Note: In preaching last Sunday on Galatians 4:8-11, I drew this analogy in the exposition of v. 9 on Paul’s frustration over Galatians brethren who were abandoning the true gospel for a false one.
“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?” (Galatians 4:9).
Note how Paul marvels that the Galatians might want to turn from the pure gospel of Christ back to a false religion based on slavish devotion. The verb Paul uses for “to turn again” is epistrepho, and it means to turn around or to turn back. How, Paul asks, could you know the riches of Christ, the preciousness of Christ, the joy of Christ and want to go back to the spiritual enslavement under which you suffered before Christ? How could you make such a 180 degree turn? This is truly baffling to Paul.
Imagine a child is duped by some cruel guardians to believe that lard is ice cream. They feed the child lard and tell her how wonderful and how tasty it is. They explain how everyone else is eating and enjoying it. Not knowing any better, she eats it too, and even says she likes it (but really doesn’t). Then, one day someone shows up in town and gives the child a real bowl of ice cream. The moment she puts it in her mouth she knows this is different. How could anyone ever possibly prefer lard to ice cream? But then, to make our analogy complete, imagine that after some time we return to look in on the child and find that she had changed her mind and now prefers to eat lard instead of ice cream. In fact, she insists, against all evidence to the contrary, that lard is better and tastier and more satisfying that ice cream. Would this not bewilder us? Paul is as baffled over the Galatians as we would be over such a child.
If we have truly found Christ, why would we ever revert back to false religion we had before we were converted?
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle
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