip side to this version of expression of self in all of us. It is just as much doing what feels good to a man, it is just harder to spot – particularly among the religious of the world. Self righteousness, self reliance, and self involved moralistic pride are just as much examples of satisfying your flesh as the more obvious immoralities. They just come in less obvious package.

Paul just establishes in Galatians wonderful truths about a Christians standing in the world. You are no longer slave to sin or to death. You are not under law that was fulfilled in Jesus. You are an heir to the Master of heaven and earth. Yet, so many Christians choose this privileged position in favor of serving themselves. It feels good to follow rules and checklists. It seems safer to follow the Law than to be free in Christ. It is also dangerous for your faith.

Look what Paul says:

8 But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. 9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years. 11 I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.

Paul is presenting a comparison for the Galatians. He first shows them life before Jesus when they didn’t know Him. It made sense they served things that were not God. Idols are everywhere and everyone serves something.

The problem is now, after being saved, it makes no sense to go back to the same methods and service that they needed to be saved from!

This includes things that hit to the very heart of legalism. They look and feel good, but are worthless to save, like:

Days – Sabbath days

Months – feasts

Seasons – festivals of moons

Religious structures and traditions that make people feel good – holy – righteous and mature are nothing compared to the completed work of Jesus Christ! They are worse than nothing, they cane be offensive to the One who died on the Cross for you.

Sets it out even more clearly and broadly in Colossians 2 –

6As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding [in it with thanksgiving.

8Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power

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